40-Day Prayer Challenge: January 1 – February 9
As we embark on the journey of making Jesus our best friend we will take the first step of spending quality time with Him though prayer. The 40 Days of Prayer Challenge provides a daily reading and prayer as we draw circles around ourselves and pray for revival to occur.
We will be using “Draw the Circle” as our guide through this prayer challenge. You can pick up your copy at the bookstore.
Solemn Assembly Week: January 6-11
What is a Solemn Assembly?
A solemn assembly is a sacred gathering calling God’s people to renew their covenantal relationship with Him and to repent – namely a turning away from sin and a turning back to God. Whenever a solemn assembly or sacred gathering was called in scripture, it was often called by those in leadership – whether that be a priest, prophet or king (Joel 2: Neh. 8-9). Sometimes these leaders worked alone, but often they worked in conjunction with each other. In the new testament period, the concept of the solemn assembly – or sacred gathering – is carried over as well. The church itself was birthed out of multi-day prayer meeting which culminated in what is known as the day of Pentecost, or feast of weeks (Acts 2). Churches are uniquely called and uniquely positioned to impact our society for good (Ephesians 3:10).
Our solemn assembly will consist of six nights of intentional prayer.
Each day, we will fast from food and technology between the hours of 3p and 6a. Each night, a different group will gather to pray.
All prayer assemblies will take place in the Worship Center
Sunday – Leaders
Monday – Men
Tuesday – Women
Wednesday – Everyone
Thursday – Ministries
Friday – Break The Fast With Your Lifegroup*
*Singles will break the fast with their Life Groups during a Break The Fast Event at the Plano Campus.
If you are not yet a part of a lifegroup, please contact Melvin McArthur at 469-854-1280.
There are four primary reasons that we call for a Solemn Assembly at the beginning of each year.
Every Christian must decide that he or she can only serve one master. God makes it clear, we cannot have the world and have Him at the same time (1 John 2:15-17). Practically this means that God’s person, principles, and precepts must be brought to bear on all of our decision, (not just the so-called “religious” ones). He must be Lord of all of life. Each day must begin with a commitment to Him above all else, and He is to be consulted in pray on all matter of life (Luke 9:23).
Heads of households must echo Joshua’s declaration for their own home, “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). The dinner table must again become the central place for reviewing and applying Kingdom principles (Psalm 128:3). Couples must reconnect themselves to their biblical roles and hate divorce and much as God does (Malachi 2:14). There must be a regular review of the progress the family is making at adhering to Godly principles and the family altar must become central to home.
Local churches must recommit themselves to their primary responsibility of making disciples. They can no longer be satisfied with simply expanding their membership. Jesus doesn’t need more fans. He wants more follower. Programs must be evaluated in terms of Christ and not by how many people are entertained by church events. This means that there must be loving accountability incorporated into the life of the church. In addition, there must be a radical return to the authority of scripture and priority of prayer as the foundation of church life (1Timothey 2:8-9) among church leadership. The church must have regular, unified, sacred gatherings to keep the focus on our absolute dependency on God.
The church must begin speaking with one voice so that the nation might see a unified church and not one that is fractured and scattered by differences in how we practice our faith. This MEANS THAT WE CANNOT BE SO ENTRENCHED WITHIN POLITICAL PARTIES THAT WE ARE NOT FREE TO SPEAK TRUTH TO POWER. In addition, we should prove our worth to society by an overwhelming culture with good works (Matthew 5:16). Finally, all attempts to remove God from the marketplace ought to be resisted while we simultaneously bring our public officials before the throne of grace in prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-3).
Matthew 25 Challenge Week: January 14-18
The Matthew 25 Challenge is a week-long discipleship tool designed for us to step out of our comfort zones and engage in Jesus’ love for “the least of these brothers and sisters of mine.”
How the Matthew 25 Challenge Works.
Day 1 Challenge
Day 1 Challenge: Skip Lunch
“For I am hungry and you give me something to eat…” Matthew 25:35
Welcome to your first day! Here’s your challenge: Skip lunch! (Students skip snacks and desserts.)
One of the only meals Ekai’s family has is tea. During your fast, make a pot of tea for your family and watch this video together.
Tonight, as you break your fast, reflect about the experience, either on your own or with others:
- How did you feel today?
- While you were fasting, could you concentrate?
- What was the hardest part of the day?
Pray for kids who don’t have enough to eat, that they’ll get the food they need to be healthy.
Day 2 Challenge
Day 2 Challenge: Only drink water
“I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink…” Matthew 25:35
No morning coffee today — your challenge is to drink only water.
Cheru is only 5 years old, and every day she has to walk 6 kilometers to collect dirty water in her mom’s tea kettle. It’s the biggest container she can carry. Do you have a tea kettle at home? Fill it up with water and see how heavy it is for Cheru to carry every day.
Tonight, reflect on your challenge of drinking only water …
- Did you miss having other beverages to drink? Get a caffeine headache?
- Was the water you drank clean?
- How would your life be different if you only had dirty water to drink?
Pray for everyone to get clean water, and for all to know the living water of Jesus Christ.
Day 3 Challenge
Day 3 Challenge: Sleep on the floor
“I was a stranger and you invited me in…” Matthew 25:35
Today we’ll be learning about one of the world’s most pressing crises – the refugee crisis. Tonight, your challenge is to sleep on the floor.
This is Ali. He’s 13 years old and had to flee his home because of war. Now, he lives in Lebanon with his parents and four siblings.
Watch his story in 360 degrees. (Click and drag the video to see what Ali sees.)
Reflect on the experience of refugees around the world as you lie down on the floor to sleep tonight …
- If you had to flee like Ali, what would you miss most about your home?
- What would you take with you?
- How would it feel to be a stranger in a new place?
Pray for children like Ali who don’t have homes, or are strangers. Pray for all to feel welcome.
Day 4 Challenge
Day 4 Challenge: Wear the same clothes you wore yesterday
“For I am hungry and you give me something to eat…” Matthew 25:35
How’s your back feeling this morning? Today’s challenge might make you even more uncomfortable – wear the same clothes you wore yesterday.
This is Choolwe (on the right, holding the baby) and her family in Zambia. They don’t have a lot to wear. In fact, Choolwe can only wash her family’s clothes about twice a month — because it’s a 2-hour roundtrip to collect water. If you’re feeling awkward and uncomfortable today, think about the simple luxury of having plenty of clothes and the means to wash them, and pray for those who lack those options.
Tonight, reflect on your challenge …
- Did you feel uncomfortable wearing your clothes twice?
- Did anyone comment about it? What was that like?
- How much clothing is in your closet? What if you could only do the wash 1-2x/month?
Pray for children who don’t have all the basics they need, like clothing. Pray for them to stay warm and protected.
Day 5 Challenge
Day 5 Challenge: Write and encouraging note to someone going through a difficult time
“I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…” Matthew 25:35
This might be a tough one. Your challenge for today is to write an encouraging note to someone who is going through a difficult time. Who are you going to reach out to?
Meet Latha. She was forced to quit school to work when she was young because of her family’s situation:
Tonight, reflect on your challenge to reach out to someone:
- Do you know people who are going through particularly tough times?
- How did it feel to be there for them today?
- How have people been there for you when you have been sick or struggling?
Pray for children who are sick or imprisoned. Pray for them to know the love of Christ.
Daniel Fast: January 13 - February 2
The Daniel Fast is based upon the prophet Daniel’s experiences as recorded in the Bible. Scripture gives us some insight (such as in Dan. 10:3) into what he ate and didn’t eat; however, we don’t know his complete menu. What we do know is this: In Daniel 1, Daniel chose not to eat the royal food that he was being served and ate only vegetables and drank water. Another time (in Daniel 10:2-3) he deprived himself of choice food, meat, and wine as he sought the Lord in prayer. Most commentaries believe “choice food” would have been bread and sweets.
This is why, I believe, you will find some variation in the specific guidelines for the modern-day Daniel Fast, as far as what foods are included and which ones are restricted. The food guidelines on this page are the ones most commonly observed in a Daniel Fast. The intention of today’s Daniel Fast is not to duplicate exactly what Daniel did but the spirit in which he did it. Daniel’s passion for the Lord caused him to hunger and thirst more for spiritual food than for physical food, which should be the desire of anyone choosing to participate in this type of fast.
Try not to get too hung up on what you should and shouldn’t eat. The most important part of the Daniel Fast is that you deny yourself physically so that you may seek the Lord in prayer and grow closer to Him. Your fast may look a little different than someone else’s, and that’s fine. Some people may need to be stricter than others in their food choices so that their fast is a sacrifice for them. These food guidelines are meant to be just that – a guide. They are given to help you create boundaries for your fast.
The Daniel Fast Food List
- All fruit – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
- All vegetables – fresh, frozen, dried, juiced, or canned.
- All whole grains – amaranth, barley, brown rice, oats, quinoa, millet, and whole wheat.
- All nuts & seeds – almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and sunflower seeds; unsweetened almond milk. Nut butters are also included.
- All legumes – canned or dried; black beans, black eyed peas, cannellini beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), great northern beans, kidney beans, lentils, pinto beans, and split peas.
- All quality oils – avocado, coconut, grapeseed, olive, peanut, sesame, and walnut.
- Beverages – distilled water, filtered water, and spring water.
- Other – unsweetened almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, or soy milk; herbs, spices, salt, pepper, unsweetened coconut flakes, seasonings, Bragg’s Liquid Aminos, soy products, and tofu.
Foods to Avoid on the Daniel Fast
- All meat & animal products – bacon, beef, buffalo, eggs, fish, lamb, poultry, and pork.
- All dairy products – butter, cheese, cream, milk, and yogurt.
- All sweeteners – agave nectar, artificial sweeteners, brown rice syrup, cane juice, honey, molasses, raw sugar, syrups, stevia, and sugar.
- All leavened bread & yeast – baked goods and Ezekiel bread (if it contains yeast and honey).
- All refined & processed food products – artificial flavorings, chemicals, food additives, preservatives, white flour, and white rice.
- All deep-fried foods – corn chips, French fries, and potato chips.
- All solid fats – lard, margarine, and shortening.
- Beverages – alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, energy drinks, herbal tea, and tea.
Daniel Fast Food Ideas
As we begin our pursuit of wholesome foods and wholesome words, we’d like to share a Daniel Plan-friendly breakfast recipe. More recipe ideas can be found at our website at visitonecc.com. Apple and Oat Porridge Ingredients: 4 cups water 1 ½ cups oat bran (not...
As we enter the final week of our Daniel Fast, try some of these yummy snack options! Check out visitonecc.com for a full listing of recipe ideas. SNACK OPTIONS • Rice cakes • Rice cakes with peanut butter and raisins • Almonds • Dried fruit including apricots •...
As we enter week 2 of our Daniel Fast, check out a featured recipe idea that would be great for lunch or dinner. More recipes can be found at our website at visitonecc.com. Spinach Zucchini Casserole Ingredients: Sauce – 2 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes or 5-6 large...
As we begin our pursuit of wholesome foods and wholesome words, we'd like to share a Daniel Fast-friendly breakfast recipe. Tropical Fruit Salad Ingredients: 2 cups sliced strawberries 3 kiwifruit, peeled and quartered 1 1/2 cups orange segments, cut into 1-inch...
We are in the final week of our Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Words fast. In light of the fast, we would like to share a couple Daniel Fast friendly recipes. Enjoy! BREAKFAST Apple and Oat Porridge Ingredients: 4 cups water 1 ½ cups oat bran (not oatmeal) 1 large...
It's the second week of our Wholesome Foods and Wholesome Words fast and in light of the fast, we would like to share a couple of Daniel Fast friendly recipes: one breakfast and one lunch/dinner. BREAKFAST Brown Rice and Apple Breakfast Ingredients: 1 cup cooked brown...
Because of the Daniel Fast, this week we would like to share a couple of recipes with you to assist you with your fasting. Here is one breakfast and one lunch recipe. BREAKFAST Tofu Breakfast Scramble Ingredients: 1 box firm tofu 1 zucchini, diced small 1 tomato,...