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40 Day Prayer Challenge

40 Day Prayer Challenge – Book and Study Guide
by SQuire Rushnell & Louise DuArt

Excerpt from Book

INTRODUCTION

DEFINITION

Partnered Prayer [pärtnər’d • prer] noun

  1. The action of two people—married or non-married couples; two family members; or two friends—who have agreed to pray together in partnership.

THE 40 DAY PRAYER CHALLENGE

This book is designed to guide you and a partner through The 40 Day Prayer Challenge™ to develop your daily habit of speaking together with God. In so doing, you are unwrapping a special gift that has been awaiting you in these ancient words: “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”[1]

The premise is this: if you and your spouse, family member, or friend are willing to commit to as little as five minutes a day, speaking with God about issues of concern to you, and praising Him for blessings you’ve experienced since yesterday—much the same as two people would gather with a granddad over a cup of tea and a biscuit for a daily chat—the joy in your life will expand immeasurably.

Our beta-study evidence impressively demonstrates that when two people are willing to spend five minutes a day—as much time as you spend combing your hair and brushing your teeth—coming before the very Creator who has given you life on earth, speaking of concerns and matters from the heart, believing God will not let you down, and expecting the outcome you have asked for, your lives will change for the better forever. Your prayer, particularly when you speak it together with a partner, will lift the veil between here and Heaven, and draw not only God’s attention, but His delight.

In my distress . . . I prayed to my God for help.

He heard me from his sanctuary;

my cry . . . reached his ears.

—Psalms 18:6, NLT

RARE RESEARCH ON PRAYER

In our earlier book, Couples Who Pray, we introduced Gallup data that was evaluated by Baylor University’s prestigious Institute for Studies of Religion. The rudimentary research provided evidence of surprising levels of improvement when two people went from “praying sometimes” to “praying a lot.”

Keeping in mind that most mates never pray together, you will see why George Gallup considered this cursory data astonishing.

  • Happiness elevated by 18 percent;
  • Agreement on the raising children, was up by 11 percent;
  • Agreement on financial matters increased 11 percent;
  • Compromise rose 22 percent;
  • Communication went up 11 percent;
  • Respect was higher by 19 percent;
  • Feelings of delight rocketed to 30 percent;
  • Lovemaking soared by 20 percent;
  • Marital stability became 16 percent greater;
  • The fear of divorce plummeted to zero.

In concert with this book—and hopefully with you and your prayer partner—Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion will evaluate the data from a new study—the first empirical study of its kind—which measures the outcome of two people praying together, for at least 5 minutes a day, for 40 days.

The data will be gathered digitally on smart phones, tablets, and computers in a ten-minute survey that you and your partner will take on your first and fortieth days of praying together. Your private information will be unseen by anyone except social scientists at Baylor.

At the end of your 40 days you’ll have a report card in the form of bar graphs on how well you have done in many of the same measurements that were indicated in the Gallup study above.

Are you willing to open your gift and take this wondrous journey with us? Are you prepared to wake up every day excited and energized to see what the God of heaven and earth has in store for you?

Get ready. It’s more than you could imagine.

Chapter 1
HOW PARTNERED PRAYER WORKS

SPEAK IT! BELIEVE IT! EXPECT IT!

Everything that exists comes from God speaking it into existence.

He spoke, “Let there be light” . . . and there was.

He spoke, “Let us make mankind” . . . and He did.[2]

God began everything with the awesome power of the spoken word, and He beckons you to emulate him through a magnificent gift that is delivered through your lips and the passion in your heart. His promise is in the Bible: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive.”[3]

Let’s look at the key words to opening your gift: first, to ask in prayer—through the power of the spoken word; second to believe that God is who He says He is and can do what He says He can do; and third, to expect to receive “whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer.”

How do you assure that your prayer reaches God’s attention?

You speak it!

When you learn to speak it, you hurtle every prayer through time and space directly to the ears of God. Like an arrow placed in the archer’s bow, when you speak it, your prayer gains trajectory and velocity to the Almighty. And when you engage with a partner to pull back on the bow string—to speak it together—the words of your prayer can move heaven and earth!

The tongue has the power of life and death.

—Proverbs 18:21

THE MIRACLES OF CHRIST WERE SPOKEN INTO BEING

When Jesus looked at the two blind men and said, “Do you believe I can do this?” they replied, “Yes, Lord.”

Jesus then spoke these words: “According to your faith, let it be done.” And the blind men were healed.[4]

When a great storm alarmed the disciples in the boat, Jesus said, “Why are you afraid, you men of little faith?”[5] Then He rebuked the winds and the sea . . . He spoke to them . . . and they became perfectly calm.

When Jesus came upon two violent, demon-possessed men, he spoke to them, saying, “Go!”[6] The demons came out, went into the swine, and perished in the sea.

Christ spoke miracles into being.

THE THREE KEYS TO YOUR PRAYERS BEING ANSWERED

The first two keys to unlocking God’s promise to you are: speaking prayer fervently and believing that God hears your every request. But the third key is equally essential: expecting your prayer will be answered, sometimes, before you have even finished speaking, or, before your request has come into existence.

The Ancient Scriptures of Isaiah, affirm “before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.”[7]

In Romans we are assured that God “calls into existence things that don’t yet exist.”[8]

Christ confirmed those promises: “whoever . . . does not doubt in his heart, but believes what God says is going to happen, it will be granted him.”[9]

Therefore, how does effective prayer work? Speak it. Believe it. Expect it!

Jesus reiterates: “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”[10]

THE MIRACLES OF TODAY ARE SPOKEN INTO BEING

In this book you will see how speaking words of prayer, in faith, will plug you into the greatest power strip in the universe.

You will read how a mother spoke life over the body of her fourteen-year-old son, dead for nearly an hour, with the words, “Holy Spirit give me back my son,” and suddenly a doctor shouted, “We’ve got a pulse!”

How an unseen voice spoken to a mother in Vermont, commanding her to stand during her pastor’s sermon and boldly speak out to ask for immediate prayer for her son, a soldier in Iraq, and for her to later learn that her son was supernaturally dodging a deadly bullet at that very moment.

How a woman forcefully spoke scripture to a man who was holding her at gunpoint. He suddenly turned around, walked away, and subsequently said his getting caught was a “God thing”.

How a child’s daily prayers to have a pet bird, spoken in earnest, and with faith, were answered by a stranger, out of the blue.

How a dilapidated church of twenty people, about to close its doors, spoke out together in fervent prayer and, soon thereafter, crowds came through the doors, growing it into one of the largest, most prestigious churches in America.

Story after story will confirm that when you speak a prayer to God in faith—especially when you speak it together with a partner—you can tap into a limitless reservoir of spiritual promises.

You will be astonished by evidence of how the supernatural comes into the natural, overcoming your most insurmountable obstacles, as it did with a Florida cardiologist who had just pronounced a man dead of a heart attack, heard a voice from God telling him to go back and speak specific words of prayer over the man.

A DOCTOR’S EVIDENCE THAT PRAYER WORKS

“I prayed for the dead man and today he’s alive.”

There was stunned silence throughout the medical conference as Dr. Chauncey Crandall, the noted cardiologist, unveiled compelling evidence that he had prayed for a patient who had just died and, as the man was being prepped for the morgue, he came back to life.

The renowned Florida cardiologist was speaking to one hundred twenty physicians, representing fifty countries.

“The fifty-three-year-old man had a massive heart attack. The medical team worked on him for over forty minutes . . . then declared him dead,” said Dr. Crandall.[11] Having been called in to evaluate the patient toward the end, Dr. Crandall confirmed the man was dead. The doctor turned and started to leave.

Then, something odd happened.

“The Holy Spirit told me to ‘turn around and to pray for that man.’”

Dr. Crandall walked back to the side of the bed, noting that the man’s face, feet, and arms were completely black with death. Aloud, he prayed, “Lord, Father, how am I going to pray for this man? He’s dead. What can I do?”

Then, as if by supernatural means, words moved through the doctor’s lips: “I cry out for the soul of this man if he does not know you as his Lord and Savior, raise him from the dead now, in Jesus’ name.”

Dr. Crandall told the spellbound audience at the conference that all of sudden a heartbeat showed up on the monitor. It was a perfect, normal beat, then the man’s fingers and toes started to move and he began mumbling words!

The nurse was startled. “Doctor Crandall, what have you done to this patient?”

The doctor calmed the nurse, then rushed the patient to intensive care, where, he says, “after a couple of days, he had an amazing story to tell.”

The man told how he was in a dark place. There was no light. He felt as though he’d been thrown in the trash, worthless.

Dr. Crandall said he looked into the eyes of the man, explained the salvation message, and prayed with him. The man held out his hand and accepted Christ as his savior, as tears rolled from his eyes.

The doctor added tenderly, “You will never be thrown into the trash, into total darkness … the light of the kingdom of Heaven is on you now.”

Later, it was learned that the man had been estranged from his family for twenty years, yet they had never stopped praying for him. Even his ex-wife prayed for her ex-husband to come to know the Lord.

Everyone involved—the man, Dr. Crandall, the nurse, and most of the conference attendees will all attest: Prayer works!

The Spirit helps us in our weakness.

We do not know what we ought to pray for,

but the Spirit himself intercedes . . .

with the will of God.

—Romans 8:26

[1] Matthew 21:2, NIV.

[2] Gen. 1:26, NIV.

[3] Matthew 21:22, AKJV.

[4] Matthew 9:27-31, NIV.

[5]   Matthew 8:26, NASB.

[6]   Matthew 8:32, NASB.

[7] Isaiah 65:24, KJV.

[8] Romans 4:17, ISV.

[9] Mark 11:23, NASB.

[10] Mark 11:24, NIV.

[11] Dan Wooding, “Famed Heart Doctor Tells How a Patient Was Raised From the Dead After Prayer,” Assist News Service, July 15, 2007, www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07070094.htm, accessed September 1, 2014.


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