Forty is a significant number in the Bible, and there are many instances of something happening for 40 days or 40 years. To name a few things that lasted for 40 days — during the time of Noah, it rained for 40 days and nights (Genesis 7:12); Moses met with God on the mountain for 40 days twice, first to obtain instructions for building the tabernacle and then to receive the 10 commandments (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28); the spies explored the land of Canaan for 40 days (Numbers 13:25); Goliath taunted the Israelites for 40 days until David put an end to him (1 Samuel 17:16); one meal gave Elijah enough strength to sustain him for 40 days (1 Kings 19:8); the city of Nineveh was given 40 days to repent (Jonah 3:4); Jesus fasted and was tempted by the devil for 40 days (Luke 4:2); after Jesus’ resurrection, He appeared on earth for a period of 40 days before ascending into heaven (Acts 1:3).
Since 40 seems to be such an important number, out of curiosity I counted back 40 days from the end of the year. Remarkably, there are 40 days to the end of the year from this Friday, Nov. 22 until Dec. 31. I felt inspired to come up with a prayer list of 40 topics that are specific to Arizona, starting with the 26 letters of the alphabet and using each letter to prompt an idea. Then I listed 14 cities in Arizona for a total of 40 days.
If you would like to pray for Arizona for 40 days, too, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will gladly send you the information (the list is too long to print it all here). These ideas are by no means an exhaustive list, but rather a spring board to get the prayers started. Let the Holy Spirit guide you with the topic for each day. If you get started late on the list, just pick up on the current day’s topic. As you pray, let me know how you see God answering. I’d love to be able to share encouraging stories in the future.
In addition to listing each topic, a few Bible verses are included that fit the day’s theme. I love to incorporate God’s Word into prayer because it is living and active. The Message states Hebrews 4:12 in a very memorable way. “God means what He says. What He says goes. His powerful Word is sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, cutting through everything, whether doubt or defense, laying us open to listen and obey. Nothing and no one is impervious to God’s Word. We can’t get away from it — no matter what.”
2 Timothy 2:9 reminds us that God’s word is not chained. And Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “For just as rain and snow fall from heaven and do not return there without saturating the earth and making it germinate and sprout, and providing seed to sow and food to eat, so My word that comes from My mouth will not return to Me empty, but it will accomplish what I please and will prosper in what I send it to do.”
I know this is sort of last minute, but 40 days of God’s people praying, united in purpose to bring Him glory...maybe, just maybe healing for our nation could begin with some faithful pray-ers who are helping to transform Arizona. In the words of a dear friend, “Let’s start an avalanche of prayer!” Who’s with me?
• Lisa Jisa and her family have been residents of Ahwatukee Foothills since 2000. She can be reached at email@example.com.