COUNTING THE DAYS
Counting the Days is a fifty-day period during which Yahweh instructed Israel to mark each day from Unleavened Bread to Pentecost by counting them. It symbolizes God’s desire to build anticipation in us for the blessing of Pentecost.The keynote of this fifty-day period is marking each day by remembering to count them.
The fifty days between Passover and Pentecost is a time of anticipation and preparation. Yahweh led Israel to Mt. Sinai to receive his Torah. And, 1,500 years later, Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from heaven (Acts 1:8). Each year, when we count the days, we prepare ourselves to experience the transforming power of God’s Word and Spirit.
Yahweh promised he would meet with and speak to his people (Exodus 29:38-46). With holiness and pure passion, God longs to dwell among us. And as he dwells with us, he wants to reveal his heart to us. To speak to us. To show us the beauty of his glory. If we’re willing to prioritize his presence, he will meet with us. And if we take the time to listen, he will speak to us.
Of course, we believe these promises are fulfilled through Jesus, our Messiah. Through his death and resurrection, he entered God’s presence for us. There, he rests in his Father’s presence, interceding on our behalf. Because he’s there, we’re invited to come boldly into God’s presence to see his face, hear his voice, and receive his grace (Ephesians 2:18; Hebrews 4:15,16).
More than any other way, God speaks through his Word and prayer. While there are many ways we can approach God, these following practices are designed to cultivate the habit of God’s presence and attune our ears to his voice. They help us prayerfully engage God’s Word through prayerful reading and responding. Because God’s Word is living and active, reveals the beauty of his ways, and shows us his heart, we can expect to encounter him as we interact faithfully with his Word (Psalm 1:1-6; 19:7-11; II Timothy 3:15,16; Hebrews 4:15,16).
Personal Prayer: Lectio Divina & Praying the Psalms
There are two exercises intended to cultivate personal prayer: Lectio Divina and Praying the Psalms. Consider spending fifteen minutes in the morning and evening using these exercises to create awareness of God’s presence and voice. During your personal prayer time, use scripture passages of your choice.
FIVE STEPS TO PRAY FOR COUNTING THE DAYS
You can use the following exercises individually or to cultivate family prayer. Consider spending five-to-ten minutes in the morning OR evening using this exercise for your family prayer times. During your family prayer time, use the short scripture passage in the Counting the Day Guide.
STEP 1: REVIEW YOUR PRAYER GOALS
Before you begin to pray together, take a moment to review your prayer goals for the season. What one thing are you asking God to do in your personal life during the Counting the Days? What one thing are you asking God to do in your family life during the Counting the Days? What one thing are you asking God to do in our congregation during the Counting the Days? What unsaved person are you asking God to save during the Counting the Days?
STEP 2: READ
Download our Counting the Days Guide here. Find the scripture verse from the Counting the Days Guide that corresponds to today’s date. Keep in mind that each day of counting goes from sunset to sunset. The reading guide marks the sunset of the first day. Read the scripture passage aloud twice. Sit in silence for a moment inviting God’s presence into your prayer time.
STEP 3: LISTEN
Read the scripture passage aloud again. As you read, listen for one word that sticks out to you. After a moment of silence, have everyone share their one word without comment.
STEP 4: CONNECT
Read the scripture passage aloud again. After a moment of silence, have each person share how the one word that stuck out to them connects to one of your family prayer goals for Counting the Days.
STEP 5: PRAY
Read the scripture passage aloud again. Have each person respond to the word that stuck out to them and one family prayer goal by praying their heart’s desire back to God.