Forty Day Devotional
First Week's Readings and 40 Day Fast
Lent is a time to give things up, but as Fulton J sheen said once, God never asks us to ‘give up anything.’ He simply asks us to exchange it for something better. We will get better returns, when we give up our worst “things” in life these forty days. God is saying, ‘I have something better for you. But first you have to lighten your load of all the material things and worries and anxieties you’re carrying around.’
The emphasis during Lent is on prayer, fasting and charity. That is what we focus on for the purpose of being open to God’s grace.
First Week's Devotionals
Read Isaiah 58 Daily
Read Isaiah 58 Daily
Day 1 Devotional (Thursday)
Mark 8: 23He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, "Do you see anything?" 24He looked up, said, "I see people; they look like trees walking around." 25Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything early. 26Jesus sent him home, saying, "Don't go into the village."
Take another look. I cannot tell you how many times in my life I have been told by unction to go back and take another look. That’s right I hear voice in my head that says, “Rickey, Go Back and take another look. If it had been God that told me by the Holy Spirit I would have done it the first time, right? Wrong.
A couple of weeks before my son Courtney was killed we held the most wonderful phone conversation and in conclusion, I said to him, “You are going to be a wonderful man, just pack up and come back to Virginia.” He didn’t and needless to say things got ugly. For those of you, who know me; bring everyone else up to speed. As I take another look I would have said “Courtney, Hold it! I’m coming to get you.” I think they are called regrets but I call them lessons, lessons of getting it right the next time around.
The first time the blind man in Bethsaida saw walking trees and after a jolt of good old fashion spittle, he could see clearly. God operates in like manner. You’re asked “what do you see?” You don’t see it right and “BOOM.” I bet you see it now. Let me say that again; I like the way it looks, “BOOM!”God you dropped a bomb on me and now I see what you saying. (When God speaks, you do see)
Take a breath - It lands like that because I usually want to see it my way and I don’t know that there are other plans in the working. I don’t know that “it” is going to do a 360, I just believe that. That is sometimes how our unknown desires become evidentially apparent to everyone else including us and God has just done the work that we did not see the first time (run on sentence)but this time around I see clearly enough to express it in words that I say something like this “God I am so grateful for your grace because it has liberated this not knowing not seeing and not understanding individual on this day.” Now breathe again.
Finally when you see clearer don’t go back through because them folk(s) won’t be impressed and certainly we ain’t trying to impress anyone, but go somewhere new and use the new vision to carve out a new road to a new height. Tell some new folks and even write a book. Don’t use this new glory/grace in old places; there is a big world out there and still a lot to see. By Richard D. Meadows, Jr.
Day 2 Devotional (Friday) John 4: 13, 14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
All of our lives we’ve heard words, words that have molded, shaped, prompted and prodded us to either to be at a standstill or words that literally gave us wings to soar. Listen to Me Under My Words O God, I come to you now As a child to my Mother, Out of the cold which numbs into the warm who cares. Listen to me inside, Under my words Where the shivering is, In the fears Which freeze my living, In the angers which chafe my attending, In the doubts Which chill my hoping, In the events Which shrivel my thanking, In the pretenses Which stiffen my loving. Listen to me, Lord As a Mother And hold me warm, And forgive me. Soften my experiences Into wisdom, My pride Into acceptance, My longing Into trust, And soften me Into love And to others And to you
Maybe it was the Holy Spirit, maybe it was just a woman of God that sensed I would benefit tremendously from an inspirational book, or just possibly it was our preceding conversation about the office atmosphere that lovingly erects ministry and insulates joy, peace and caring! I don’t know, but I do know that when I read, I began to include this gift of prayers as part of my work day devotional, the words of the prayers scaled my heart matters and reminded me of how sacred my relationship is with God. It’s not taken lightly. So I easily connected with the prayer Listen to Me Under My Words. And really appreciate how God helped make the prayer so relevant to John 4.
So as I read John 4: 1-26 I appreciated the Samaritan woman’s frank and direct conversation had with Jesus. She attempted to earnestly converse. What really seemed apparent for me was that while she spoke, there were deeper issues- layers of words under her words which revealed her disappointment, her outlook, and ultimately her humility. Her quizzical nature couldn’t stump or thwart the reality that what Jesus desired for her far outweighed her reality! She had stumbled upon a moment in time that changed her and many generations later to come! She visited the well at a strategic time that God had divinely orchestrated. Jesus’ words of life would become a wellspring to be reinvigorated, renewed and experience transformed natural and spiritual living! Let’s make our way with haste to that well! Don’t you want to go?
By Linda M. Meadows
Day 3 Devotional (Saturday)
John 4:14 “But whoever drinks the water that I will give him will never become thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become a well of water for him, springing up to eternal life."
What an amazing gift to receive, nothing in a box to tinker with, no instructions to decode, misplace and then locate in our clutter baskets and kitchen cabinet drawers! Not a gift to dust, or safely secure so that it isn’t tampered with or like a fine piece of porcelain displayed in our bellowed china cabinets, but instead a gift of empowered life! Oh my friends this wonderful gift alters the course of our life and beckons us to stop what we are doing, to abandon our entangled lifestyles. These words Jesus spoke induct us! It’s a pronouncement of relief and serenity for a provision of eternal life.
Yes my friend that’s what this living is all about, this reflective Lenten season ushers us into the remembrance of some very promising words! Jesus spoke to a woman hiding out from her potential, stuck in dead-end and defeated relationships that smothered and hurt but to now instead embrace new possibilities of hope. Her encounter with Jesus was the hallmark for her experiencing eternal life not a temporal existence but on a permanent basis!
Friends let me encourage you to meet God at your personal wells, your places of trials, discomforts and ambivalences. Trust that He already knows all about what concerns you. Let humility erect your truth with your words, underneath your words. Yes, He’s a prayer away, alive in the scriptures and in the language of love! Go on let Jesus show you yourself, but more importantly build a bridge to our all wise, all loving all, all knowing Lord & Savior, Jesus Christ! See you at the well!
By Linda Mose Meadows
Words To Encourage Our Hearts from:
Blogger (Celebrating Ordinary Days With Extraordinary Promises, The Blessedness of Believing ) Inspirational Author (The Blessedness of Believing A Devotional Journey of Life's Lessons and God's Promises (Tate Publishing), Urban Views Weekly & Empower Magazine Columnist and Co-Editor of Eyes of Faith Magazine
40 Day Fast
For Revelation, Repentance and Regeneration
a) That God would release the full power of His vision in our Church
b) That members would be better able to see and be more committed to follow pastoral leadership demonstrating respect to each other
c) That God would increase the Pastors ability to communicate the vision
d) That God would increase the Pastors anointing and refresh it daily
e) That God would restore and revitalize our love for the kingdom through committed ministry
f) That God would increase wisdom, discipleship and discipline among lay leadership
g) at God would send a plentiful harvest of new members to our church
h) That individual ministries and the entire church would be prepared to receive the new members
i) That the Bible would become the source of authority in every Believer’s life.
j) That God would inspire us to become good stewards of His church
k) That our repentance would become visible in our giving
l) That our repentance would be visible in our love for one another
m) That our repentance would become visible in our regular attendance and participation
n) That the spirit of mediocrity would be bound whenever it shows up and the spirit of excellence be loosed in every sector of our church
o) That a spiritual revival will be released within us, within our churches, within our community.
GUIDELINES FOR THE FAST
The consecration we are about to undertake combines some of the elements of two different types of fasts; the Non-Total and the Total. The Non-Total fast in general is a fast during which selected meals are skipped during a day, and the total fast, eliminates all meals, but allows certain liquids. If you would like more information on these, I recommend the book Prayer and Fasting: Master Key to Impossible by Gordon Lindsey. The fast will be conducted over the course of 40 days and will have three phases. You may participate in all of the phases, or any portion of any phase. It is not necessary to complete all of any one phase. If you are able to complete a few days of any phase then, “Praise the Lord!” If you forget or fail, START AGAIN. Don’t be defeated by the enemy in your mind.
If you have a special medical condition such as diabetes or heart
problems, which require you to eat certain foods, and at certain times, you should read the book cited above, and engage in a “No Pleasant Bread” form of fasting (See Daniel Chapter 10). In any case, no person should fast until you have checked with your Doctor or nutritionist, and unless he/she has asked God to prepare the heart, and a prayerful attitude and posture are established. This can only be completed by the aid of the Holy Spirit. THIS CAN BE DONE. IT’S NOT NEARLY AS DIFFICULT AS YOU THINK!
For the first 21 days, you are to abstain from all red meats ONLY FISH; and POULTRY can be eaten during this period. If possible, eat baked or broiled foods, as this is healthier. Fast from until your regular suppertime, (i.e., no food at breakfast or lunch). If you work an irregular schedule such as 3-11 or 11-7, feel free to adjust your one meal to the times you are awake and need to eat. The point here is not the hour in which you eat, but the discipline of re-focusing your attention from eating to praying and scripture reading.
For the next 12 days, you are to abstain from all meats of every kind. ONLY VEGETABLES, FRUITS, AND GRAINS can be eaten during this period. Vegetables, fruits, and Grains of any description and in any quantities you desire may be eaten for this phase of the fast. Although there are no restrictions on quantities, remember that moderation is an important part of the discipline. Don’t overdo it! Again, fast from midnight until your regular supper time, (i.e., no vegetables or any other food for breakfast or lunch).
For the last 7 days, you are to abstain from all solid foods; ONLY LIQUIDS can be consumed during this period. Liquids of any description (avoid sugary drinks, i.e. soda) and in any quantities you desire may be consumed from this point on. For those who are not diabetic or under strict orders from a physician, you should consume only water and clear liquids during this phase. If you are diabetic or under orders from a physician, perhaps soups or broth as well as fruit and vegetable juices may be utilized here. Nutritional drinks such as Ensure may also be included here. During this phase, you may drink liquids all day.
A Note to Diabetics and Others on Medication
There are obviously some persons who are diabetic or who take certain medications, which require eating as a part of the regimen. Please follow your doctor’s orders! You can easily participate in this process by using the “No Pleasant Bread” option. During the first 33 days, you may also use Ensure or fruit and vegetable juices as your discipline. Everyone can fast Fasting is about turning one’s face toward God, and placing the appetites under subjection to Him. In the end, fasting is not about what you give up. It’s about what kind of discipline you take on.
During the 40 day fast, it is a MUST that you pray at least three times per day. The prayer hours will be 7:00 AM, 12 noon, and 6:00 PM Daily. Pray individually, or choose a prayer partner, and pray with each other via telephone, or even get together and pray if this is feasible. The church chapel will be open to help facilitate a quiet atmosphere to pray during the times of 9:00am - 4:00pm weekly. Wednesday and Thursday Evenings from 6:00 – 8:30 pm
In addition, it is imperative that you remain, “In the Word” during the entire 40-day period. Attached is a schedule of devotional/scripture readings that all persons on the fast are asked to mediate on. You may select additional ones, but make sure you at least read and mediate on these. At each prayer time, these scriptures should be the beginning of your period of devotion. Also provided is a series of affirmations, which you should recite at the end of your scripture reading or at the end of your prayer time. You may even choose to make the affirmation the subject of your prayer. The fast begins on the 22nd of February (Ash Wednesday) and ends on the 1st of April (Palm Sunday). On April 2nd you will want to begin breaking the fast very gradually. Perhaps you will want to eat broth/soup for the first day or two. Then, salads, and slowly by about April 10th, resume eating normally. By April 12th (Resurrection Sunday), you should be eating whatever you choose.
Finally, remember, fasting is voluntary! Please do not enter this period of consecration unless you have faith that prayer and fasting works!
Hebrews 11:6b states:
No one can please God without faith for whoever comes to God must have faith that God exists and rewards those who seek Him. The Good News Bible
We must be on one accord during this process .If you are participating you are. The more unified we are in prayer; the more unified a witness we will be when prayer answers begin to manifest. The bible demonstrates that the Holy Spirit responds to unified congregational effort to fast. In a major way, God will perform every objective we bring to Him in prayer. God is still alive, and miracles are awaiting us again. Let us go forward and receive what God has in store!