Throughout 2020, you have the opportunity to journey through five, forty-day seasons, focusing on our five-fold commitments as United Methodists: Prayers, Presence, Gifts, Service, and Witness. The purpose of these forty-day seasons is for all of us to gain understanding, experience new things, grow deeper in our discipleship, and to become closer to Christ.
“Forty” is used throughout Scripture, representing a significant period God was at work. In the days of Noah and the flood, it rained for forty days and nights, as God cleansed the earth, preparing it for new birth. Israelites wandered in the wilderness for forty years, transitioning from slavery to becoming God’s covenant people. Jesus fasted and prayed in the wilderness for forty days, enduring temptation, as he prepared for public ministry.
On Sunday, January 12, 2020, we begin our first forty-day journey, focusing on prayer. Our theme is “Thresholds,” comparing prayer to the ways we enter new spaces and places when we cross thresholds.In fact, let’s offer that as your first new prayer practice. Each time you cross a door threshold, for the next forty days, say a quick prayer for whatever awaits you on the other side – a person, a meeting, an opportunity, etc.
In the link to the Prayer Journal below, you’ll find a daily devotional, pages for notes during the six “Threshold” sermons, and a list of suggested activities for going deeper. You may only choose to attend the services, as you usually do. Or, you may want to dive in more deeply, doing the daily devotions and a few of the activities. That’s up to you. The point is to grow in your prayer life, and we hope this helps!
Looking ahead, upcoming forty-day seasons will include:
- Lent, Being a Cross-Shaped Community: Forty Days of Presence
- Beginning Sunday, May 17, Forty Days to Financial Freedom
- During the Summer, Summer of Service
- In the Fall, Faith & _____: Forty Days of Witness
Each of these forty-day seasons will be both similar and different, including messages in worship and a variety of other activities. I hope that they will bless you, and all of First Church, as we journey through this year together.
With Much Love,