The 40 Day Prayer Covenant2
“The 40 Day Prayer Covenant”
“Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or
think, according to the power at work within us . . .” Eph. 3:20
This last Sunday, Dr. Jerry Kirk spoke on the sixth line of the prayer covenant—Jesus be Lord of my life today in new ways, and change me any way you want, describing his theme as “The Adventure of a Lifetime.” At the end of the sermon, he challenged us to pray the written ten-line prayer for forty days for ourselves and in covenant with at least one other person.
Because our attendance was decimated by a snowstorm, a lot of folks were missing and didn’t have a chance to join in a prayer covenant. It’s not too late! Let me encourage those who weren’t present or who may not have felt prepared to make the commitment to enter into a prayer covenant with another person. As it is the Lenten season, it is an especially opportune time to seek personal, spiritual renewal through prayer.
The prayer covenant is a very simple concept. Sometimes the simple ideas are the most profound and I think this is the case with the forty day prayer covenant. First, the ten lines of the prayer covenant comprise the critical contours of our Christian discipleship. They summarize what it means to follow Jesus. Through daily repetition, the prayer helps us to internalize and hopefully grow in these key areas of the Christian life.
Moreover, the prayer covenant is an effective tool for helping us grow in prayer. As breathing is necessary to life, so prayer is essential to our spiritual lives. It is our spiritual lifeblood. And yet, effective prayer is one of the most difficult disciplines for western Christians to cultivate. Why? Prayer connects us with the God who spoke the universe into being. In prayer, we have communion with God. It is a primary means of grace that we generally engage in far too infrequently. By entering into a covenant with another person, we allow ourselves to make a commitment and to be held accountable to keep that commitment.
I began praying this in earnest back in November and December with Rick Schatz. Not only did I begin praying the prayer, but over the forty days, I slowly began to memorize the prayer. It took the full forty days for me to get the prayer down. For me, memorizing the prayer made it more meaningful and easier to use. As a result of internalizing the prayer, I began to see it pop up in my thinking and in my conversations. I also began to experience the Lord’s presence in new ways, feeling increasingly thankful, and more expectant for what is to come than I have in a long time.
The profundity isn’t limited to the prayer itself and what it does in me as an individual. The vision is to see this prayer at work in us as a church community as we pray it together over this season of Lent. Let’s see what God will do in and through us as a church as we engage in daily prayer asking for Jesus to change us any way He wants.