Tomorrow begins Lent, the historical observance of the 40 days of fasting and prayer before Good Friday. This time is not ordained in Scriptures, but a practice instituted by man to prepare their hearts and minds for the upcoming celebration of Easter although there is a Biblical relevance to this practice in Deuteronomy. Several times Moses spent 40 days in prayer and fasting for the people he was called to lead. In the ninth chapter Moses reminds the Hebrews of his supplications for them.
When I went up on the mountain to receive the tablets of stone, the tablets of the covenant that the LORD had made with you, I stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water. The LORD gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God. On them were all the commandments the LORD proclaimed to you on the mountain out of the fire, on the day of the assembly. At the end of the forty days and forty nights, the LORD gave me the two stone tablets, the tablets of the covenant. Deuteronomy 9:9-11 NIV
We can follow Moses example, to humble ourselves in prayer and fasting during this Lenten season so we might prepare ourselves for an intimate relationship with our Abba Father. His laws have been provided to us for the right way to live between the two gardens. During the next 40 days, examine your heart, make an honest sacrifice of things that are unnecessary pleasures in order to focus your thoughts, time and efforts on God's Word to help move you toward honest communication with Elohim.
When I looked, I saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God; you had made for yourselves an idol cast in the shape of a calf. You had turned aside quickly from the way that the LORD had commanded you. So I took the two tablets and threw them out of my hands, breaking them to pieces before your eyes. Then once again I fell prostrate before the LORD for forty days and forty nights; I ate no bread and drank no water, because of all the sin you had committed, doing what was evil in the LORD’s sight and so arousing his anger. Deuteronomy 9:16-18 NIV
Our lives are not perfect, we seek after things that are not best and things God never intended for us to participate in. The newly freed Israelites reverted to what they had experience during their old lives in Egypt, worshiping a creation instead of the Creator. They settled for an earthly god over the King of Kings. Are there obstacles that replace a daily conversation or time in the Scriptures? Does your daily routine move you closer to the One who loves you most? Step back and examine all aspects of your life. Is there anything that needs to go because it prohibits you from moving forward, deeper, closer in your communion with the Savior? During the next 40 days look for things that pull you away from the Alpha and Omega.
You also made the LORD angry at Taberah, at Massah and at Kibroth Hattaavah. And when the LORD sent you out from Kadesh Barnea, he said, “Go up and take possession of the land I have given you.” But you rebelled against the command of the LORD your God. You did not trust him or obey him. You have been rebellious against the LORD ever since I have known you. I lay prostrate before the LORD those forty days and forty nights because the LORD had said he would destroy you. Deuteronomy 9:22-25 NIV
How much do you trust the Mighty Lord Most High? Are you striving for success, working toward a goal or expectation? Many of our hopes and desires for our lives are not bad things, but we may be going about it ineffectively. Most of the time we are holding on too tightly to our wants. We may have a tight grip on what we have planned, and not honestly sought the LORD for His perfect plan. Over the next 40 days, ask questions of your Abba, open your heart and mind to His perfect plan for your life. Instead of reviewing your list of wants, ask Him questions and state your acceptance for His provision and plan for your good.
After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. Matthew 4:2 NIV
How hungry are you for Malek ha Olam, the King of the Universe? Not for what He can provide or do for you, but for Him, His face and His Presence. What are you willing to fast from in order to abide on the mountain with the God of gods, the Alpha and Omega. Join me as we fast and pray in awe in preparation for the coming holy day celebration so we might experience it anew, unlike we have before... intimately with Adonai.
Help your children learn about fasting and prayer by having open discussions. Encourage them to set aside something they enjoy in order to focus less on "stuff" that distracts from the God who deserves all our praise. Depending on their age or instead of fasting from nutritious food vital for their growth, perhaps they could fast from video games, the television, maybe give up sodas, dessert or candy. Living in our affluent American society, there are enormous possibilities of "things" we can do without to help us focus our minds and set aside time to reflect on the Giver of all good gifts. Be creative.
Almighty God, I come to you hungry. My hands cannot satisfy the longing of my soul. I open the eyes of my heart so I may experience You. Attune my ears to Your voice so I can hear You singing over me. For the next 40 days, I humbly seek Your face and my soul hungers for You... Amen.