FAMILY DEVOTIONAL 30-DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE. Prestonwood

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1 FAMILY DEVOTIONAL Prestonwood

2 Join us at Prestonwood for special opportunities to observe the NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER with our church family on Thursday, May 7. The Chapel and/or Worship Center will be open all day at each campus for prayer, with special services from noon to 1:00 p.m. Plano Campus Faith Chapel North Campus Worship Center Dallas Campus Prayer Suite Each campus will have a special ABLAZE at 6:30 p.m. Plano Campus Worship Center North Campus The Gym Dallas Campus Worship Center

3 PASTOR JACK GRAHAM S PRAYER FOR NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER Heavenly Father, We come to You in the Name that is above every name Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Our hearts cry out to You. Knowing that You are a prayer-answering, faithful God the One we trust in times like these we ask that You renew our spirits, revive our churches, and heal our land. We repent of our sins and ask for Your grace and power to save us. Hear our cry, oh God, and pour out Your Spirit upon us that we may walk in obedience to Your Word. We are desperate for Your tender mercies. We are broken and humbled before You. Forgive us, and in the power of Your great love, lift us up to live in Your righteousness. We pray for our beloved nation. May we repent and return to You and be a light to the nations. And we pray for our leaders and ask that You give them wisdom and faith to follow You. Preserve and protect us, for You are our refuge and only hope. Deliver us from all fears except to fear You, and may we courageously stand in the Truth that sets us free. We pray with expectant faith and grateful hearts. In Jesus name, our Savior. Amen.

4 DAY 1: THE PURPOSE OF PRAYER For this reason I bow my knees before the Father. Ephesians 3:14 We all have a best friend, or someone we are closest to. Chances are that person is one of the people we talk to the most. You can t have a close relationship with someone with whom you don t communicate. The same goes for God. How can we be close to God if we don t talk to Him? How can we have a relationship with Jesus if there is no communication? The truth is: You can t! Prayer is our way of talking to God. In order for us to have a close relationship with Him, we have to be in constant communication. He wants to hear from us, and we need to talk to Him. To start, choose a specific time to pray every day. Perhaps your first prayer could be Lord, I ask for Your help and Your power to assist me in faithfully praying throughout the next 30 days.

5 DAY 2: THE NECESSITY OF PRAYER Jesus looked at them and said, With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God. Mark 10:27 We need to pray because we need God. A lot of times we think we can do everything on our own, but we can t. God wants us to share with Him our desires and dreams. He wants to hear about where we need help and where we have succeeded. God wants to be there to help us. Psalm 37:4 says, Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. When we ask for His help, He wants to be there for us. In your prayer time, think about each part of your life: your relationships, school, your talents and hobbies, your health, and your future. Spend time today thanking God for the unique life situation in which He s placed you.

6 DAY 3: THE COMMAND TO PRAY And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1 We pray because it helps us connect to God. We pray because we need God. We also pray because God has commanded us to pray. Prayer is a way for us to show our obedience to God. It is a way for us to show God that we love and trust Him. In Philippians 4:6, the Bible says in everything let your requests be made known to God. He tells us to make all of our requests to Him in prayer. God tells us to pray because He wants to answer our prayers. He wants us to have peace and joy that we can only reach through our prayers to Him. Do you talk to God regularly through prayer? When was the last time you prayed? What keeps you from praying more? In your prayer time today, ask God to give you the desire to pray more.

7 DAY 4: KNOWING GOD THROUGH PRAYER And I said, O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray. Nehemiah 1:5 6 The better we know someone, the more likely we are to open up and share everything with him or her. If you don t know God, why would you want to tell Him all your wants and your troubles? Nehemiah is going through a rough time, but he shows us through his prayer that he knows God is powerful and in control. He knows God loves him. We can get to know God, too, through His Word, and through our prayers. God shows us who He is through our prayers. While we talk to Him, He is responding. The more we pray, the better we can know God. In your prayer time today, ask God to teach you more about Himself. Ask God to show you who He really is. You can even start writing down your prayers, so that you can see how He is working in your life.

8 DAY 5: HEARING FROM GOD THROUGH PRAYER Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. Psalm 143:8 These days we seem to focus greatly on getting things done. We have school, sports, cheer, dance, band, church, friends, family, and everything else that keeps us busy. We don t always take time to stop and really listen to God. Most of the time, when we pray, we tell God what we want. We don t realize when we pray, God speaks to us. It s not always a booming voice from heaven. He moves and speaks in our heart. He changes our desires and guides our actions. John 10:27 says, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. When we take the time to listen to God, He moves in our lives in amazing ways. Today, take time to listen for God. Ask Him to make you want what He wants.

9 DAY 6: STRENGTHENING YOUR FAITH THROUGH PRAYER Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. Jeremiah 33:3 We always hear people say, God hears your prayers, but it usually doesn t sink in like it should. Sometimes when we pray, we feel like we are just talking to the ceiling, and that we are wasting our time and our words. But this verse tells us that God is listening and He wants to give us His wisdom. The God who created the universe wants to hear what you have to say. When we realize He is actually listening to us and wants to answer our prayers, we want to pray to Him more. The more we pray, the more we talk to God, the stronger our faith becomes. Today put aside any desire to say the right words, and just be honest before God. Confess any fears or anxiety you may be experiencing. Don t forget to thank Him for the blessings you have in your life.

10 DAY 7: SEEKING FORGIVENESS THROUGH PRAYER If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 When we have done something wrong to one of our friends, our relationship becomes strained. The same thing is true with God. When we sin, it hurts our relationship with God. However, just like with a true friend, when we ask for forgiveness, we receive it. We all mess up, and when we do, it hurts God. If we let sin take hold in our life, it keeps us from being close to God. But when we pray to Him and ask for forgiveness, the Bible tells us that He makes us clean and our relationship is restored. Today, ask God to help you move forward in forgiveness. Do you need to give forgiveness to another person or receive it from God? Ask God to search your heart and reveal any sin that may be keeping you apart.

11 DAY 8: GAINING PERSPECTIVE THROUGH PRAYER The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7 Have you ever watched a football game on TV and wondered why the quarterback didn t throw the ball to the wide-open receiver? The problem is perspective. You are looking at the game from above and far away, so you can see everything. The QB is seeing things from the ground, and with all of the other players in the way. The same thing happens to us in our lives. Sometimes we can t see things as they really are because of other things in our lives blocking our view. Through prayer, we can get a glimpse of God s perspective. Sometimes, we are too close to our problems. God helps us shift our view so we can see the big picture that He sees. He has a perfect plan for our lives and when we see things from His point of view, all of the pieces fall into place. Think about the biggest problem troubling you most today. As you lift it up in prayer to the Lord, ask for His help in viewing the situation from His perspective.

12 DAY 9: RECEIVING GOD S PROVISION THROUGH PRAYER And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 We ve all heard the part of the Lord s Prayer when Jesus says, Give us this day our daily bread. Why is Jesus asking God for bread? Does He want a sandwich or some toast? What Jesus is really asking is for God to provide for Him. He is saying, God, give me what I need to survive and best serve You. Jesus is asking God not just for physical food, but also for spiritual food. He is asking God to provide for Him every day. We should follow the example that Jesus set for us. We need God, and only He can provide everything our body, mind and soul need. What is your greatest need today? Bring it to God in prayer and record that need on a prayer page with today s date. Leave space next to your request to record the date and the way in which God provided for your need.

13 DAY 10: ASKING FOR GOD S PROTECTION THROUGH PRAYER God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 We are at war. Satan is trying to make us fail. He doesn t want us to have a relationship with God. He doesn t want us to talk to God. We are fighting a battle for the world against an enemy we can t overcome on our own. We need God on our side in this fight. How can you fight a war without communicating with your commanding officer? Through prayer, God offers us protection from the Enemy. Prayer is a powerful weapon. Prayer covers us from danger; it gives us strength when we need it, and it helps us stand firm against the Enemy. On our own, this is a fight we can t hope to win, but with God on our side, there is no way we can lose. Spend your prayer time today praying a covering of protection upon yourself and those closest to you.

14 DAY 11: MAKE PRAYER A PRIORITY But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:33 The busier we get, the less time we tend to spend in prayer. In reality, it should be the opposite. The more we have on our plate, the more we need God. Prayer should always be a priority to us. We should never allow the things we are doing to come between us and communicating with our Savior. We need to have a time set aside specifically to sit down and have one-on-one conversation time with God. Instead of treating prayer as a last resort when we get overwhelmed and need help, it should be where we start every day and begin every new stage and trial in our life. Tomorrow, make it a point to begin your day in prayer. Think about your day and how you will need God s help. Take time to talk to Him about it and to thank Him for the opportunities He has given you.

15 DAY 12: BRING EVERY SITUATION TO GOD Cast your burden on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. Psalm 55:22 No matter how big or small a problem is, we should bring it to God. Sometimes God wants to answer even the tiniest of situations in the biggest of ways. Even if we think we can do it on our own, God still wants us to come to Him. Don t wait until you are knee-deep in mud to cry out to God. Pray to Him before you even set foot on your journey. God wants to hear from you and help you along the path He has set for you. If we bring everything to Him, there is nothing left for which to worry. What is the biggest problem or fear you are currently facing? Is there something small that you think you don t need God s help to solve? Pray about both of them and give them to God.

16 DAY 13: PRAY WITH A SINCERE HEART If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14 Have you ever gotten into trouble and were forced to tell someone you were sorry when you really weren t? Have you ever tried to apologize for something just so the other person wouldn t tell on you and get you in trouble? Think about why you pray. Do you pray because your parents tell you to? Do you pray because other people are listening and you want them to think you are a good Christian? Or do you pray because you love God and you are grateful for what He has done in your life? God wants for us to want to talk to Him. He wants us to pray with a sincere and humble heart. Do you pray because you have to, or because you want to? Read and think about Psalm 139:23 in your prayer time today: Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts.

17 DAY 14: PRAY CONSTANTLY Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16 18 Pray without ceasing? Who has the time to literally never stop praying? Is that what this verse means? No! It doesn t mean we should spend all day with our heads bowed and our eyes closed talking to God. It does, however, mean we should never stop communicating with Him. We should be talking with Him as often as we can. It is like texting. Everywhere you go throughout the whole day, you can be sending little messages to God. When we have time, or when we really need Him, we can spend serious time in deep conversation at the feet of the Lord. No matter where we go, we should never stop speaking and listening to God. Today, make it your mission to pray as often as you can. Don t worry if your prayers are not lengthy or well-thought out. Just keep the lines of communication open with God all day. Talk to Him as you would to a close friend.

18 DAY 15: PRAY PERSISTENTLY Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2 Does it ever feel like your prayers take forever to be answered? Jesus wants us to be persistent in our lives. Persistent prayer takes faithfulness and patience. Often, the things we are praying about are things in our lives that are slow to change. If you are praying and nothing seems to be happening, be confident that He hears you. God knows your need, and He cares. Persistent prayer is more powerful than we see. When we get to heaven, we ll see countless rewards given to men and women who were never identified as great leaders, but who prayed faithfully, without fail. Have you ever given up on a prayer request thinking that God wouldn t answer? Our awesome God is patient and all-knowing. Will you trust Him today with a long-term prayer request? Will you commit to praying persistently about what s on your heart until you hear from God?

19 DAY 16: PRAY BOLDLY Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 When we don t understand the purpose and the value of prayer, our natural tendency is to be lazy, praying things such as God, bless my friends, and bless my family. Amen. However, when you pray simple prayers, God answers in simple ways you may not notice. Pray in such a way that when God answers your prayer, you know without question what He said! Don t just pray God bless our food kind of praying! Pray boldly that God will work in great ways! Bold prayer is the mountain-moving means by which we connect with the will of almighty God. Envision yourself approaching Jesus with your prayers today. He is our Savior who welcomes you into His presence and receives your requests. What is on your heart today?

20 DAY 17: PRAY USING SCRIPTURE If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. John 15:7 In the Christian life, there is a beautiful and healthy balance between the Word of God and prayer. In prayer we speak to God. In Bible study, God speaks to us. We are to store up God s Word in our hearts in order that we might know His will. This means we have to take time to study the Bible. After we have studied and memorized Scripture, God loves it when we call upon Him using His own Word. He has blessed His Word not only when it is preached and proclaimed, but also when it is prayed. The most effective prayer is one filled with God s Word. Ask God to fill you with His Word today. Open God s Word today and find a biblical promise that speaks to your heart. Write it down and then use it to create a personal prayer to the Lord.

21 DAY 18: PRAY FOR OTHERS First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1 4 Perhaps one of the greatest ways to experience the power of prayer is through intercession praying for others. Intercession is a mature way of praying. The Bible names several specific groups of people for whom we are to pray. We are to pray for those in public leadership, people such as our president or mayor whether we agree with them or not. We are to pray for our spiritual leaders such as our pastor. Even pastors need prayer for their lives! We are to pray for the lost so that they may come to know God. We are to pray for our country so that God will bless us as a Christian nation. Today, be devoted to praying for others. As you pray, consider world, national and local leaders, pastors, teachers and those in military service. Then make a separate list of specific friends and acquaintances in your life who need to know Jesus.

22 DAY 19: PRAY FOR GOD S WILL TO BE DONE Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10 Prayer is not about getting what we want; it s about getting what God wants for us. Our God does not make mistakes. He is a perfect heavenly Father who desires the best for His children. He will always give to us exactly what we need in His own way, in His own time. Nothing lies outside the power of prayer except that which lies outside the will of God. When we pray for God s will to be done, we tap into the greatest power source available to humankind, the power of God s will in the world. It s been said that prayer is not changing God s mind but finding God s mind. So in seeking God and His will, we discover how to live. The way to learn what God wants with our lives is to pray. Begin your prayer time by praying The Lord s Prayer today (see Matthew 6:9 13). Pray specifically for God s will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

23 DAY 20: SEEK GOD S WILL Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 Be persistent in seeking the will of God. Step by step, day after day God reveals His will and shows the way to those who truly seek Him and ask of Him. The Bible describes the will of God as good and acceptable and perfect does it get any better than that? Not only are we to seek God s will, we are to practice the will of God. We don t come to God and say, Lord, show me Your will and I ll decide whether or not I m going to do it. No! Our attitude must be, Your will, anytime, anywhere, any cost. Upon sensing His direction, we joyfully follow it with grateful hearts, asking Him as we take each faith-filled step to bend our will to His perfect plan. Pray for the will of God in your life and make it your prayer every day. Real prayer is surrendering our will, to the will of God, submitting our way to the ways of God.

24 DAY 21: ANSWERS FROM GOD Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. Isaiah 30:18 Does God really answer our prayers? The answer is yes! He answers every single one. The reason we don t always think that He does is because it is not always the answer we were expecting. He answers our prayers in one of three ways. Sometimes He says yes and gives us what we want. Sometimes He says not right now and answers us down the road. And other times, He just says no. God knows what we need better than we do. We just have to trust in Him and trust that He has our best interest at heart. God is good and gracious, and wants to answer our prayers. Can you think of a time when God answered a specific prayer request of yours? Write it down. Now record three specific requests and include today s date. When you receive an answer from God, write that new date beside the old one.

25 DAY 22: A HEART FOR OBEDIENCE I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8 When we are faithful to observe God s instruction for our lives, then He is faithful to bless us as only He can. The key here is obedience, the pattern of never falling away. It is our obedience that is divinely rewarded. It is our obedience that honors our God. Instead of taking action in obedience, some people say, Well, I m just waiting on the Lord to show me what I m supposed to do. When He shows me, then I ll do it. These people are praying with no intention of getting right with God. God is actually waiting on us most of the time. He s waiting on us to pray and to get up from that place of prayer and to act in the power of the Holy Spirit. Are you praying diligently and then responding to what God calls you to do? Where can you be more obedient to God s call in your life? Has He placed a specific area of service on your heart? Use your prayer time today to ask God how He wants to use you in the work of His kingdom.

26 DAY 23: DELIVERANCE FROM TEMPTATION And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Matthew 6:13 We face a very real danger in our lives. There is a very real war being waged between the forces of evil and the forces of good, between God Himself and Satan. We, as believers, are in this battle and we re in it to the very end. We need to turn to God for strength in times of temptation and realize that He understands the pressure we are experiencing. First Corinthians 10:13 assures us that No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. No matter what we face, it cannot overcome our God. Think about the temptations surrounding you and the ones you love. Use your prayer time today to pray for protection from and strength during temptation.

27 DAY 24: STRENGTH IN TIMES OF WEAKNESS Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8 It is often in the hardest of times when we come to God in prayer. We ve heard it said, When you re swept off your feet, get on your knees. It is so often pain that drives us to dependence upon God. How many times through our pain do we discover our purpose? How many times through our pain do we discover power? Second Corinthians 12:9 reminds us that God s grace is sufficient and that His power is made perfect through our weaknesses. Through our prayer and connection with God, we can find the strength to make it through any situation. Today, stay before God in prayer until He communicates with your spirit. Surrender your weaknesses to Him and exchange them for supernatural strength.

28 DAY 25: GREATER LOVE FOR OTHERS that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:17 19 The more time we spend with someone, the more like them we become. When your prayer life is active and full, when you are communicating daily with God, you will begin to see others as God sees them. The next time you find yourself angry, frustrated, or disappointed with someone, pray, Lord, help me to see this person as You do. There are two more important verses I want to point out from John: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love (1 John 4:7 8). By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35). Is God s love flowing from your life? Would someone recognize you as a believer in Christ by the love you have shown to others this week? If you have a little work to do in this area, make your prayer today centered upon love. How can you show it more to those around you? Ask God for help in this area.

29 DAY 26: A SPIRIT OF GRATITUDE The joy of the Lord is your strength! Nehemiah 8:10 Gratitude, or being grateful and thankful, is a very powerful emotion and can counter any negative emotion in your life. God calls us to live a life of praise and thanksgiving to Him with our entire life. But sometimes this can be hard to do, especially when you are tired, feeling alone, sick, or going through a difficult time in life. Praising God for all the things you have including life, forgiveness of your sins, His truth, His love and hope, can help during these times. Never stop celebrating what Christ has done for you! Every breath you breathe and every beat of your heart is a gift from God. Pray today for the joy of the Lord to fill your heart so that you can see your life with new perspective. Ask God to help you see the many reasons you have to be grateful.

30 DAY 27: THE ANTIDOTE FOR ANXIETY Do not be anxious about anything but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6 In this verse, Paul gives us the cure for worry and anxiety and it is very simple: prayer. What is amazing is that Paul said these words while he was in prison. Paul is telling us not to worry or be anxious while he is in chains! We may not be in prison like Paul, but we probably worry about many other things in our lives. And sometimes, personal pain, suffering and sickness can also cause us to worry. During these times, it is important to know that we are not alone. Jesus is with us through His Spirit, and for that, we can rejoice and pray to Him through these times. What is causing you to worry today? Write it in a prayer to Jesus and replace your worry with the peace He offers.

31 DAY 28: PEACE IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. John 14:27 One of the greatest gifts we can enjoy from prayer is peace. Live in prayer and you will live in peace! There will be quietness and confidence in our lives because instead of getting worked up over life s problems, we are choosing to pray them down. Prayer not only gives us peace but it arms us with a conquering spirit, an overcoming spirit! We begin to believe again! We believe to trust the promises of God again! We begin to stand in the strength that is our God when we pray! Has peace escaped you? When our eternity is secure in Jesus, we can live in peace regardless of our circumstances.

32 DAY 29: THE OPPORTUNITY TO BLESS OTHERS Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3 4 God wants to use you to bless others. In this verse, we see that when you start praying for others, you allow yourself to be a blessing for them. What has God blessed you with? How can you serve others and comfort others through those blessings? God is asking us to serve those around us by sharing His love with others. Look for opportunities not just to pray for those people, but to serve them as well. As you begin your day, ask God to show you a specific way in which you can bless someone today. Keep the eyes of your heart open for opportunities God will place on your heart.

33 DAY 30: TRUE SURRENDER I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Romans 12:1 When you think of surrendering, you probably don t think of it as a good thing. Surrendering sounds like you have given up, or lost a battle, and when the world around us glorifies winners, we don t look for opportunities to surrender. But when we are surrendering to God, it is much different. God is asking us to trust Him with our lives. Knowing God is our loving, holy and heavenly Father, He is asking us to give up control of our lives and allow Him to lead us. We can trust Him with our families, our future, and even our fears. Don t hold back; allow God to be the Lord over your life. Will you surrender your life to the Lord Jesus Christ? Don t let fear or pride stop you from doing so.

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