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40 Days of Prayer

The Salvation Army, USA Eastern Territory

A 40 Day Devotional & Prayer Focus has been developed to engage your entire congregation daily with scripture, a short thought and prayer.

1 Chronicles 16:11 (CEV) reminds us to “Depend on the Lord and his strength; always go to him for help.” 

We pray God’s blessing on each of you today and as we journey together for 40 Days in prayer. “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”   Philippians 4:6 (KJV)

This resource is available for download in English: STRIKEPOINT 40 Devotional (pdf file- 331kb)

Disponible es español: STRIKEPOINT_40_Devocionales_SP(pdf file- 2.8 MB)

 

Day 1 ~ STRIKEPOINT

Scripture

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7 NIV)

Application

“God reveals His purposes so you will know what He plans to do… What you plan to do for God is not important.  What He plans to do where you are is very important.  God speaks with a purpose in mind.” (Experiencing God; Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King)

Wow; this is exciting! The Lord chooses to reveal and work through His people here on earth to accomplish His purposes. That means that God speaks to me.

Do I take time to listen to God?  Do I turn off the noise and sit in His presence expecting to hear from Him?  Some days I may not hear anything, but other days – boom!  He speaks loudly and clearly to me.

The Lord has spoken to our Territorial Commander, Commissioner Barry Swanson, about the future of our territory.  These 40 days of prayer will reveal the vision and then we will be challenged to get on board with God.  His plan has been revealed. Now, let’s join Him in that work.

Prayer

Lord, this is wonderful.  I am amazed that You want to use me in Your plan for this territory.  Help me not to run ahead of You; help me not to lag behind You; help me to stay right in step with You.  I am ready; I am Yours.  Amen.

Day 2 ~ STRIKEPOINT

Scripture

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. (Amos 3:7 NIV)

Application

As a continuation from yesterday, the four focal points of STRIKEPONT are:

  • Deeper Discipleship
  • Skilled Leadership
  • Integrated Mission
  • Young Adult Empowerment

As we begin to ponder these four key areas, ask the Lord to speak to your heart and mind:

  • “How can I help someone else in his/her walk with Christ?
  • How can I strengthen my leadership?  Who can I assist in his/her leadership development?
  • Where in our city does The Army need to be partnering in mission? Am I called to some action?
  • Where can I encourage a young adult to come alongside me or where can I come alongside a young adult to allow the Lord to work in and through them?

The STRIKEPOINT Campaign will be emphasized in Hershey on June 7.  If you are unable to attend, learn more about STRIKEPOINT through live stream on Saturday, June 7.  Check out the LIVE tab or click here http://saconnects.org/commissioning-strikepoint/

Prayer

Dear Lord, open my eyes; work through me.  Amen.

Day 3 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

Scripture

All the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures.  They fell down on their faces before the throne and worshiped God. (Revelation 7:11 NIV)  

Application

“When we face up to the glory of God, we soon find ourselves face down in worship.  To worship facedown is the ultimate outward sign of inner reverence. Every posture in worship says something of both the worshipper and the One being gloried in.  The raising of hands…joyful dancing…When it comes to expressing our worship, what we do on the outside is a key reflection of what’s taking place on the inside. Out of the overflow of our heart we speak and sing, we dance, and we bow.  God reveals, and we respond.  God shines and we reflect.  In the very same way, facedown worship is the overflow of a heart humbled and amazed by the glory of God.” (Facedown; Matt Redman)

What is my worship stance?  Does it change?  Do I ever find myself face down in worship of the One who is the Lord God Almighty?  Are there times when I want to respond in that way, but am hesitant to do so?  Do I need to allow the overflow of my heart to respond in worship…facedown?

Prayer

When I see Your glory, I fall face down in worship (Ezekiel 1:28) for You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power (Revelation 4:8).  Amen.

Day 4 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship 

Scripture

I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word. (Psalm 119:14-16 NLT)

Application

God’s Word is like a set of guardrails in our daily lives; it protects me from falling off of the dangerous cliffs in life.

God’s Word is like a shelter; it provides covering when the storms come my way.

God’s Word is like an encyclopedia; it contains knowledge for various situations.

God’s Word is the ultimate love story; it tells of the Savior who gave His life for me.

We believe that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and that they only constitute the Divine rule of Christian faith and practice. (The Salvation Army, Doctrine 1) How important is the Bible to me?  How is that reflected in my life?  Will I memorize one verse of Scripture today?

Prayer

“I believe in the Word of God,

I believe in the Word of God,

Every promise is true,

I believe it, do you?

I believe in the Word of God.”

(The Salvation Army Songbook, chorus 130)

Thank you, Lord, for Your printed Word.  Amen.

Day 5 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

 Scripture

When you fast… (Matthew 6:15 NIV) 

Application

Matthew 6 tells of three expectations:

  • When you give… (Matthew 6:2)
  • When you pray… (Matthew 6:5)
  • When you fast… (Matthew 6:15 NIV)

Most believers know the expectations of giving to the needy and praying are non-negotiable. The third expectation is sometimes overlooked by Christians. The Lord does not tell me when to fast, how often to fast, or in what type of fast to engage; but it is clear in the Word that He does expect me to fast.

Why do Christians fast? “We fast in obedience to God’s Word; to humble ourselves before God and obtain His grace and power; to be purified from sin; to become weak before God so God’s power can be strong; to obtain God’s support to accomplish His will; in times of crisis; when seeking God’s direction; and for understanding and divine revelation.” (The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting; Mahesh Chavda)

If fasting is not part of my spiritual toolkit, will I consider making a trip to the Christian bookstore for material, talking to others who practice fasting, and/or attending a prayer & fasting gathering?

Prayer

Dear Father, guide my heart and mind to hear what you desire me to do regarding fasting. May the Spirit give me the courage to be obedient. Amen.

Day 6 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

Scripture

I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. (Psalm 34:1 NLT) I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. (Psalm 34:1 MSG)

Application

Praise, and thanksgiving are closely linked; yet they are distinct. Praise is acknowledging God for who He is. Thanksgiving is acknowledging God for what He has done and what He has given. Praise and thanksgiving are natural ways to lead into worship.

One way to praise God is to verbalize and consider the meanings of the names of God, which are found in Scripture – the Good Shepherd, the Alpha and Omega, the Strong Tower, the Prince of Peace… This helps us to acknowledge God for who He is.

I am not commanded to manufacture emotions or to deny my thoughts and feelings; but in the midst of not feeling like praising, I am able to speak the names of God and eventually find myself in worship. Often my mood will be lifted as I look to God in praise.

I will take time now to expand my lungs with His praise.

Prayer

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,

Who was, and is, and is to come. Amen.     (Revelation 4:8 NIV)

Day 7 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and Worship 

Scripture

I, Daniel, understood from the Scripture, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years. So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer…. (Daniel 9:2-3 NIV)

 …the word of the Lord came to Elijah; “Go and present yourself to Ahab, and I will send rain on the land.” (1 Kings 18:2 NIV)

Application

Why pray? Does God need my prayers? A look at these two portions of Scripture will assist in the answering of those questions.

The promise had been given and Daniel acted upon that promise and prayed for the results. The Lord spoke to Daniel through a vision…your words were heard, and I have come in response to them… (Daniel 10:12 NIV)

Elijah did not wait around either. After the promise of rain from the Lord, Elijah prayed and prayed until he saw a small cloud in the distance and then he acted upon that cloud, knowing that God’s promises are sure.

Is there anything for which I am passively waiting, when I could be birthing the promise through prayer?

Prayer

Lord, You certainly do work through Your people; may I be one of Your praying people. Amen.

Day 8 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

Scripture

My soul finds rest in God alone. (Psalm 62:1 NIV)

Application

We live in a busy world. We rush out of the bed to the gym in the morning, to our places of employment, to the grocery store, to the dry cleaners, to our kitchens, to the laundry, and finally to the bed only to begin that cycle again in the morning. Whew! And yet the scripture says that our souls can find rest. We need rest in God alone.

Centering prayer quiets the heart so that we rest in God.

“Centering prayer is not something new. Nor is it a New Age thing. It is an ancient form of prayer that joins meditation on a word of Scripture with prayer. It’s a simple way to center one’s life in God’s presence…allows for the recognition of thoughts and gently releases them into the hands of God… We don’t give God information about all our needs… We sit in the presence of God and give him our undivided love and attention…the only words that are spoken…are the prayer words that continually bring our drifting attention back to God. The prayer word is a simple word like Jesus, love, peace, Father… With this word we linger with God and open ourselves to his presence.” (Spiritual Disciplines Handbook; Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)

In the midst of busyness, this simple prayer can settle us.

Prayer

Jesus… Jesus… Jesus… Jesus…Amen.

Day 9 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

 Scripture

The word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it. (Deuteronomy 30:14 NCV)

Application

Why do I want the Word of God in my mouth and heart? Jesus had it there and when tempted (Matthew 4:1-11), He was able to draw from that resource to speak the Truth against His tempter. The Word allows us to think on what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. (Philippians 4:8)

How do I get the Word in my mouth and heart? I can read, memorize, study, preach, sing, pray, and meditate on the Word.

When I meditate on the Word, I am not trying to master it, but allow it to master me. It goes deep down inside and transforms me from the inside out.

  • Silence – Come into His presence.
  • Read – Read the Word slowly, lingering over a word or phrase that resonates with my heart.
  • Reflect – Read it again out loud. Reflect on the words that pop out.
  • Respond – Pray after reading it again.
  • Rest – Rest in the presence of the Lord. Consider dwelling on that word or phrase throughout the day.

Prayer

Dear Lord, open my heart to Your Word. Allow it to go deep into my being so that You are given space to do Your transformational work in my life. I desire to grow deeper. Amen.

Day 10 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

. . . I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people . . .I didn’t take on their way of life, I kept my bearings in Christ – but entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. (1 Corinthians 9:19-20 MSG)

Application

Surveys strongly suggest that the Millennial Profile (under age 30) is a generation that is increasingly drawn to high church traditions. They are unconcerned with “being cool”. What Millennials really want from the church is not a change in style, but a depth in substance.

If that is true, is the form of worship in my faith community trendy or authentic? Is the message uncompromised and relevant at the same time? What part do/can I play in my corporate worship to be more embracing and authentic?

Prayer

Lord, your greatness stretches from generation to generation. Help me keep my eyes wide open to see how You move in the generations other than my own. Help me to embrace the Christ I see in each person I encounter today. Amen.

Day 11 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

Don’t you see that children are God’s best gift?

The fruit of the womb his generous legacy? (Psalm 127:3 MSG)

Application

The authenticity of the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child” is traced back to the African culture. One African dialect literally translates the proverb as “A child does not grow up only in a single home”.

When I look around, I find that I probably have influence on a child or young person. This may be in my home, where I work, or in my community of faith. What is the legacy that I am leaving for the youth around me? Do I exemplify Christ in the day-to-day happenings in my life?

Prayer

“Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

May the fire of our devotion light their way

May the footprints that we leave

Lead them to believe

And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.”

(Steve Green)

Day 12 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

Timothy, my dear child, I am placing before you a charge for the mission ahead. It is in total agreement with the prophecies once spoken over you. Here it is: with God’s message stirring and directing you, fight the good fight… (1 Timothy 1:18 The Voice)

Application

Surveys have proven that young people who are twice as likely to stay in the church have a close personal friendship with an adult inside the church (Barna Group). Timothy was a protégé of the apostle Paul and was best known for being a profound leader of the early church despite his youth. His godly leadership was due to the work and gifting of the Holy Spirit and the mentoring of Paul.

Who is the Timothy in my life in whom I am pouring myself? Is it a young child, teen, or young adult? As names and faces come to my mind, I will sit in God’s presence and ask God to lead me to that young person and lift them to God’s throne in prayer.

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for those people who poured themselves into my life. Today I pray for __________________. May I be consistent in my prayers for him/her in the days ahead. Help me to be a channel of Your love, grace and mercy. Amen.

Day 13 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. (Romans 12:1 MSG)

Application

Today’s generation (Millennials) want to be challenged to live lives of holiness, not only when it comes to sex, but also when it comes to living simply, caring for the poor and oppressed, pursuing reconciliation, engaging in creation care and becoming peacemakers. In other words, authenticity in our “. . .everyday, ordinary life.” To challenge someone to live a life of holiness I must make sure that I model it first. How am I doing?

Prayer

Lord, help me to show The Way without being in the way. Amen.

Day 14 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going outand my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. (Psalm 139:1-3 NIV)

Application

We each have a basic need to be known and accepted for who we are. In order for this to happen we need to have a place where we can ask life’s questions without judgment and that gives the space to “work out ‘our’ salvation” (Philippians 2:12). Many of today’s young adults want a truce between science and faith. They want to be known for what they stand for, not what they are against. Does my faith community radiate a loving atmosphere and give compassionate space to those who are asking the questions and not wanting predetermined answers?

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, pour out your spirit upon Your church so that she may faithfully and constantly serve You and Your children. Amen.

Day 15 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

People were also bringing babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it”. (Luke 18:15-17 NIV)

Application

We need to live more attentive lives. It is when we take time to reflect on the people, surroundings, and circumstances around us that we will hear God speaking in the simplest of situations and conversations. We can learn so much from children; trust, abandon, pure joy, wonder, and what it means to function for our “true self. “. . .The kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” (vs. 16)Not only will our study of their behavior help ground us and keep us from becoming jaded, but we will understand that everyone is a precious soul to God; even the smallest and youngest among us. That will be helpful the next time children, in their youthful exuberance, try our patience!

Prayer

Dear Lord, may the Spirit, which was in Jesus Christ, be in me, enabling me to speak, act, and react as Christ did with all whom He encountered during His earthly ministry. Amen.

Day 16 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.  (Philippians 1:3-6 MSG)

Application

Each of us can think of people who have spoken words of encouragement into our lives that strengthened us to continue our walk with the Lord.  Who is that child, teen, or young adult who needs a word of encouragement, mercy and grace spoken so they will be strengthened to keep in step with the Spirit?  We need to speak to them the next time we see them, send an email or text them, or even send a card telling them how special they are to us and to the Lord.  In doing so, we will be breathing the sustaining power of the Holy Spirit into the life of that young person.

Spiritually invest in a youth today to encourage them to take one step closer to their day of completion.

Prayer

Lord, thank you for those who saw what I could become.  Their godly impact has helped me on my spiritual path.  Give me Your eyes that I might see a young person’s God-given potential.  Fill me with Your words of encouragement to enliven them today.  Amen.

Day 17 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. (1 Timothy 2:15 AMP)

Application

It has been said that God is not as interested in our ability as in our availability.  Asking God to use us as we are is an excellent first step for He loves us just as we are, and He wants us to be more like Jesus.

The descriptive words in the scripture above must be pondered as we seek revelation knowledge from Bible study, holy teaching, and godly service.  Do I eagerly analyze, teach and serve through the lens of God’s Word?  That is the sign of a godly leader.

Prayer

Almighty God, grant unto me this day and always a clear vision of Your call and, through the guidance of Your Word, give me the strength to fulfill the ministry assigned to me today.  Amen.

Day 18 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

So Christ himself gavethe apostles, the prophets,the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built upuntil we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of Godand become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.  (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)

Application

God’s general will for our lives is that we are saved, live the life of a disciple of Jesus (who pursues a life of making disciples of Jesus), and give service in His name.  It is wonderful to hear people give testimony as to when, where and how we felt God’s specific call on our lives, although many people struggle with the specifics.

What is God’s tailor-made will for my life?  In what specific way am I living out my life as a disciple of Jesus?  What is my individual act of service?

As I sit in God’s presence and contemplate these questions, I thank Him for the way He is specifically using me.  My heart and life are open to His leading.

Prayer

Thank you, Lord, for bringing light into my darkness and making Your love known to me. Guide me in Your paths today and assist me in bearing Your image to all I meet. Amen.

Day 19 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, love your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27 NIV)

Application

When it comes to understanding God’s specific will, or “signature call” on our lives, we need to determine what we are passionate about. Each of us is uniquely gifted with strengths and abilities that naturally draw us to certain kinds of ministry.

It is true that God will sometimes call us outside of our comfort zones; but if you find yourself often being drawn to certain areas of ministry, for example working with youth, the homeless, the incarcerated, or other groups of people, there is a good possibility that area of ministry is your passion. When you find yourself wanting to give your whole “. . .heart. . .soul. . .strength. . .and mind”, that is an indicator of the passion the Lord has placed on your life. As I sit in God’s presence today, I ask myself:

  • What is my passion?
  • How can I satisfy that craving for service in my sphere of influence?

Prayer

Lord, I praise you for I am uniquely made. My desire this day is to be sensitive to your leading so that I may use the signature gifts and passions you have given me solely for your honor and glory. Amen.

Day 20 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power,and that he had come from Godand was returning to God;  so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist.   After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet,drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (Luke 13:2-5 NIV)

Application

Power can be an intoxicating force, whether you are the leader of a world power or the teacher of a Sunday School class. A healthy examination of our role of influence is vital to be an effective disciple of Jesus.

Servanthood is the key. It may seem like an oxymoron to use the words “servant” and “leader” in the same breath, but a healthy balance of both is what makes for an effective godly leader. Certainly Jesus was our example. Nothing was below Him; even stooping to wash His disciples’ feet.

Wash any feet lately? This could be taken literally or figuratively. In my area of leadership (lay leader, parent, supervisor, etc.) how have I and will I reflect the Servant Leader Jesus Christ?

Prayer

“Make me a servant, humble and meek,

Help me to lift up those who are weak,

And may the prayer of my life always be:

Make me a servant today. Amen.

(Kelly Willard)

Day 21 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

Master, to whom would we go? You have the words of real life, eternal life. We’ve already committed ourselves, confident that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:69 MSG)

Application

The scripture verse above was said by Simon Peter following Jesus’ dialogue with His disciples concerning His sacrifice of flesh and blood and how that relates to the sacrifice of His followers. (John 6:44-67) To paraphrase Peter’s response-“Where else can we go…we can’t live without you.”

I need to think of that statement the next time I am discerning God’s will for my ministry opportunities. Can I live without it?

If there is a certain kind of ministry or ministry group that energizes me, can I be happy living without ministry in that area? Would I feel as if there is something really lacking in my life if I couldn’t do what “gets my blood pumping. . .for Jesus?” That is probably not only my passion, but also what my life was tailor-made to do.

Prayer

“Almighty God, You have chosen to speak to me through prophets and wise leaders and most clearly through Your Son, Jesus Christ. Grant unto me now the ability to hear, understand, and obey Him whom you have sent. Amen.”

(A Guide to Prayer for Ministers and other Servants)

Day 22 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

As long as Moses held his hands up, the Israelites would win the fight, but when Moses put his hands down, the Amalekites would win. Later, when Moses’ arms became tired, the men put a large rock under him, and he sat on it. Then Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ hands—Aaron on one side and Hur on the other. They kept his hands steady until the sun went down.  So Joshua defeated the Amalekites in this battle. (Exodus 17:11-13 NCV)

Application

The Children of Israel were deep in battle against the heathen Amalekite army. (Exodus 17:8-15) As long as Joshua kept his hands up, the Israelites advanced the cause for God. Joshua’s arms became weary; Aaron and Hur came alongside to hold Joshua’s arms up; victory came to the Israelites. It’s interesting to note verse 13 states that Joshua defeated the enemy. Were Aaron and Hur’s roles too small to credit?

If the truth be told there is a great deal of the day-to-day ministry that is not very glamorous. For instance, we may enjoy working with youth, but having to shuttle them from place to place or dealing with their immaturities doesn’t make us say, “I was born for this!” If we’re willing to deal with the “small stuff” to minister in our area of giftedness, we are in the right place.

Can I handle the small stuff and do it with an attitude that gives glory to God?

Prayer

Dear Lord, as I worship You this day, may I present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to You.

Day 23 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

Everyone must obey state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself. For rulers are not to be feared by those who do good, but by those who do evil. Would you like to be unafraid of those in authority? Then do what is good, and they will praise you… (Romans 13:1-3 GNT)

Application

We must submit to authorities; there are governmental authorities, police, work supervisors, teachers, and even speed limit signs!

There are very few, if any, positions that are not under someone else’s authority.  Do I have such a passion for the ministry that I am willing to let someone else “call the shots”?  Their leadership style may not be my style, but submission to spiritual authority is part of my witness.

Is there an authority figure in my life right now that causes me to struggle in some way?  What is the underlying reason: pride, jealousy, lack of trust?  I will name it in God’s presence and ask Him to bring healing and reconciliation so that I can be a team player that brings glory to God.

Prayer

Almighty God, look upon my life and cause all darkness and doubt to vanish beneath Your gaze. Look upon my ministry and banish all barriers to effectiveness and faithfulness. Amen.

Day 24 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

…and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8 NLT)

Application

It is not optional, is it?

It is a requirement of the Lord to do what is right, to act justly toward people. O Lord, I confess that my action earlier this week toward _______ was not God-honoring or right. Forgive me, Lord.

It is a requirement of the Lord to love mercy. O Lord, I think that I got it right last week when I responded with kindness after ________ did me wrong. Thank you, Lord.

It is a requirement of the Lord to walk humbly with Him. O Lord, it is tough sometimes to listen and to walk in submissive obedience to what You are prompting me to do. O Lord, I desire to hear and to obey. Help me, Lord.

With the Lord’s help and transformation power in my life, I can do, love, and walk as the Lord requires.

Prayer

God Almighty, please continue to reveal Yourself to me. Allow me to be part of Your plan regarding mission. May the Holy Spirit give me the strength to be Your hands and feet. Amen.

Day 25 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

…for the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people. (Mark 10:45 CEB)

Application

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

no hands but yours, no feet but yours,

yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion to the world is to look out.

Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.  (St. Teresa of Avila)

What does this mean for me? How am I to be the hands, feet, and eyes of Christ for the people living in my home, next door to me, or in the roughest section of town? Am I willing to be what Christ is calling me to be for the sake of others?

Jesus is divine and human; and yet, Jesus came to serve. How am I serving other people?

“We believe that in the person of Jesus Christ the Divine and human natures are united, so that He is truly and properly God and truly and properly man.” (The Salvation Army, Doctrine 4)

Prayer

Lord, have mercy on me when I think and act as if I am better than another person, when I think and act as if serving is below me, and when I think and act as if I should be served. Forgive me. Amen.

Day 26 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

…go and make disciples of all nations… (Matthew 28:19 NIV)

Application

The Ss on our uniforms signify that we are “saved to save”. We do not do the transformational work in the souls of others, but we certainly do have a mandate to go and lead others to Christ. The work of salvation is the Lord’s work; but I am part of His plan to share the Gospel, to live the Gospel, to be the Gospel so that other people see Christ.

How can I reach people who are living and working where I do not normally travel? I need new ideas that speak their language and attract the hearts of folks who are different than I am.

“If I thought that I could win one more soul to the Lord by walking on my head and playing the tambourine with my toes, I’d learn how.” (William Booth)

It’s time for me to ask the Lord to show me one person to whom I can share the Gospel in order to extend the Kingdom of God here on the Earth and to show me how to do it!

Prayer

Lord, for the sake of others, who is that one person I can reach with the Gospel message and how can I do that? Give me the courage to be brave. Amen.

Day 27 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… (Isaiah 61:1 NIV)

Application

Brother, sister, we are called. We are called by God to preach, to bind, to proclaim, to release, to comfort, and to bestow. Read the rest of Isaiah 61; don’t stop at verse 1.

“Not called!’ did you say?

‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.

Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world.” (William Booth)

The need is the call. How will I respond to this call?

Prayer

I will join You, Lord, to publish Your mercy to the world. Amen.

Day 28 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11 NIV)

Application

Many people and organizations write personal mission statements.  The Salvation Army has a mission statement: “Its mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ…and to meet human needs in His name without discrimination.”

There is no doubt that The Salvation Army does both -preach the gospel and meet human needs.

“Some men’s ambition is art,

Some men’s ambition is fame,

Some men’s ambition is gold,

My ambition is the souls of men.” (William Booth)

Is that my ambition?  Am I leading souls to Jesus.

What about meeting human needs?  Am I, not The Salvation Army; personally meeting human needs?  They are found all around where I live and in my family.  What am I personally doing to obey God’s command to be openhanded?

Prayer

Dear Father, open my eyes, open my ears, and open my heart to the poor and needy around me – poor and needy in many ways. Keep me sensitive and obedient. Amen.

Day 29 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

Philip asked the Ethiopian, “Do you understand what you are reading?”… The Ethiopian replied, “How can I…unless someone explains it to me.” (Acts 8:30-31 NIV)

Application

We talk about Kingdom growth, about winning the world for Jesus one person at a time. Most days of the week, people come into corps and centers across this territory, right under my nose. Is there a way for me to reach out to show one person the love of Jesus and to tell him/her of God’s great mercy and grace?

What is hindering me from sitting in the lobby to reach out, to speak, and/or to pray with one person who is searching? Maybe I could learn how to do face painting to attract one child. I could pray for one person who will come through our doors, even if I don’t know the name; I could do this from home, from my car, or from my place of employment. How can I invite one new person to come to Sunday School, church, to Bible study, and to weekly programs?

Do I want to bridge this gap? If so, what is my part in bringing one person from the social service office to Kingdom Life?

Prayer

Lord, open my mind to new ideas. Create greater love in my heart for one person who comes to The Salvation Army for assistance. Increase my faith that You will bless my efforts for Your Kingdom. Amen.

Day 30 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and the needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9 NIV)

Application

We have the destitute, poor, and needy among us; and I dare say that it breaks the Lord’s heart. The founder of The Salvation Army was committed to do something about this.

 “While women weep, as they do now,

I’ll fight

While little children go hungry, as they do now,

I’ll fight

While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now,

I’ll fight

While there is a drunkard left,

While there is a poor lost girl upon the streets,

While there remains one dark soul without the light of God,

I’ll fight-I’ll fight to the very end!”

(William Booth)

 There continues to be human trafficking, poverty, hunger, fear, abuse, sin, lack of clean water, waste, not sharing resources, and oppression. Where should I be involved?

Prayer

Lord, help me to see what breaks Your heart; give me the courage to allow my heart to be broken; give me the strength to do something about it. Amen.

Day 31 ~ STRIKEPOINT

Scripture

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you; Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. (Romans 12:1-2 MSG)

Application

Reread this portion of Scripture four more times. Each time read it through the lens of a different STRIKEPOINT focal point and take note what the Lord is saying:

Deeper Discipleship

Skilled Leadership

Young Adult Empowerment

Integrated Mission

The writer of Romans urges the reader to “offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God…” William Booth asks, “Will you go to His feet and place yourself entirely at His disposal?” What will my response be?

Prayer

Father, my all is on the altar. Help me not to crawl off, but to give daily service to You. Change me from the inside out. Amen.

Day 32 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

Scripture

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in the mighty heavens. Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness…let everything that has breath, praise the Lord. Praise the Lord. (Psalm 150:1-2, 6 NIV)

Application

O for a thousand tongues to sing

my great Redeemer’s praise!

The glories of my God and king,

the triumphs of his grace.

My gracious Master and my God,

assist me to proclaim,

to spread through all the earth abroad

the honors of thy name.

With me, your chief, you then shall know,

shall feel your sins forgiven;

anticipate your heaven below,

and own that love is heaven.

(Charles Wesley, 1707-1788)

Sing all 18 stanzas http://www.hymntime.com/tch/htm/o/f/o/ofor1000.htm

Prayer

Praise the Lord! Amen.

Day 33 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, Sovereign Lord; I will proclaim your righteous deeds, yours alone.Since my youth, God, you have taughtme, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your powerto the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. (Psalm 71:16-18 NIV)

Application

The current Barna study indicates that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their Savior do so before reaching the age of 13. I will look around my community of faith at the children who gather. Are we giving them the opportunity to express their faith? Are children “seen and not heard” or are they encouraged to pray out loud, share a testimony or read scripture? Sometimes the opportunities that we give young people, even if it may stretch them, will make a lasting impact for future faith and service.

So, the next time a child prays during open prayer in a meeting or stumbles through a witness during testimony time, I will be sure to tell them what a blessing they were to me as they shared. Sometimes my words will open doors of faith and trust for those on the receiving end.

Prayer

“O Lord God, whose chosen dwelling is the heart of the simple: I give you thanks that you revealed yourself in the form of a child. May I be humble in my faith and love, that I may know the joy of the Gospel that is hidden from the wise and revealed to a child. Amen.”(The Book of Worship)

Day 34 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

Who can possibly ascend the mountain of the Eternal? Who can stand before Him in sacred spaces? Only those whose hands have been washed and hearts made pure, men and women who are not given to lies or deception.The Eternal will stand close to them with blessing and mercy at hand, and the God who redeems will right what has been wrong. (Psalm 24:3-5 The Voice)

Application

Words like decency, honor, integrity, propriety, decorum, and goodness may be considered old fashion, but they are refreshingly relevant and desperately needed in our world today.

I will pray for purity; first and foremost in my own life. May I model the purity of Christ in such a way that others will be attracted to my way of living. May those who observe my lifestyle say, “I don’t know what it is he/she has, but I want it!” I will begin by praying for continued purifying of my heart.

Prayer

“O Holy Spirit of God, visit now this soul of mine, and tarry within it until eventide. Inspire all my thoughts. Pervade all my imaginations. Suggest all my decisions. Lodge in my will’s most inward citadel and order all my doings. Be with me in my silence and in my speech, in my haste and in my leisure, in company and in solitude, in the freshness of the morning and in the weariness of the evening; and give me grace at all times to rejoice in thy mysterious companionship. Amen.” (A Diary of Private Prayer, by John Baillie)

Day 35 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

There is one body and one Spirit… (Ephesians 4:3 NIV)

Application

There are times when integrated mission needs to take place among groups under the same roof. Has it been said, “That’s our activity closet” or “We’ll do our own thing and let them do theirs”? Are we one Body or not? What causes quarrels among us? The apostle James says, “Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it.” (James 4:1-2 NIV) We are selfish. Ouch!

I need to consider how I can better work with other people and groups within our four walls – at home, at the office, and at the corps or center. When I feel the tension inside of me, I can stop and ask “Why am I feeling like this? Do I want my own way? Can I work with others?” I need to view us as part of the same Body, working for the same Lord and Savior.

Prayer

Lord, help me to realize that we, the Church, are part of the same Body of Christ. Help me to see Jesus in each person. May my thoughts, attitudes, and actions be honoring to You. Amen.

Day 36 ~ DEEPER DISCIPLESHIP

Emphasis on prayer, Bible study, and worship

Scripture

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:1-2 NIV)

Application

We do not like pain, pain of any type. It’s just not comfortable and we think that discomfort is bad. When focusing on John 15, we see that the unproductive branches are pruned; BUT so are the fruit bearing branches. Pruning is necessary to produce even better fruit because good fruit is not good enough when better fruit is possible.

Where do I need pruning in my life – pruning away the negative attitudes, pruning away sinful acts, or pruning away lack of obedience? Where do I need further pruning to allow for better fruit of righteousness and holiness?

Prayer

Master Gardener, prune away, even when I protest, keep pruning. I want to stay connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ. I want to be more like the true vine. You know what is best and You know where the pruning needs to take place. I know that You will use love in the process. You have my permission to prune me. Amen.

Day 37 ~ YOUTH

Greater evangelistic effectiveness, Emphasis on youth under the age of 30

Scripture

Write this down for the next generation so people not yet born will praise God: “God looked out from his high holy place; from heaven he surveyed the earth. He listened to the groans of the doomed, he opened the doors of their death cells. Write it so the story can be told in Zion, so God’s praise will be sung in Jerusalem’s streets And wherever people gather together along with their rulers to worship him”. (Psalm 102:18-22 MSG)

Application

We should never take for granted the impact that we have on a young person. When we pour ourselves into the life of a youth it is probable that we are affecting the spiritual life of generations for years to come. It takes the salvation of one child to speak into the lives of the unsaved parent(s) and affect the future generations to come.

Who says “One person can’t make a difference”? One soul obedient to the movement of the Holy Spirit speaking into the life of a young person can last for many lifetimes to come and into eternity.

Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, You have promised never to leave nor forsake me. Accept my life and ministry as a living sacrifice to You and may it affect the lives of individuals and many generations to come. Amen.

Day 38 ~ LEADERSHIP

Enhanced leadership development, Emphasis on candidate recruitment

Scripture

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humblywith your God. (Micah 6:8 NIV)

Application

Books that convey successful leadership styles always seem to be on the New York Times Best Seller List. Often the thesis of the book is the steps to growth in productivity, money-making ability, or being on the cutting edge of a new trend. Some Christian leadership books have tried to make these societal steps fit God’s leadership profile. There are a few similarities, but today’s verse makes the life of a godly leader clear and unpretentious. The man or woman after the heart of the Lord is successful when he/she pursues justice in all things, has a merciful and forgiving heart, and exemplifies humility. In other words, live our lives just like Jesus!

Where might I need some encouragement today? Is it being impartial in a situation, acting with mercy in a certain circumstance, or possibly modeling humility?

Prayer

Heavenly Father, You who are the source of true life, strength and ministry, may I be a healing reminder of Your love to all with whom I come in contact with today. Amen.

Day 39 ~ INTEGRATED MISSION

Expansion of urban ministries, Emphasis on integrated mission

Scripture

And when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world. (Acts 1:8 NIV)

Application

What’s the purpose of a fence? If there is a young child in the family, often a fence is erected to keep the child in a safe place, to protect him/her from wandering into dangerous areas. As the child grows older and is able to apply what he/she has been taught about safety, the child is permitted to venture outside of the safe area and into a larger sphere.

Our corps and centers are like that. We are placed inside the safety net until there is a level of maturity. That maturity may include knowing the power of prayer, the wisdom of the Word, and the availability of the Body. Then, when we come against something that is foreign to what we have learned, hopefully a flag goes up and we begin to process what we know to be right.

Is it time for us to move outside of our fences? We have been in the safe zone of home/corps/centers; now it’s time to move to the uncomfortable or unfamiliar places to share the Gospel message. I will think about this.

Prayer

Lord, give me the wisdom and strength to venture outside and offer others Christ’s love, mercy, and grace. Amen.

Day 40 ~ STRIKEPOINT

Scripture

I don’t want any of you sitting around on your hands. I don’t want anyone strolling off, down some path that goes nowhere. And mark that you do this with humility and discipline-not in fits and starts, but steadily, pouring yourselves out for each other in acts of love… (Ephesians 4:2-3 MSG)

Application

This is the last day of 40 Days of Prayer for STRIKEPOINT, but it is not the end of moving forward with our eyes focused on:

Deeper Discipleship

Skilled Leadership

Young Adult Empowerment

Integrated Mission

I need to be mindful of the impact that STRIKEPOINT is having in the Kingdom, in The Army, and in the lives of men, women, and children, and in me.

Prayer

“Gracious and loving God, we thank and praise you for what we have been sharing together. We thank you for your presence with us. For the work you have been doing in our minds and hearts, for the ways you have been touching our lives, known and unknown, we give you praise and thanks. And as we come to the final aspects of our sharing, may we again, by your grace, open our lives to you fully, completely, and give you permission to do whatever you want to do in us through these pages. Help us, in the depths of our hearts, to say yes to you in a fuller, more complete way. Guide us by the anointing of your Spirit, that we may receive what you have for us.” Amen.

(Invitation to a Journey; M. Robert Mulholland Jr.)

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