As we embark on our 10 Days of Prayer and Fasting we launch into a time of waiting on God for his encouragement, empowerment and enabling. We take our 10 Days from the day of the ascension of Jesus until the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon his disciples. During this time there will be opportunities for corporate prayer and an encouragement for us to give a focus to prayer in our private lives (a full programme for our 10 Days can be found here). As we give ourselves for this purpose, I know that God will meet with us and that this will be an important season for us as a church. However, I believe that we should consider how we should approach God, what is our priority in prayer, and what do we trust that God will do for us as we pray. I know that God will do far more than we can imagine through our prayers, but here are some thoughts that might help us as we join together in prayer before our Lord.
A people purified and prepared
John the Baptist was the herald that proclaimed the coming of Jesus. His purpose was to not only to prepare the way for the coming King but to prepare a people for a Messiah.
“…to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” Luke 1:17
We know that we can come to Jesus “just as we are” because of his great grace. However, as we gather together to pray corporately I want to encourage us to come prepared. John preached a message of repentance, proclaimed the fulfilment of the promises of God through the coming Messiah, and looked forward to new age of the Holy Spirit. Let us purify ourselves through repentance, come with prayers full of faith expecting God to answer and fulfil his word among us, and believe for even greater things to come. A people prepared to enter into his wonderful presence.
A people passionately pursuing the presence
When Jesus ascended he instructed his disciples to wait until the Holy Spirit came upon them. They responded by meeting together in prayer. I wonder what those prayer meetings would have been like. I do not expect that they were waiting in silence! I believe that they were pursuing God to fulfil his word and send the Holy Spirit, his very presence. We are set apart from the world as the temple of the one true God, full of his wonderful presence so that we will display his glory. If we are carriers of the presence of God the world will truly see the glory of God in His Church, and, in the words of Isaiah, we will no longer be called Deserted, but we will be a crown of splendour in the Lord’s hand. Over these 10 Days of prayer let us passionately pursue the presence of God amongst us, for he has promised to fill his Church so that we might fulfil the purpose of our calling.
A people of purpose
When the first disciples first received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost things completely changed. Instead of meeting together in private, they started to preach in public. They had been waiting, now they had a work to do. From a place of prayer came a sense of purpose.
When Isaiah entered into the Holy Place and worshipped, he was commissioned to go. When the disciples saw the risen Lord, they worshipped him, then they were commissioned to go. Let us believe that as we pray, worship, and wait upon God over these 10 Days, he will direct us, commission us, give us clarity of purpose, and send us out on his Mission.
As we go through these 10 Days, let us be a people who are purified and prepared, passionate for his presence, and full of purpose for His glory!
 Jesus rose from the dead on the Feast of First Fruits. Pentecost was seven weeks later. That’s why it’s sometimes called the Feast of Weeks. The actual dates of both were established by counting from the first Sabbath after Passover. First Fruits was the first day after the Sabbath and Pentecost was the 50th day. In Acts 1:3 says that Jesus ascended into Heaven 40 days after His resurrection. Therefore in this 10 days we mark the end of the Lord’s personal ministry on earth with his ascension and the beginning of the church with the arrival of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost.
 Luke 3:4
 Mark 1:4
 Luke 2:76-79
 Matthew 3:11
 Isaiah 1:15-16
 Acts 1:4
 Acts 1:14
 1 Corinthians 3:16
 Isaiah 62:3-4
 Acts 2
 Isaiah 6
 Matthew 28:16-20