40 Days of Prayer and Repentance: How the Church Can Return to God's Presence

(Photo by Maelle Ramsay on Unsplash)

The week we are in the midst of praying through the 40 day Jewish season of repentance, Teshuvah.

The word Teshuvah literally means to return to the presence of God. It is a season of introspection and repentance for Christians to come into unity with God, as Jesus prayed in John 17:21. However, as Jesus prayed, unity with God requires unity with each other in Christ. (John 17:20-23).

Yet, almost since the beginning of Christianity, believers have quarreled about Christian doctrine and church government. The first Jerusalem Council served as an example of a favorably resolved dispute (Acts 15). However, other disputes resulted in division and treatment of opponents as non-Christians. As Ralph Martin famously said, "The body of Christ is broken"

Today there are many denominations and doctrines which create a great diversity within the body of Christ. Yet, we can still be United in Christ. Lutheran theologian Oscar Cullmann said, "Unity in the church... is unity in diversity ... recognizing others in all their variety as true Christians." Pope Francis has said, "Unity brought by the Spirit can harmonize every diversity." Unity in diversity recognizes the contributions of other streams of Christianity and blends them together in a symphony of harmony. It is a unity of the Spirit, not in doctrine or church government.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

During the second 10 days of Teshuvah, from Aug. 21 to Aug. 30, we will be praying for God's people and the healing of the broken body of Christ as God's people come together united in Christ.

  • Aug. 21: The blessings of unity (Ps. 133)
  • Aug. 22: Unity in Christ (John 17:20–22)
  • Aug. 23: Accepting our brothers (Rom. 15:5–7)
  • Aug. 24: Do not judge (Rom. 14:13; Luke 6:37–38)
  • Aug. 25: Divisions (1 Cor. 3:1–9)
  • Aug. 26: Evangelism through unity (John 17:23)
  • Aug. 27: Watchmen warnings (Ezek. 33)
  • Aug. 28: Appealing to all (1 Cor. 9:27)
  • Aug. 29: Salvation for Israel (Rom. 11:11–32)
  • Aug. 30: Messianic Jews and the Toward

Jerusalem Council II Movement (Acts 15)

The unity revival has already begun. The pope's historic outreach to Kenneth Copeland in 2014 produced a flood of Christian leaders who traveled to Rome for international reconciliation meetings. There have also been national-level events like Kairos 2017 where 40 national Christian leaders ranging from Cardinal Di Nardo, president of U.S. bishops, to Kenneth Copeland met to dialogue, pray, and worship in unity. Much has happened, but much more needs to happen to heal the broken body of Christ.

The urgent need to heal the body of Christ must be communicated from the national leadership of movements and denominations to the local churches. The city fathers must become champions of unity, bringing the body of Christ together to impact their communities. The prayer of Jesus in John 17 is not only about unity. It is for unity with a purpose, "so that the world may believe" (John 17:21).

Like the watchmen on the wall in the Teshuvah scripture of Ezekiel 33, the church must warn the unbelievers of the judgment to come and bring as many as possible to salvation.

The body of Christ must be healed to do its work for Christ.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries, spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God; the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage; and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.

Dr. Mark Rutland's

National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)

The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!

FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.

Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.

The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.

Charisma Leader — Serving and empowering church leaders