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An Invitation from the FCC Elders & Pastor Chris 

 

Lent is a season of preparation before Holy Week and the blessed celebration of Resurrection Sunday.  For hundreds of years Christians have celebrated Lent.  It is a season where we acknowledge our absolute dependency on our Creator and Sustainer and humbly recognize our desperate need for a Savior.  The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday, a service that acknowledges our sinful humanity and gratefully embraces the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ.  Ash Wednesday service will be Wed., Feb.14th at 6:30 p.m. in the Worship Center.  The imposition of ashes and Communion will be a part of this service.

 

Over the past several months, the Elder Commission of First Covenant has sensed the Holy Spirit’s invitation to commit ourselves to prayer and believe that the forty days of Lent would be an ideal time to be stretched in our prayer life.  Our Lenten theme is, “PRAY BOLD; be humble.”  Over these forty days you will be asked to commit to a seven-point prayer pledge:

 

  • I will get on my knees (health permitting) first thing every morning.

  • I will write out my “impossible prayer” list and review it daily.

  • I will pray for these things daily, and even hourly when needed.

  • I will take measurable steps of obedience as I witness God’s miracles unfolding around me.

  • I will watch for and journal these “Miracle Sightings and Spiritual Insights” and the evidence of God’s work in my life daily.

  • When I am wrong, I will promptly admit it and quickly make amends.

  • I will deal with my doubts, excuses and complaints diligently and faithfully, and choose gratitude instead.

 

This seven-point prayer pledge is taken from Christian author and activist, Kit Cummings.  His daily devotional book, Forty Days of Prayer; Seven steps to a spiritual breakthrough, will be available for purchase in the main office later this week ($12, limited supply).  Or, you may find it on Amazon or CBD.  A more detailed description of each of these points will be made available on the FCC App.

 

Additionally, The Worship Center will be open and set aside for prayer and reflection every Wednesday from 6:30 -7:30 p.m.  Elders will be on hand if you would like to pray with someone.  Consider inviting someone to join you in the 40-day challenge, you may find Wednesday evenings to be a time to weekly check-in and encourage each other to make faith-based decisions in pursuit of God’s agenda.

 

Regardless if you commit to the 7-point prayer pledge, the Elder Commission asks that you pray boldly for the mission and ministry of First Covenant Church.  Pray that we may be a church deeply committed to joining God in His work and faithful in our calling as Christ-followers.

Holy Week at FCC

 

The Congregational Life Commission is excited to invite you to a special presentation entitled “Christ in the Passover; an Interactive Experience,” hosted by Liz Goldstein, a missionary with Jews for Jesus.  This interactive experiential learning opportunity will take place on Good Friday, March 29, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fellowship Hall.  There is no cost for this event but seating is limited so tickets must be reserved in advance.  The Congregational Life Commission will be making tickets available on Sunday mornings starting Feb. 18.  A free-will offering will be taken at the event to support the missionary efforts of Jews for Jesus.

7-Point Prayer Pledge Card

1. I will  get on my knees first thing every morning.

2. I will write out my impossible prayer list and review it daily.

3. I will pray for these things daily, and even hourly when needed.

4. I will take measurable steps of obedience as I witness God’s miracles unfolding around me.

5. I will watch and record “Miracle Sightings and Spiritual Insights” and the evidence of God’s work in my daily life.

6. When I am wrong, I will promptly admit it and quickly make amends.

7. I will deal with my doubts, excuses and complaints diligently and faithfully, and choose gratitude instead.

 

*  *  *  *  *

To begin each day,

read aloud the following prayer

and commit it to memory:

 

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

Where there is sadness, joy.

 

O Divine Master,

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love. For it is in giving that we receive. It is in pardoning that we are pardoned, And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.

 

              —attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

_______________________

My 10 Impossible Prayers

1.___________________________2.___________________________3.___________________________4.___________________________5.___________________________6.___________________________7.___________________________

8.___________________________

9.___________________________

10.__________________________

 

NOTES

 

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Explaining the 7-Point Prayer Pledge

 

First, you’ll commit to hitting your knees first thing every morning. This practice changed my life. I mean first thing. Roll out of your bed, onto your knees, and simply lift your eyes to God. This can be as short a prayer as you'd like, and then run to the bathroom! This simple act of submission sets the tone for your day and directs your energy and focus onto his power and not your own. This act is what many participants in this project say had the biggest impact on their life. I’ve been doing this for so many years I can't get out of bed any other way.

 

Next, you'll come up with ten impossible prayers, meaning they're impossible to do without divine power (you can come up with more than ten if you'd like). These should be prayers that scare you a little. They can involve your marriage or your kids; your health or your finances; your character or your courage; sin strongholds or forgiveness. These are things that you might have stopped believing are possible for you. Maybe you're afraid to get a broken heart if hope is deferred once again. It's not that you don't believe it's possible, but maybe you don't believe it's possible for you or yours. Here is my encouragement for you: a broken heart isn't so bad. I'd rather get my heart broken chasing my dreams than see it slowly break over years of disappointment and discouragement because I failed to stretch my faith.

 

Next, you'll review your miracle prayers every day and commit to praying for these things throughout your day. Don’t pray in the morning and forget about them as you go about your day. Your father is ALWAYS working. This project is about seeing what he is doing on a daily basis. You'll learn to pray as you walk along, and as you sit down. You'll daydream about your miracles, and you’ll imagine their arrival. This is what the Bible calls keeping in step with the Spirit. Talk to him and listen to him as you go along the path.

 

Next, you’ll begin to take measurable steps toward your miracles everyday. As you watch and pray, the Spirit will nudge you with thoughts, ideas, and answers, but you must move when he stirs you. When you have the thought to reach out to someone or to make a move on God's behalf, now is the time to act. Then you'll get deliberate about moves you can make to show God that you're paying attention. When you make one move, God makes two. Now you are gathering momentum.

 

Next, you will begin to journal regarding the evidence you find that God is working on your behalf. I call this searching for God's fingerprints. This is a huge part of the process. Over your forty days you will develop the habit of treasure hunting, as you look for God's reply to your requests and desires. Journaling is becoming a lost art, but it is so powerful when you practice it. I believe it becomes real to you when you write it down, and I think your Father likes it when it becomes real to you. As you record evidence you begin to search for more, and then you'll begin to notice him everywhere.

 

Next, you will keep your heart pure and soft by repenting as the Spirit shows you things along the way.. It's not that God stops working when we fall, but rather we can't see him when our hearts are covered up and becoming hard through sin's deceitfulness. Keep your side of the street clean and you will begin to see him more clearly. When I am stuck in guilt or shame my eyes become focused on myself and I can no longer see others around me as clearly. Guilt can be a motivation, as it involves feeling bad about something I've done. However, shame is more destructive because it involves feeling bad about who I AM. Simply see the wrong and make it right. We can’t allow shame to be a part of this game.

 

Next, you will begin the process of shifting back into a state of gratitude when you catch yourself complaining, blaming, or making excuses. These are all strategies for failure. These mindsets steal your power and take your eyes off of God and his work in your life. Gratitude in the midst of suffering is a powerful energy and keeps the door wide open. When you develop a habit of gratitude you open up the floodgates of blessing into your life. When we focus on all the reasons that we are miserable we continue to find evidence of the same. What you focus on expands and we find what we look for.

 

If you’d like to put your prayer life on steroids, I recommend that you get a prayer partner for this endeavor. Accountability is very powerful when you desire it. You’re attempting to break old habits that do not serve you and replace them with new ones. This is not easy as your brain will stubbornly hold onto habits that you have developed over time. When you have someone in the battle with you it will give you strength when you feel like taking a day off from your spiritual training. If you’re going to commit to this project, then do it with all your heart. Who knows, maybe your prayer partner needs you as much as or more than you need them. You can also take it one step further. Get your family or small group to do this as a project

 

Cummings, Kit. 40 Days of Prayer:Seven Steps to a Spiritual Breakthrough: Illumination Publishers Intl., Feb. 25.2015, pp. 8 -10.

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