Pastor Pete Byma of Sonlight Christian Reformed Church of Lynden, Wash., desired that his congregation would grow into a house of prayer for 40 days. Beginning January 15, members ranging from young children to seniors started a 40-day period of fasting and prayer in order to seek God’s will in all areas of ministry.
“I had no other motive than to draw the church closer to Jesus and emphasize the importance of prayer in all aspects of our lives,” Byma said. “If it directs us missionally, that is simply more of the goodness, graciousness, and generosity of God.”
Approximately 25 people were involved in corporate prayer groups that met in the evenings as part of the 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting. Each day, church members took turns engaging in a full fast. “In a culture of food and gratification, fasting is a strange thing. The hope and the encouragement was to reflect and pray when the temptation to indulge comes,” explained Byma. Some church members participated in a partial fast.
Participants received a prayer guide for each day including Scripture readings, reflection questions, and prayer focuses such as confession, listening, family, and the nation.
Pam Dyck, a member of Sonlight CRC, said, “The Lord has taken me on quite a journey through [the prayer guide]—times of great reflection, great rejoicing, lots of contemplation, food for thought, sometimes tears, gaining perspective. I have written many prayers to God in the process and have grown closer to him in new ways.”
Church members were also encouraged to post “faith reflections” in the church foyer. The majority of the faith reflections were written by children of the congregation.
Throughout the process, church members talked about prayer being an essential element to become a missional church.