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Arbor Church
Week of Prayer

Now Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he finished, one of his disciples said to him, 

“Lord, teach us to pray”

— Luke 11:1 —

 

As we prepare for the beginning of a new season, a new school year and a new pace of life, we create space to intentionally turn our hearts to God together.  Recognizing our deep need to connect with God, we purposefully pause, sift out the noise of our lives, and make room for His Voice.  Join us this week as take time to praise, repent, ask, and yield (P-R-A-Y) through the prayer Jesus taught his disciples.  

Day One: PRAISE

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

To praise God is to accurately and enthusiastically acknowledge Him.  The word praise connects celebration and singing with honor and exaltation.  I once heard that true worship and praise does not contain any personal pronouns.  When we praise God we celebrate the Truth of who He is and what He has done regardless of my experience of Him. 

 

Today we sit in the opening line of how Jesus taught us to pray:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” - Matthew 6:9

 

Our Father in heaven — This is an intimate and relational phrase that speaks of one who imparts life and is committed to it.  

 

Hallowed be your name — This is a reverent phrase, acknowledging the sacred nature of God.  Hallowed means holy, set apart, sacred, and pure.  In Biblical times, one’s name was more than an identifier.  It was the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character, distinguishing them from all others.  

 

Grab a journal or piece of paper and a pen.  

Take a moment to sit in wonder of the intimacy, holiness, and good purposes of God as you slowly repeat Matthew 6:9&10.

 

Finish this phrase, “God you are ____________” by writing out everything that comes to your mind and heart, being mindful not to include personal pronouns. For example, instead of “God you are good to me”, simply recognize “God you are good”.

 

Continue in praise as you turn your attention to the things God has done, especially the things He has done for our church family.  Write out everything that comes to your mind and heart as you celebrate the goodness of God.  

 

End with this prayer of praise from Psalm 117

“Praise the Lord, all  you nations! Praise him, all you people of the earth. For his unfailing love for us is powerful; the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.  Praise the Lord!”  Amen. 

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of praise today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice. 

 

— Set an alarm for every hour and whenever it goes off pause to praise God for something specific in that moment.

 

— Put up a praise wall using a large piece of paper and painters tape or using sticky notes.  Before each meal (and snack) take 2-3 minutes to fill the wall with “God you are ____” statements.  At the end of the day, read each word and follow it with “Thank you God”.  

 

— Have a praise party!  Put on some worship music, turn it up loud, then sing and dance like nobody is watching!  Have fun as you celebrate the goodness of God in song.  


 

Day Two: REPENT

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

The word repent literally means to turn around.  When we repent, we confess specific sins we have committed and turn away from doing them again.  This is an important practice which God has given us for our good.   

 

1 John 1:8-9 reminds us, “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 

 

When we practice repentance, we bring our sin into the light where it ultimately loses its power by the transformative grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

 

Today we humbly enter the Presence of God as we pray, “forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

 

Take a moment to be still before God.  Imagine that you are in the presence of Jesus.  Where are you and Jesus at? What are you doing? 

 

Hanging on to that image, ask Jesus to search your heart and bring to light any unconfessed debt or sins.  Verbally confess each one to Jesus and ask for His forgiveness by simply praying: “Jesus, I confess my debt of _______________. Please forgive me and cleanse me.”

 

Take time to soak in the reality of His grace and forgiveness for you.

 

Then, ask Jesus to search your heart and bring to light anyone who has hurt you or sinned against you whom you have not yet forgiven.  Ask Jesus for the strength to truly forgive them by simply praying: “Jesus, I acknowledge the hurt caused by ________________ .  I want to release this to you Jesus.  Please give me the strength and grace to forgive them just as you have forgiven me.”

 

End with this prayer from Psalm 51:1-4,7,10-12 (NLT)

“Have mercy on me, O God, because of your unfailing love.  Because of your great compassion, blot out the stain of my sins.  Wash me clean from my guilt.  Purify me from my sin. For I recognize my rebellion; it haunts me day and night. Against you, and you alone, have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your sight. 

 

Purify me from my sins and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  

 

Create in me a clean heart, O God.  Renew a loyal spirit within me.  Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.”

 

Amen.

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of forgiveness today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice.

 

  • Write out your sin(s) on a piece of paper.  Each person should have their own and can write in code or draw pictures if they want.  Pray a prayer of confession, asking Jesus for His forgiveness.  Take a red marker and make a giant cross over the sin as a reminder that when we confess our sin Jesus is faithful to forgive us.  Finally, shred, rip, or burn up the paper as a reminder that when we are forgiven the power of sin is broken and gone.

 

  • Write a letter, send a text, or make a call asking for forgiveness from someone you have hurt or sinned against.  Confess your mistake or wrong-doing, claim the truth about who you want to be in Christ, ask for their forgiveness and what you can do to help repair the relationship.     

 

  • Pour some salt onto a plate to represent how we are pure and clean before we sin. Sprinkle a little pepper on top of the salt to represent the wrong choices we make.  Now take a plastic spoon and rub it in a circular motion on a towel. Move the spoon slowly above the salt and pepper.  The pepper will stick to the spoon!  Like the spoon taking away the pepper, we are reminded that repenting makes us clean from the wrong choices we make - big or small. 



 

Day Three: ASK for our community

“Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

First acknowledging the truth of who God is and what He has done, then acknowledging our own sin and need for repentance; today we turn our hearts toward God and ask, “your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” 

 

Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven — This is a phrase of surrender and longing for the rule, purposes, and desires of God.  It acknowledges the greatness and goodness of His authority over all else. 

 

As we approach a new school year, we pause to lift up our community to God, especially our schools, teachers, and students.  Take a moment to slowly read through Matthew 6:10 in various translations and paraphrases.

 

“May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.” (NLT)

 

“Set the world right; Do what’s best - as above, so below.” (The Message)

 

“Come and set up your kingdom, so that everyone on earth will obey you, as you are obeyed in heaven.” (CEV)

 

“Manifest your kingdom realm, and cause your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth, just as it is in heaven.” (TPT)

 

Ask Jesus what he longs to do in our private, public, university and homeschool communities.  As you hear His heart, pray in agreement with Him.  

 

Take a moment to specifically pray over our own Cherub’s Preschool - speak God’s Truth over the director, Lisa Shaw - the teachers - the preschoolers and their families. 

 

Think of a student you know in each stage - preschool, kindergarten, elementary, middle school, high school, and college - write out their name and pray the promises of God over them for this school year.  

 

Think of the teachers, homeschooling parents, and University professors you know and pray for them by name.  Ask Jesus to cause His every purpose to be fulfilled in their life as they teach these Precious Ones. 

 

End with this prayer from Psalm 121: 

“I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?  My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.  He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade on your right hand.  The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.  The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”  Amen.

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of asking for our community today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice.

 

  • Take a prayer walk around your community school.

 

  • Write out prayers for the teachers or students God brought to your mind.

 

  • Take a prayer walk around the buildings at Spring Arbor University, pausing to pray for students and professors.

 

  • Write out specific promises of God on colorful paper and place them around your home especially in the area you do your school work. 



 

Day Four:  ASK for our church

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

The church is not a building or a service.  The church is the people of God being built up together in perfect unity.  The Apostle Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that the church consists of many people with various gifts and roles.  Each member has a place and their engagement is vital for the church to be what God intended her to be.  The mission and work of the church does not solely belong to a pastor, staff members, or a Board of Ministry.  While we believe God has appointed people as a gift to help lead and guide the church family, the mission belongs to every single member and is only accomplished together. 

 

Today we continue asking for God’s kingdom to come and will to be done on earth as it is in heaven as we turn our attention to our church family and our church leadership.  

 

Remember that when we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”, we surrender our ideals, structures, and desires for the greater purposes of God.  When we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done”, we acknowledge that God’s ways are greater than ours.  

 

Take a moment to first thank God for His goodness in creating, caring for, and empowering the church.  

 

Read Ephesians 3:16-19 and let the passage guide you as you pray over The Arbor Church family.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

 

Look over the list of The Arbor Church staff and Board of Ministry and pray specifically for these leaders as the Spirit leads you.

Kaye Kolde

Kelly McGraw

John Maguire

Carlos Rivera

Liz Dusseau

Joy Siegel

Janae Burchett

Angel Williams

Nathan Cole

Audrey Bobb

Ryan Holbrook

Paige Anderson

Miriam Quillen

Stan Garn 

Abi Upleger

Deb Varland

David Kohns

Misty Jones

Alyssa Stacks

Christy Cottingham

Lisa Shaw

Bobby Ganton 

Bonnie Philson

Joel Miller

Danny Lacy

Faith Holton 

Carolyn Teachout

Steve Rick 

Kathy Cole

Chad Cole

 

Take a moment to pray for our future lead pastor.  Pray for wisdom and guidance for Superintendent Bruce Rhodes and all others involved in the hiring process.  

 

End with this prayer from Psalm 67:1&2

“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations.” Amen.

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of asking for our church today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice.

 

  • Bake a special treat or make a special craft for The Arbor Church leadership.  As you do each step of the baking/crafting process, say a prayer over the staff and when you drop off your treat/craft make sure they know they were prayed for as you made it.

 

  • Call the church office (517 750-2400) to coordinate a time to come pray in the prayer room or the empty sanctuary.  Pray over seats and ask the Holy Spirit to fill The Arbor Church family. 

 

  • Write out prayers or draw a special picture for at least 3 of the names on the above list as an encouragement to them.  

 

  • Sit somewhere different in the service and pray for the people around you.  After service, make a point to introduce yourself to someone new.  


 

Day Five: YIELD 

One definition of yield is to surrender or submit oneself to another.  When we yield to God, we intentionally take time to be quiet and listen to what He might want to say to us. The Holy Spirit was sent to be our guide; to teach us and remind us of what Jesus has said (John 14:26).   When we regularly take time to listen, we will hear the Holy Spirit’s guidance leading us to Truth.  

 

This week we have spent time in the prayer Jesus taught His disciples.  Now as we meditate on it once more, we take time to listen.

 

Get a paper and pen ready as you prepare your heart to hear from Jesus.

 

Ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide - to open your ears and heart to what He wants to say.

 

Read the passage slowly and prayerfully, highlighting any words or phrases that stick out to you.  Don’t force it; just pay attention to anything that stands out or resonates. 

 

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

Read through the passage a second time, this time as you read, ask what God might be trying to show you through what stands out. What is God saying to you in these words? What do you want to say to God? What feelings do these words raise up in you? Share your answers with God.

 

Read through the passage a final time with a heart ready to respond.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what He wants you to take from this passage.  What action is God inviting you to take?

Then simply rest and be still in the Presence of Jesus. 

 

End with this prayer from Psalm 143:8

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.” Amen

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of yielding today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice.

 

  • Take a walk outside pausing from time to time to be quiet and listen.  Name all the things you can hear when you stop that you couldn’t hear (or didn’t notice) when you weren’t listening for it.  As you finish your walk, think about/talk about the importance of stopping to listen for God’s voice.

 

  • Find a worship song about listening to God (for example: I’m Listening by Chris McClarney, Word of God Speak by MercyMe, Your Words by Third Day, and Open Our Eyes by Maranatha! Music and various artists) and play it on repeat until you are able to sing along with it.  

 

  • Practice this listening prayer for kids from littleshootsdeeproots.com. Have your child ask these questions (below) of God, either by repeating after you, or reading them with you. Then, encourage them to be quiet. Yes, this is hard! After, have your child listen for the answer and report back to you. If they haven’t heard anything, encourage them to ask God to quiet their minds and help them to listen. 

1. God, what should I say “WOW” about?

2. What should I should say “sorry” for? Please forgive me.

3. What should I say “thank you” for? 

4. God, who needs your help today? What should I say?


 

Day Six: YIELD 

Pray then like this: “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Matthew 6:9-13 ESV

 

Pastor Joshua Branham describes yielding prayer as relinquishing control and letting God have His way in your life. Branham says, “Submitting to God’s will is the essence of faith. We must be willing to trust God’s way, even if it’s not the way we desire to go.” This is a clenched fist slowly opening, a sunflower turning upward to face the sun, a child learning how to float without a lifejacket.  We yield our lives to God because we trust in His love, goodness, and authority over all things.  

 

Today we yield our lives in prayer as we mediate on the simple phrase, “Give us this day our daily bread,”. Figuratively this phrase speaks of divine provision.  In the Greek, this phrase can be translated as “give us this day our continual bread”.  Jesus is teaching us to acknowledge God as our Provider of all we need each day. The word “give” reminds us of the open-handed posture of surrender and trust.  It is simultaneously an act of relinquishing and receiving. 

 

Take a moment to be quiet before God as you repeat the prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread”.  

 

Clench your fists in front of you and as you look at them, ask the Holy Spirit to show you something you have not yet yielded to Him. 

 

Acknowledge your clenched fist posture over what He reveals and if needed, ask the Holy Spirit to help you see the root of that posture. Why do you feel the need to hold tightly to it? What are you afraid of or unwilling to do? What lie might you be believing? 

 

When you’re ready, slowly open your hand as an act of surrender to God as you simply pray: God, I yield this to you.  You are my Provider and I trust You. 

 

Now, looking at your open hands, ask the Holy Spirit to show you what God wants to give you. Take some time to write down what the Holy Spirit has said to you in this time.

 

End with this prayer from Psalm 145:13b-20a

“The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.

 

The Lord is righteous in all his ways and faithful in all he does. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.

The Lord watches over all who love him”   Amen. 

 

Practicing Together

Here are some ideas for continuing the practice of yielding today. If you have children at home, we encourage you to include them in the practice.

 

  • Before each meal, pray the Infinitum prayer of surrender by opening up your hands and saying, “I choose to open my hands as a symbol of surrender.  My life is not about me.  I surrender to your Lordship. I surrender my preferences, prejudices, and position to you. My fears, finances, friends, and family to you. Amen.” 

 

  • On a piece of paper, write down all the things you are tempted to worry about.  Look at each worry and ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of a promise God gives to defeat that worry.  Using note cards, write the promise out in a few words and tape it over the worry as a reminder that God will provide everything you need.

 

  • Take an erasable marker and write this question on your mirrors: What do you need from Jesus today? Then every time you look in the mirror, pause to ask Jesus for what you need in that moment and remember that He is good and faithful to provide for you.

 

 

Day Seven: AMEN

The word “amen” means “so be it”.  It is a combination of “firm,” or “fixed” and the related Hebrew verb which means “to be reliable” and “to be trusted.”  When we say amen, we declare our firm belief in the reliability and trustworthy nature of God.  We align our heart to be in agreement with His.

 

Today, we simply pause to align our hearts in the amen of centering prayer. 

 

Centering prayer is a simple practice of silent prayer which focuses us on the Indwelling Presence of God.  It’s a non-striving prayer that helps you rest in God.  

 

Choose a calming word (examples: “Jesus”, “peaceful”) or a Name for God that draws you in and a quiet place. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes and patiently walk through the following steps created by Mary Albert Darling.

 

Step 1: Pray for protection: “I claim the powerful blood of Jesus Christ to shield and protect me as I yield to the One True God I the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.”

 

Step 2: Come into God’s loving Presence. Saying “be still” as you breathe slowly and evenly.  Close your eyes to help focus you on Jesus’ loving presence in and around you.

 

Step 3: Become quiet and peaceful.  Say your word silently from time to time.  Do not get down on yourself if you get distracted; instead, just say you word when and if distractions come. Stay in this place of silence and centering until the time ends.

 

Step 4: End with the prayer Jesus taught us

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” (Matthew 6:9-13 ESV)

 

Amen. 

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