WEEK one: 2 Chronicles 7:13-15
It’s time to pray and fast.
This Sunday we begin our new sermon series called “21 Days of Prayer.” Over the next three Sundays, we will take a look at the importance of prayer and fasting and the role they play in our lives and faith. Pastor Brian kicks off this series with a message titled “It is Time to Pray and Fast.”
Here is a short preview of the message:
As we begin our study, it’s important that we understand the context of what was going on in the lives of God’s people during the time of this passage.
When Solomon built the temple in Jerusalem and the presence of God descended among the people, it was an amazing time of spiritual and material prosperity. The people were truly blessed. But here, God speaks to them about a time that is yet to come. It’s interesting that God chooses, in the midst of such prosperity and presence, to tell His people what do to when things are out of our control and things are bad.
2 Chronicles 7:13 “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to develop the land, or send pestilence among my people,”
TWO TRUTHS TO REMEMBER
- God Doesn’t Change
- Malachi 3:6-7 For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed. From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts. But you say, ‘How shall we return?’”
- We are the People of God and the Temple of God
- In Solomon’s time, the call was for the people to come to the Temple Mount, around the presence of God, and pray and seek his face.
- Because of Jesus, we have been grafted in to the people of Abraham, and we have been made into the Temple of God.
- We are His people and we are His Temple. There is no need to run to the Temple Mount any longer.
- Romans 11:17-18 “But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you.”
- 1 Corinthians. 6:19 “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
WHAT IS OUR PROPER RESPONSE? (If, Then)
2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
- Humble Ourselves – To bring low. Come into subjection. To be under.
- Under God is actually the most secure place we can be.
- Psalm 27:5 “For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.”
- Psalm 61:4 “Let me dwell in your tent forever! Let me take refuge under the shelter of your wings! Selah.”
- Psalm 91:4-6 “He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.”
- Pray and Seek the Face of God
- Repent from our Wicked Ways
- We are to repent (turn) from the wickedness and evil in our lives.
HOW WILL GOD RESPOND? (Then)
- I Will Hear Them
- I Will Forgive Their Sin
- I Will Heal Their Land
As a church, we are beginning 21 days of prayer and fasting. Beginning March 23 and lasting through Easter, we are joining together to seek God in some specific and intentional ways. Here’s how you can join us:
- Grab the 21 Days of Prayer guide online. https://bayarea.church/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/21days-guide.pdf
- Choose a meal each day to set aside for the Lord.
- Get away and pray during that meal time. Read the scriptures in the guide and ask God to speak to you. Write down the things that God is saying and how this is impacting your life.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE
As you gather (virtually) this week, or however you connect, make sure and take time to check-in and care for the physical, spiritual, and emotional needs of you group! In this challenging time, it’s important that we stay as connected as possible. People may be struggling with physical needs. Some may be struggling with spiritual needs. Others may be wrestling with fear, anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Everyone could probably just use a break and an encouraging laugh and word! More than taking time to smply discuss content, these times of connection are a vehicle for the care and shepherding of your group. Thanks for caring and loving them well during this time! Know that as you do, we are here for you…to support you in the same ways! Let us know how we can encourage, care for, and help you!
Begin your sessions with prayer and use the following thoughts and questions to begin your discussion time.
“This has been a very interesting couple of weeks. The Coronavirus has changed “normal” life for everyone in some way. As you begin your time together this week, let’s take some time to decompress and share how things are going and how we are doing.
Q: How was your week on a scale of 1-10? (1 being “I wish it never happened” and 10 being “it was the best week ever!”) Why would you rate it that way?
Q: What has been the most challenging thing for you this past week?
Q: What positives have you seen and experienced through this challenging time?
Q: How has God encouraged and spoken to your heart in the midst of what you experienced?
Let’s take time to remember, as we begin, who God is, His promises to us, and His presence in our lives during this time.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Ask and discuss the following questions.
Q: Do you find it easier to faithfully follow God when things are going well in life or when things get difficult? Why do you think that’s so?
Q: How does the promise in Malachi 3:6-7 that the Lord does not change give you practical encouragement when life is hard or uncertain?
Q. Where are you tempted to run or to what are you tempted to run when life’s difficulties come?
Q: How can we practically keep our focus on God and running to Him during these times?
Q: What were the three things God told His people to do in 2 Chronicles 7:14? Which of these is easier for you and which is more difficult?
Q: What was God’s promised response to them if they would do these things?
Q. How can times of intentional prayer and fasting grow our faith? Why are these two spiritual practices important?
Q: What is God saying to you through this week’s message? What is your one take-away?
Q: What are you going to do in response to this take-away this week? How can you apply this truth to your life over the next seven days?
It’s always a good time to pray and fast, but especially in times of difficulty and uncertainty. Will you embrace the challenge to be part of 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting?
Let’s be reminded of the challenge:
- Download the 21 Days of Prayer Guide at www.bayarea.church
- Choose one meal each day to fast – setting it aside for the Lord.
- Take time to pray during this meal time. Read the scripture for the day and ask God to speak to you. Write down how God is speaking and how this is impacting the way you live.
Think about ways your group can encourage and hold each other accountable during this 21 days emphasis. Brainstorm and commit to this!
Conclude with prayer – seeking the Lord for the needs, worries, and anxieties of those in your groups! Also pray for this situation in general, that God’s name will be praised and that His plans and purposes will shine through as we face this challenging time.
- Sunday message verses: 2 Chronicles 7:13-15
- Malachi 3:6-7
- Romans 11:17-18
- 1 Corinthians 6:19
- Psalm 27:5
- Psalm 61:4
- Psalm 91:4-6
NEXT WEEK’S MESSAGE: “How to Pray and Fast” – Matthew 6:15-16