3 Days of Prayer and Fasting (2017/10)

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Ephesians 2:1-22 (ESV)
1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
11 Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— 12 remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility 15 by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. 17 And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. 22 In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.

Day 1: Loving God
Read: Ephesians 2:1-10
Reflect:
This passage mentions three specific ways in which we were “dead in our trespasses and sins.” (1) First, that we were “following the course of this world,” (2) Second, that we were “following the prince of the power of the air,” and (3) Third, that we lived “in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind” (vv. 2-3). In what ways have you compromised lately with the world, the devil, and the flesh? Which of the three enemies of your soul wield the most powerful influence over your life?
Church historian Richard Lovelace writes that many Christians “below the surface of their lives are guilt-ridden and insecure … [and] draw the assurance of their acceptance with God from their sincerity, their past experience of conversion, their recent religious performance or the relative infrequency of their conscious, willful disobedience.” Do you live with this subconscious guilt and insecurity? Are you tempted to believe that God’s mercy and love toward you are contingent on something that you do? If so, meditate on this truth: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (vv. 4-6.) We are partakers in Christ’s death and resurrection, so we are dead to sin. We are partakers in Christ’s ascension, so we have departed from this world. We are partakers in Christ’s session (being seated at the right hand of God), so we have defeated the devil. Depend on the finished work of Christ rather than on your works of righteousness, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (vv. 8-9).
Pray:
  • Repent of your sins and pray that God would strengthen you to live in light of your New Life in Christ.
  • Pray that you would be characterized by deep humility and security, knowing that salvation is truly “the gift of God,” so that you obey and serve out of gratitude and love, not out of fear or obligation.
  • Pray that God would enable you to “walk” in the “good works, which God prepared beforehand” for you (v. 10).

Day 2: Loving One Another
Read: Ephesians 2:11-22
Reflect:
Christ not only broke down the “hostility” between humanity and God by “reconciling [us] both to God in one body through the cross” (v. 16), he also “[broke] down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility” (vv. 14-15) between Jews and Gentiles. The Jewish-Gentile division was one of the most significant divisions in the ancient world. What are some things that threaten to divide the church today? How can we overcome these divisions to reflect our unity in Christ?
As those who have been united in Christ, believers of all races, ethnic groups, and classes share in the “citizenship” of heaven, “membership” in the heavenly household, and are “joined together” as God’s heavenly temple. This means that, by divine design, we need each other. We cannot be built up apart from each other. Is this how you think about our local church? Or do you think that having a personal relationship with Jesus is enough apart from the local church?
Pray:
  • Pray that our church would grow in our love for, commitment to, and service to, one another.
  • Pray that our church would be characterized by diversity in unity that serves as a witness to Christ’s reconciling work in this divisive world.
  • Pray that are new members being inducted next month would be united around the Biblical truths and values that define our church, and that they would quickly become beloved, integral members of the body through their love and service.

Day 3: Sharing the Love of Christ with Others
Read: Ephesians 1:1-22
Reflect:
The default spiritual state of humanity is to “[live] in the passions of [the] flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and [be] by nature children of wrath” (v. 3). How does this change your perspective on how your unbelieving friends and neighbors appear to be doing? They may appear happy and well-adjusted, but their true spiritual condition is desperate.
This is why Paul commands the Ephesians church twice to “remember” their former separation and alienation from God in verses 11-12. We were all once hopeless cases, “without God in the world.” How does the fact that people are hopelessly alienated from God (apart from Christ) inform and motivate our evangelism?
Though we were not saved by works (vv. 8-9), we were saved for good works (v. 10). What are some practical ways that you can serve your unbelieving family, friends, and neighbors? Have you shared the good news of Jesus Christ with them? Why or why not?
Pray:
  • Pray that God would deepen your faith so that you are truly convinced that the gospel is good news, and so that you are compelled by your love for God and neighbor to evangelize.
  • Pray that the Holy Spirit would give us an accurate sense of the spiritual condition of unbelievers, so that our evangelism is marked by a sense of urgency and desperate dependence on God our Savior.
  • Pray that God would make us bold and winsome witnesses among our friends and neighbors. Write down the names of unbelieving friends and neighbors that you know and feel called to pray for, and pray for them specifically.
  • Pray for conversions leading up to our Baptism Sunday on November 26th.

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