As we enter a new season of transition for our Church, I invite you to join me in 21 Days of Prayer + fasting for our Church family, our staff, and our Church Board.
Let’s unite together and intentionally fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. All the Father’s love and provision for us is in the person of Jesus. His is our Savior and Deliverer. Everything we need is found in the person of Jesus. He is our only hope! The Holy Spirit leads us to Jesus, appropriating in our lives all that He has accomplished through His death and resurrection. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. In Him we live and move and have our very being. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. He has always been with us, is with now and will continue to be with us in the future!
I know you are praying for your Church. But there is great power in the people of God uniting in prayer. God’s Word proclaims, “If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face (I Chronicles 7:14)
Let’s unite in prayer. Each day, for 21 days, September 10 – 30, we invite you to join with hundreds of other followers of Jesus from our Church family and across our NWIL District for a consistent and united time of prayer. In addition, consider choosing to fast as the Lord leads you. Fasting can be as simple as making a sacrifice of something you value that leads you to be more focused and determined to prayer. It could be fasting a meal a day or once a week, or television, or computer or something you love that you give up reminding you to pray hard and with intention for your Church during these days. The important things are not what you fast or how long you fast, but how it impacts your prayer life intensity and focus.
Now, let’s pray together, church! Each day will include Scripture and encouragement about Jesus. That will clarify our focus. There will be prayer prompts each day and special prayer prompts for our Church. There is also encouragement and ideas to pray with your family or others during these 21 days of prayer.
Our staff at Crossbridge Ottawa and Peru have already committed to making this prayer focus a priority. I invite everyone make intentional prayer for our Church a priority over the next 21 days!
Pastor Lloyd Brock
DAY ONE | SEPTEMBER 10
JESUS IS GOD
Jesus: “the one and only” is worthy of our worship and exaltation today!
If Jesus is the Creator of the universe and can hold all of it together, then He can hold your personal “world” together as well. Jesus is over all things, and in Him is everything that we need for life and godliness. He is the object of our worship and the source of our life.
Today’s Scripture “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” —John 1:14 (NIV)
“The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” —Hebrews 1:3 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Colossians 1:15-20
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR UNITY IN OUR CHURCH IN ALL LEADERSHIP AND MINISTRIES.
1. Let’s magnify Jesus today as part of our prayer, exalting Him for His acts of creation, His all- surpassing power, and His unrivaled beauty and greatness.
2. Pray together for the creative work of God that reveals Jesus in our city, neighborhoods, schools, places of business, halls of government and marketplaces.
3. Boldly ask Jesus to be present among His Church in glory and power, that we would find in Him a sufficiency for all that we need. He alone can author newness and hold all things together.
Family Moment: Create a family prayer! Take turns writing down words of worship, thanksgiving, confession and requests that are special and unique to your family. Invite kids to add words or draw prayer pictures. This could become a prayer you frame and hang in your home to pray together regularly. Join hands and have each family member pray a part of the prayer aloud that is special to them.
How will fasting intensify your prayers this coming week?
DAY TWO | SEPTEMBER 11
JESUS IS LORD
Ask, seek and knock today as you approach the Lord for the desires of your heart.
Salvation begins with our confession of His lordship, when we surrender to the rightful claim of Jesus on our lives as Creator and Redeemer. New life begins with joyful willingness to trust that Jesus knows and wants what is ultimately best for us. To obey Jesus is a sign of His lordship in our lives; it is an expression of our love for Him and our desire to fully place our trust in Him.
Today’s Scripture “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in Him will never be put to shame.’” —Romans 10:9-11 (NIV)
“But why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?” —Luke 6:46 (NKJV)
“Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” —Philippians 2:9-11 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR HEALING FOR THE CHURCH.
1. Let’s pray today in a posture of humility, a willing submission to Jesus as the Lord of our lives and the head of the church. Offer prayers of worship that express His worthiness to be trusted with the whole of our lives—past, present and future.
2. Ask God that the distinctiveness of who Jesus is would be revealed in His church, that we would be the evidence of what it looks like when Jesus is truly leading us as His people.
3. Jesus said when He was “lifted up,” He would draw all people to Himself (John 12:32). As we lift Jesus today, let’s pray for the power of the Holy Spirit to draw people to the beauty, truth and life that is found only in Jesus. Family Moment Gather as a family.
Family Moment: Gather as a family and share your prayer requests. Take turns answering the question, “What would you like to tell Jesus today?” Maybe these are requests for things that you want, healing for people you know or His guidance for difficult situations. Talk to your kids about all the different types of prayer requests people might have. Commit to keeping those things in prayer as you continue asking, seeking and knocking.
DAY THREE | SEPTEMBER 12
JESUS IS THE CREATOR
Allow God to speak through you today, and remember you bear His image to the world.
We are God’s creation, the Imago Dei, reflecting and bearing witness to our Creator, though we are broken vessels. We bear witness to the very ordinary and yet utterly miraculous part of creation. May your life shine brightly, illuminating God’s presence all your days.
Today’s Scripture “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds.” —Hebrews 1:1-2 (NKJV)
Additional Scripture Psalm 119:73 Psalm 139:13 Jeremiah 1:5 Job 31:15 Ephesians 2:10
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR ALL OUR CHURCH LEADERS AT OTTAWA AND PERU.
1. “Jesus, help me to see Your image in every person I encounter. Awaken my spirit to this all around me.”
2. “Jesus, teach us to be united in our essentials, learning to practice love in our churches so that we may transform our communities.”
3. “Jesus, help us to reflect Your image to our community, collectively and communally being marked by the way we love, serve, sow and give generously.”
Family Moment: You are made in the image of God! As followers of Jesus, one of the most important things we learn is who we are in Him. The Bible tells us that we are chosen, forgiven, loved and a new creation. Hand each family member a piece of paper and some markers. Sit quietly and individually ask Jesus to reveal to you who He says you are. Write or color your responses on the paper and take time to share your words or pictures as a family.
DAY FOUR | SEPTEMBER 13
JESUS IS OUR SAVIOR
When we accept and live as disciples for Christ, our lives should bear fruit.
Do you remember your life before you knew Jesus? Can you recall the unfolding of revelation that He is Savior, Healer, Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and Soon-Coming King? Do you recall the love that washed over you, the passion that compelled you and the revelation that guided you then? Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Today’s Scripture “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’” —John 1:29 (NKJV)
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” —Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” —John 20:31 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR FULL STAFF – EVERY PERSON, EVERY ROLE, EVERY MINISTRY
1. Pray on your own: “Jesus, use my story to reach somebody in my life personally and tangibly. I want to expand the gospel every day of my life.”
2. Pray as a church: “Jesus, guide us as a church to tell our story that leads others to You.”
3. Pray with your family: “Jesus, teach us to become witnesses to our community, revealing Your love and sacrifice for all.”
Family Moment: Read Galatians 5:22-23. When our lives display the fruit of the Spirit, others see the love and truth of Jesus. Write down each of the nine fruits of the Spirit on pieces of paper and place them in a jar. As a family, take turns pulling out a piece of paper and sharing examples of what that characteristic practically looks like at work, school or home. End with a prayer of blessing for each family member: “May God continue to transform you. May His Spirit empower you to boldly display the fruit of the Spirit to the world.
DAY FIVE | SEPTEMBER 14
MADE ALIVE IN JESUS
It is by God’s grace and that we live and breathe and have our being; thank Him for His protection and provision.
Alive in Christ! The foundation of this truth is found in the other phrases today’s text emphasizes. Phrases like, “His great love,” “who is rich in mercy” and “expressed in His kindness” transform our lives. And how amazing is it to realize these are gifts we receive by grace.
Today’s Scripture “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages He might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” —Ephesians 2:4-9 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Colossians 2:13-14 2 Corinthians 5:17
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR THE CHURCH FAMILY AT CROSSBRIDGE OTTAWA CAMPUS.
1. Pray that you would help your community experience God’s mercy.
2. Pray that God would use you so your neighbors and city can experience His goodness.
3. Pray for your church to be an expression of God’s love.
Family Moment: Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection from the grave made the way for people to be a part of God’s family. Read 2 Corinthians 5:17. When we choose to follow Jesus, our old selves are gone, and He transforms our hearts. It’s Jesus living in us that makes us a new creation! Celebrate that truth by taking turns sharing how you see Jesus on display in each family member.
DAY SIX | SEPTEMBER 15
FORGIVEN BY JESUS
What a gift we have in Christ, in His forgiveness and freedom from condemnation!
To realize the gift, we have in Christ brings great gratitude. To hear our sins are forgiven, our debt of sin is canceled, and we stand with no condemnation, brings great joy. Also, to be invited into a conversation of ongoing purification through confession causes ongoing daily transformation in our lives.
Today’s Scripture “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.” —Romans 8:1-2 (NIV)
“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 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR THE CHURCH FAMILY AT CROSSBRIDGE PERU CAMPUS.
1. Pray for our world to experience true penitence and God’s radical forgiveness.
2. Pray for your church’s impact on your community as we share the gospel.
3. Confess anything keeping you from Christ today and accept His forgiveness.
Family Moment: Look up the word “freedom” together in the dictionary or online and talk about what freedom means. Now read Romans 8:1-2 and discuss what the Bible says about the freedom that Jesus gives us. How has God shown you forgiveness? How can you show forgiveness to others? End by speaking the following blessing over one another: “May you know God’s forgiveness this week. May you forgive others as He has forgiven you.”
DAY SEVEN | SEPTEMBER 16
UNITY IN JESUS
How can we unite in such divided times? Only through the love and bond of Christ.
In an era where culture is inundated with divisive ideas that polarize and separate us, Jesus calls us to love one another, defining that love as how the world would know we are His followers. We must focus on what we have in common and model what it looks like when we respect differences rather than letting them divide us.
Today’s Scripture “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head… For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” —Psalm 133:1-3 (NIV)
“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” —Ephesians 4:3 (NIV)
Additional Scripture John 17:20-23
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR CHURCH B0ARD.
1. Pray that our love would be an effective witness to the watching world.
2. Pray for creative ways to tangibly show the love of Christ to our neighbors and communities in partnership with other churches in our cities.
3. Pray for wisdom to lead toward greater unity within our churches.
Family Moment: Sometimes loving others can be hard! The good news is that Jesus doesn’t expect us to be able to love others on our own. Followers of Jesus are filled with the Holy Spirit, and He gives us the power to love. The Holy Spirit brings us together and unifies us as one community. Read John 17:20-23. When you hear the word “one,” encourage family members to shout, “Go unity!” Take time to share what stood out to you in the verses. How can you show God’s love to others this week?
DAY EIGHT | SEPTEMBER 17
JESUS IS THE HEALER
Healing was central to Jesus’ ministry; let’s make it central to our ministry, too.
Healing of the body, soul and spirit is one of the greatest needs for gospel expression today. As we focus on Jesus as the Healer, may we be the hands and feet of His body to administer wholeness, believing He is as incarnate through us today as He was when He walked the earth.
Today’s Scripture “When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: ‘He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sickness.’” —Matthew 8:16-17 (NKJV)
“And He was preaching in their synagogues throughout all Galilee and casting out demons. Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, ‘If you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, ‘I am willing; be cleansed.’ As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.” —Mark 1:39-42 (NKJV)
“Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” —Psalm 103:2-3 (NIV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR GOD’S CONTINUED HEALING IN OUR CHURCH!
1. We read in the Bible that entire villages placed faith in Christ because of miraculous healing. Let’s pray for the same to happen in our own communities.
2. Pray for the mental-health crisis that is taking place in our communities. Pray especially for children, youth and young adults to experience soundness of mind.
3. Pray that your church would become a place of refuge, healing and hope for all.
Family Moment: Lights, camera, action! Read Mark 1:39-42, and take a few minutes to gather props and costumes. Select a family member to re-read the passage slowly as narrator and encourage the rest of the family members to act out the passage. What stood out to you in the story? What did you learn about Jesus? Take time to respond and then pray for people you know who need physical or spiritual healing.
How will fasting intensify your prayers this upcoming week.
DAY NINE | SEPTEMBER 18
JESUS IS A MIRACLE WORKER
God is at work all around us, and miracles are everywhere, if we just open our eyes.
Jesus’ earthly ministry was marked by the miraculous: blind eyes opened, dead people raised to life, storms stilled by a word. Today, we are invited to live in expectation of signs and wonders, modeling our lives after our miracle-working Messiah. We must be confident that nothing is too hard for our God.
Today’s Scripture “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to your servants that with all boldness they may speak your word, by stretching out your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of your holy Servant Jesus.” —Acts 4:29-30 (NKJV)
“He replied, ‘You of little faith, why are you so afraid?’ Then He got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. The men were amazed and asked, ‘What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!’” —Matthew 8:26-27 (NIV)
“Ah, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.” —Jeremiah 32:17 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY F0R OUR CHURCH T0 BE A PEOPLE OF GREAT FAITH.
1. Pray for those facing tumultuous storms in their lives and needing a miraculous breakthrough, whether physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially or relationally.
2. Pray for local and global communities disrupted by war, famine and natural disasters to receive miraculous provisions of clean water, food, medical supplies and aid that cannot be stopped by bureaucracy, corruption or physical barriers.
3. Pray for a bold faith to rise in the hearts of believers, that we would become a people who prayerfully contend for the miraculous in our lives and in the lives of those around us.
Family Moment: What are miracles? When we see God at work in little ways or big ways, we’re witnessing miracles! Take turns sharing little miracles (God sightings) you encountered this week. Next, celebrate the “big” miracles you’ve witnessed in your life. Maybe the healing of a disease, provision to pay a debt that seemed insurmountable or someone coming to know the Lord personally. Grab a pen and paper and write a letter to God. Ask Him for a specific big miracle or thank Him for the little miracles we see every day.
DAY TEN | SEPTEMBER 19
JESUS IS OUR DELIVERER
Praise the Lord—He breaks the chains that bind us to sin and the world.
Since the beginning, God has been breaking the chains of unhealthy patterns, unjust practices and unholy powers that have kept His people from experiencing abundant kingdom life. Jesus’ life, death and resurrection offer deliverance from that which keeps us bound to sin and destruction, opening the door to life everlasting.
Today’s Scripture “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” —1 John 4:2-4 (NKJV)
And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” —Colossians 2:15 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Ephesians 2:1-7
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR PASTORAL SEARCH PROCESS.
1. Pray for those who need deliverance from sin that is keeping them from experiencing the fullness of God’s love and grace.
2. Pray for people to be delivered from institutions, systems or leaders that prevent them from living the abundant, flourishing lives God has ordained.
3. Pray for believers to boldly demonstrate the freedom that is found in Christ as they turn away from unhealthy patterns, unjust practices and unholy powers to model the hope of Christ’s life, death and resurrection through radical love, gracious hospitality and extraordinary generosity.
Family Moment: In advance, prepare a small paper chain. Gather with your family and ask, “What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘deliver’?” To deliver someone means to save or to set free. Read Ephesians 2:1-7. Jesus is our Deliverer. Jesus wants to break our chains to sin and bring us into a life of freedom. Take a moment to quietly talk with God. Remember that Jesus is the Deliverer, not only of sins, but also of all kinds of pains, sorrows, fears and worries. Gather back together and invite every family member to break off a chain link as a reminder that Jesus is our Deliverer.
DAY ELEVEN | SEPTEMBER 20
JESUS IS THE BAPTIZER WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT
Let’s join and pray for a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit in us.
The believers were all assembled and waiting, when “suddenly ...” (Acts 2:1-2). Jesus’ Holy Spirit baptism is not just something we can witness; it is also a manifestation of God that we live and experience. May we all be filled afresh with God’s power.
Today’s Scripture “Then John gave this testimony: ‘I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, “The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.”’” —John 1:32-33 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Acts 2:1-4
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR DS PASTOR BROCK.
1. Let’s pray: “We ask You, Jesus, for the power of the Holy Spirit to be made manifest through us as an expression of the love of Christ toward those who do not yet know You.”
2. Ask Jesus for a release of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, for healing and prophecy to light up our neighborhoods and communities with His goodness.
3. Let’s pray: “Jesus, may the power of the Holy Spirit build up our churches and strengthen them to be a powerful beacon of Your Good News, Your mission and our eternal purpose in You.”
Family Moment: Make a campfire in the house! Gather some candles and light them in a safe place or build a fire in the fireplace. For some added fun and coziness, add some comfy pillows, blankets and hot cocoa. Turn off the lights and read Acts 2 around the fire. Let conversation about the Holy Spirit flow freely around the campfire. What was your favorite part of the story? What did you learn about the Holy Spirit from the story?
DAY TWELVE | SEPTEMBER 21
ABIDING IN JESUS
How can we ensure that our lives will bear fruit?
If we remain in Jesus, He is able produce good fruit in our lives— good works, blessings and godly relationships. His divine vine of goodness and salvation unites us as a people to become one in Him and in our mission.
Today’s Scripture “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” —John 15:1-4 (NKJV)
“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” — Ephesians 2:19-22 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR KIDS AND YOUTH AND THEIR LEADERS.
1. Let’s pray: “Jesus, help those who are lost discover the beautiful redemptive relationship You have made available to them through Your sacrifice. Open their eyes to Your goodness.”
2. “Jesus, help our communities carry Your goodness as a collective community that shines brightly.”
3. “Jesus, help our churches continue to be built with Your togetherness, so that You can live within us by Your Spirit.”
Family Moment: Take a field trip! It could be to the front yard, backyard, local park (wherever there are trees/ bushes). Gather around the tree or bush and point out the branches. Invite your kids to discover what the branches are connected to. Share: “If I pulled off this branch, could it still produce the flower or fruit? No! That’s how we are connected to God.” Read John 15:1-8. We are the branch connected to Jesus. What does it mean to bear fruit? How do we “remain in” Jesus?
DAY THIRTEEN | SEPTEMBER 22
JESUS IS OUR SOON COMING KING
As we look forward to His coming, let’s prepare for Jesus’ return with love and celebration.
Jesus is coming back again. He is returning in victory as Lord and King. How do we prepare for this? By loving others, treating them with hospitality and using the gifts that God has entrusted to us. Our King will strengthen our hearts for that great day.
Today’s Scripture “Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called the Word of God. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” —Revelation 19:11-16 (NKJV)
Additional Scripture 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 1 Peter 4:7-11
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR ALL OUR SMALL GROUPS.
1. In expectation of Jesus’ coming, may we love people and treat them so well that it shines the bright light of God’s love to them.
2. May our communities experience the hope of the coming King that we as followers of Christ carry and radiate.
3. Let’s pray: “Lord, help us as Your people to be prayerful and to really love others as You’ve commanded, as a way to prepare for Your coming.”
Family Moment: For dinner tonight, prepare a royal feast (aka some family favorites). Have kids create homemade table decorations, use your finest dishes and wear your best clothing for the feast. Read 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 and talk about what you love about each person at the table. Ask your family what comes to mind when they hear Jesus is our Soon-Coming King. Celebrate the truth that Jesus promises to return. How do we prepare for this? We are called to love each other, including our neighbors and people in our community.
DAY FOURTEEN | SEPTEMBER 23
JESUS IS OUR PRESENT AND FUTURE HOPE
We put our hope in our Soon-Coming King and His promise of forever.
Imagine a new heaven and a new earth, a holy city where Jesus is our King, and every tear is wiped away. This promised inheritance is ours as Christ’s followers. Our hope is not merely in a city, but rather in Jesus Christ, our Soon-Coming King.
Today’s Scripture “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also, there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’” —Revelation 21:1-5 (NKJV)
Additional Scripture 1 Peter 1:3-5 Romans 15:4 Hebrews 10:23-24 Psalm 42:5-6
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR MANY TO COME T0 KNOW JESUS THROUGH THE MINISTRY OF CROSSBRIDGE.
1.Amid so much sorrow, brokenness and fallenness in this world, may those around us encounter hope now and in the future through Jesus Christ.
2. Pray for our communities and nations to experience a revival of hope through Jesus Christ as we lift our eyes toward a future day when Jesus returns and makes all things new.
3. Let’s pray: “Lord, help those who do not have this hope encounter You, the God of hope, through Your Word, Your love expressed by Your followers, Your Holy Spirit or however You choose to reveal Yourself. Let there be hope!”
Family Moment: The word “hope” means waiting and expecting for something good to happen. What are some things you hope for? It’s easy to view hope more like a wish list. I wish I had more money; I wish I had a new toy; the list goes on. As we respond to the truth that Jesus is both our present and future hope, let’s take some time to build a family “hope list” that focuses on the promises of God. What do you hope for (have confidence in) when you think about the promises of God? Invite family members to write or draw responses on paper.
DAY FIFTEEN | SEPTEMBER 24
JESUS IS OUR REFUGE IN SUFFERING
Jesus’ sacrifice reminds us that we can have joy despite our trials.
Of all the benefits that are ours in Christ, perhaps the most precious of His caring gifts is the sanctuary He offers to us in our suffering. He ministers to us, strengthens us even as our faith is tested, and reminds us that we are not alone, and God is at work. Jesus, who suffered on the cross, opens our eyes to joy amid suffering and, with it, a renewed capacity to endure.
Today’s Scripture “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name. For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And ‘If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’ So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good.” —1 Peter 4:12-19 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Psalm 62:1-2
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR THE UNITY OF OUR CHURCH FAMILY,
1. Pray for family and friends who are far from God and suffering, that they will experience the caring love, protection and comfort that only Jesus gives without measure.
2. Pray with great faith, asking Jesus to minister health, healing, peace and His presence to the wounds that cause suffering in your community.
3. Pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, that wherever there is suffering, despair and struggle, that Jesus will give understanding, faith, hope and bring deliverance.
Family Moment: What comes to mind when you think of suffering? Talk about how God helps us when we are suffering or how you have personally experienced God’s presence in suffering. Think of someone you know who is suffering and pray for them as a family. Discuss how you could share the love of Jesus with them—maybe writing a card or preparing a meal to remind them God is with them. To conclude, speak Psalm 62:1-2 as a prayer over your family.
How will you fast this week? How will it intensify your prayers?
DAY SIXTEEN | SEPTEMBER 25
JESUS IS OUR PEACE
Let’s remember and pursue the peace “which surpasses all understanding.”
Pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a prayer while imprisoned in a concentration camp during World War II and facing a death sentence: “I am lonely, but You do not leave me; I am feeble in heart, but with You there is help; I am restless, but with You there is peace” (Letters and Papers From Prison, Simon & Schuster, 1997). And when it seems like there is no hope, Jesus is our peace.
Today’s Scripture “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may He work in us what is pleasing to Him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.” —Hebrews 13:20-21 (NIV)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Philippians 4:6-7
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR PEACE IN OUR CHURCH AND FOR ALL OUR PEOPLE.
1. Pray for those who feel far from Jesus, that He would fill them with His peace that transcends all understanding, and that you would have an opportunity to explain what He did for them.
2. Pray and declare peace over your city, that it, and you, would prosper (Jeremiah 29:7).
3. Pray for churches that may have suffered divisions, that the confession will arise that “He Himself is our peace,” uniting them and tearing down any wall that divides (Eph. 2:14, NKJV).
Family Moment: What do you think of when you hear the word “peace”? Can you think of a time you’ve experienced God’s peace? The Bible says God’s peace doesn’t make sense to most people. It can be with us even when sad or bad things are happening. It fills up our hearts, reminding us of God’s presence and love. It is something only God can give. Let’s think about different times throughout the day when we feel God with us and thank Him for being with us during those times—even when we don’t feel Him. End by speaking Philippians 4:6-7 as a blessing over each family member.
DAY SEVENTEEN | SEPTEMBER 26
THE PRIORITY OF KNOWING AND LOVING JESUS
What should we do before anything else?
The world is so noisy. It constantly calls out to us with urgent invitations to put our trust in anything other than Jesus. “Come, this expert can help you!” “Look, this problem is too big.” Yet, Jesus remains our hope. Let us continue fix our attention on Him first and foremost.
Today’s Scripture “I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know Him better. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people.” —Ephesians 1:17-18 (NIV)
Additional Scripture Jeremiah 9:23-24 Psalm 9:10 Matthew 6:33-34 Revelation 2:4-5
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR ALL OUR CHURCH LEADERS.
1. Consider the ways you are distracted and return your attention to Jesus.
2. Consider situations in your community that seem hopeless and ask Jesus to intervene.
3. Consider the ways that our churches put trust in things other than Jesus and ask for the Lord’s forgiveness.
Family Moment: Build a family obstacle course! Take turns making your way through the course before regrouping as a family. Like the obstacle course, life will bring challenges and hurdles that can distract us from living for Jesus. Can you think of ways we might be distracted? There’s good news! God gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit. Read Matthew 6:33- 34. What does it look like for us to seek God first?
DAY EIGHTEEN | SEPTEMBER 27
PRAISE THE NAME OF JESUS
Spend special time today in worship and praise.
No matter our current employment status or life circumstance, as children of God we are blessed spiritually. This remarkable truth sets us free to worship, give thanks and praise the name of Jesus during every season. Jesus is worthy to be praised wherever you’re at today.
Today’s Scripture “Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the Lord is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.” —Psalm 100 (NIV)
“It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and to sing praises to your name, O Most High.” —Psalm 92:1 (NKJV)
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.” —Ephesians 1:3 (NIV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR ALL OUR WORSHIP LEADERS.
1. Consider the lost and thank the Lord for how He is pursuing them with His love.
2. Consider your neighborhood and give thanks for ways you see God’s goodness in it.
3. Consider your church and thank God for specific ways Jesus is being exalted through your community.
Family Moment: What are different ways we can worship and praise Jesus? Read Psalm 100. Today we get to create a psalm of praise! Select a family member to record the psalm. Start with a greeting to God. Next lines: “God, we praise You because You are…” “God, we are thanking You for…” “God You are bigger than…” “God, You are more wonderful than…” Close by telling God what you love about Him. You wrote a psalm! Read the psalm aloud. Feeling extra creative? Turn it into a song!
DAY NINETEEN | SEPTEMBER 28
PRAYING IN JESUS NAME
When we pray, we must have the faith to ask for what we need in Jesus’ name.
The name of Jesus grounds us in what is ultimate. His name secures us against the ever-shifting temporality around us—including our own incomplete perspective. Praying in His name is not a superstition, like knocking on wood or avoiding cracks in the sidewalk, but an expression of trust in His character. Trust that we receive when we pray as well as believe when we pray that His response, when it is not what we expect, is trustworthy.
Today’s Scripture “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to my Father. And whatever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” —John 14:12-13 (NKJV)
“Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” —John 16:24 (NIV)
Additional Scripture John 15:15-16
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR OUR PASTORAL SEARCH PROCESS.
1. Let’s pray: “Lord, we pray Your strong name over our family and friends. May Your good will and loving intent for them become evident and palpable.”
2. “Lord, we pray Your strong name over our communities and neighborhoods. We will serve, listen and connect with them until we feel their concerns. Empower our efforts in Jesus’ name.”
3. “Lord, we pray Your strong name would be the grounding anchor among Your people and in Your churches.”
Family Moment: Write the name “Jesus” on the center of a paper plate (or cut a large circle out of a piece of paper). Draw lines outward and write or draw prayer requests you have. Read John 16:24 and then take turns praying for each of the requests.
DAY TWENTY | SEPTEMBER 29
THE LIGHT OF JESUS TO A DARK WORLD
Because God blesses us with His vision, we can share His light in our communities.
It is not so much that we “see the light” as much as we see everything in the light. His light activates our sense of sight so that it is within our power to see if His gaze is upon us. Amid thousands of interacting forces around us, Jesus’ light prompts our spiritual sight to see what matters most.
Today’s Scripture “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.” —1 Peter 2:11-12 (NIV)
“You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” —Matthew 5:14-16 (NKJV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAY FOR CHURCH TO BE A SHINIG LIGHT FOR JESUS IN OUR WORLD.
1. Let’s pray: “Lord, may our eyes be formed and illumined by Your light so we may be Your light to a darkened world.”
2. “Father, may Your light be brighter and broader as reflected in all Your people together, providing direction to those in darkness. Please align our vision.”
3. “We pray, Lord, that we would be guided by Your faithful light-bearers all around us. We honor your Son as He uniquely shines in them.”
Family Moment: Turn off all the lights. Using a flashlight or candle, add light into the dark room. What happens to the darkness? Light always wins! Read Matthew 5:14- 16 with the flashlight or candle illuminated. What stands out to you in these verses? We are called to shine the light of Jesus to a dark world. Share examples of when you’ve shared the light of Jesus. What did that look like for you?
DAY TWENTY-ONE | SEPTEMBER 30
OBEYING THE GREAT COMMISSION
To the ends of the earth, to the end of the age— we are to take God’s Good News everywhere.
Jesus’ final words to His disciples hold out the promise for continued grace for uncertain days ahead. His words are not a pep talk or “how to” lesson on what to do, but an invitation to personal vulnerability. Continued grace resides in a sustained encounter with the Holy Spirit. After all our work and efforts fall short; it is His ineffable presence that makes a way possible.
Today’s Scripture “Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had appointed for them. When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” —Matthew 28:16-20 (NKJV)
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” —Acts 1:8 (NIV)
Prayer + Reflection
PRAISE GOD FOR WHAT HE IS DOING IN OUR CHURCH!!
1. Let’s pray: “Lord, may our words and actions carry Your message well. Most of all, may our spirits be shaped and formed by Your living presence.”
2. “Lord, we lift our hands to symbolically raise our communities to You. See our neighbors and use us to enfold them into Your family.”
3. “Lord, empower us to care for our friends who don’t know You. May You renew our motivation and facility for growing disciples all around us.”
Family Moment: Read Matthew 28:16-20. Jesus is the Good News! Someone shared that Good News with us, and now we get to share it with others! Telling your story is a powerful way of sharing the Good News of Jesus.
Thank you for joining us for 21 Days of Prayer + Fasting! Whether you prayed through each day personally, with your family or with your church community, you helped us hear from God on mission together. Special thanks to everyone who prayed over these 21 Days. Your contribution is felt around the world, and we thank you. We hope it has been a blessing, and that your family will continue together in prayer and fellowship.