Throughout biblical history we see 40 days of testing, waiting and drawing closer to God. Ash Wednesday and 40 Days of Lent typically mark a spiritual quest for Christians, though it’s often recognized as a Catholic tradition. It’s a time of prayer, service, sacrifice and self-examination. Look beyond the face of religion and into the heart …and see if God is calling you for the next 40 days. Does He want your attention and your heart focused on Him?
40 day spiritual journeys are well known in the Bible. In Genesis 7 Noah spent 40 days and nights on a boat while God destroyed everything he had created. In Exodus 34 Moses was on the mountain with God 40 days without eating bread or drinking water, while God wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant—the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 16:35 the Israelites ate manna 40 days until they arrived in the promised land. They then suffered 40 years in the wilderness for disobeying God. In Deut 2:7 we’re reminded “The LORD your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He has watched over your journey through this vast wilderness. These forty years the LORD your God has been with you, and you have not lacked anything. ”
Jesus was called by God and immediately a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him. Mark 1:11-13 NIV
Below are some ideas about spending 40 days with God.
Remember to choose a DAILY sacrifice or event for Lent. Giving up surfing, for example, is not a daily event. Look for something you do daily! -Christine Abraham
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40 Days of Lent
Financial Fast- One year during 40 days of Lent, my husband and I decided to give up (fast from) all luxury expenses. Since we use budgeting software, we were able to look at 12 months of luxury expenses (pizza, movies, coffee drinks, dining out, etc) and estimate the daily cost. We multiplied the cost by 40 days and then gave up these luxuries with a promise to God to give the money saved to charity. In the final two weeks my husband lost his job and we were tempted to keep the money. By faith, we donated the money and trusted God with our finances. By blessing others we were blessed by God. We learned how to live on less and continued to give up luxuries until he found new employment. It was truly amazing! You can learn more about this in the book “Fasting for Financial Breakthrough” by Liberty University co-founder Elmer Towns.
Food- Another year, we practiced 40 days of Lent by traditional fasting. We gave up specific foods or eating at specific times of the day. The concept is refraining from food for a spiritual purpose. One word of caution when fasting: watch your blood sugar! I ended up hospitalized after 40 days of liquids until 5pm and light meals in the evening. It turns out I had hypoglycemia and the artificial sweeteners in those high-calorie coffee drinks made me incredibly sick! Know your threshold and guard your health. You can learn more about this in the popular book “Fasting: Opening the Door to a More Deeper, More Intimate, More Powerful relationship with God“ by Jentezen Franklin. Recently I fasted 40 days from coffee (my daily addiction) and grown in wisdom as I pray. It was during a 40-day coffee fast where our NEW membership site was crafted!
Events- My children are making decisions about their own level of participation. They might fast from television, texting, Facebook or specific foods such as sweets, pizza or fast food. I’ve been fasting from technology each week, filling my day with scripture, fellowship and prayer. Unplug from Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social sites… and plug in to Jesus. Finish a Bible study you never completed. Devote some time to Him…and be richly blessed. Elmer Towns explains the different types of Biblical fasts in his book “Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough.“
Psalms– Pick up your bible during 40 days of Lent, and pray through the Psalms each day or read the book Praying the Psalms by Elmer Towns. As you read the verses, focus your mind on how you can apply the verses to your life today. Select a few favorites and memorize them.
Prayer Walk– Each day when you exercise (or just driving the car to work and carpool) go on a “prayer walk.” Notice your surroundings and pray for those people around you. Pray for your neighbors as you walk past their homes, pray for the person parked at the stoplight beside you, pray for those people in your path. Read the book PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline by Janet Holm McHenry.
Body Prayer– During the next 40 days of Lent, pray through your body. Start at your feet and toes and pray something similar to this “Lord, examine my toes and feet. Search for anything that is not pleasing to you, find anything that is toxic and does not honor you. Wash over my feet and toes with the blood of Jesus and allow my feet and toes to honor Him.” Repeat for each body part, from toes to head as you lie in bed and prepare to fall asleep.
Read– Turn off the television and read your Bible or Christian books for 40 days.
Memorize Scripture– Get some index cards and write out scripture verses to memorize. I use a spiral notebook, small enough for my handbag so I can carry it with me. There are also apps for your smartphone or computer which help memorize scripture. Make sure the verse is visible so you can read it often during the week.
Pray For a Child– If you are a parent or grandparent, pray for your children each day for the next 40 days. Pray for your nieces and nephews. If you sponsor a child through Compassion International, Gospel of Asia or World Vision then spend the next 40 days praying for your child. Pray for children who are waiting to be adopted. For the next 40 days, find children you can pray for.
Pray For a Relationship– Pray for your spouse, friend, boyfriend or a relationship. Focus each day on the same person and spend 40 days covering this person with your prayers.
Pray for Your Coworkers– Print a copy of the company directory or write a few names down on paper and pray for these people during the next 40 days. Pray for them to know Jesus, for peace and hope in their lives and for God to reveal Himself to them. Pray with expectation for goodness, peace, joy and hope in their lives.
Pray the Names of God– In the Experiencing God workbook, there is a long list of the names of God in scripture. Print this list and pray daily on His name and character. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Him through His name. You can also find a book on this by Ann Springer called Praying the Names of God: A Daily Guide
40 Days of Praise
Worship Music- Change the radio station in your car or on your computer to Christian music and listen exclusively for the next 40 days of Lent. Scan YouTube for Christian songs and save your favorites in your profile. Listen to www.KLOVE.com on your computer or in the car. When I’m carpooling my kids will say “Just to warn you, my Mom likes to listen to this stuff!” Often their friends reply “Don’t worry, my Mom does it too!” We also play Christian music on our television when we’re at home… you can find it on satellite or cable if you search around the channels. If you like alternative and rock, listen to www.AIR1.com
Journal– Get a fresh notebook and journal your gratitude to God. Read the popular book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp and make a decision to start noticing the gifts God has bestowed upon you. This is especially wise if you are under a cloud of unemployment, financial worries, health problems or relationship troubles. Count your blessings for the next 40 days. Create a Spiritual Journal by listing prayer requests and Bible study notes during the next 40 days.
Beauty Treatments– When is the last time you used your body as praise to God? Created in His image…when you look in the mirror do you see the child He loves or something less beautiful in your own eyes? Explore opportunities to honor your body and treat yourself as a son or daughter of the King. What would you eat as His child? How would you dress? What would you do to maintain the body He created for you? Put this thought into your heart, pray over it and see if you need “40 days of beauty treatments” in the name of the Lord. Start praying on Psalm 139 each day and make a commitment to be fearfully and wonderfully made. Exercise, eat right and take care of the body God designed for you. Read the book Fit For Your Assignment by Reina Olmeda and implement some changes in your life.
40 Days of Giving
Giving Letters– In our modern day it’s rare to receive a letter or even a Christmas letter. Most people use the speed of text messages, email and Facebook posts. Why not break tradition and mail a handwritten letter, once a day, for 40 days. Mail to a prison ministry, a senior home, the teachers at your child’s school, or a network of friends.
Giving Joy– Read the book Spreading Joy Daily by Marie Wikle and find ways to share the love of Christ with others. The book is filled with simple ways to make a difference.
Cooking– My mother-in-law calls me her “Meals on Wheels” because I bring her homemade foods. If you are making a family meal, double the batch of spaghetti, soup, stew or lasagna. Package this with a loaf of bread and deliver it to your neighbors, family member or a coworker. Use the element of surprise and make their day special when you bring an unexpected meal. Make a batch of cookies, brownies or cupcakes and each day during the week find someone you can share them with. Make something healthy from the Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook or make comfort foods from Magnolia Home Cookbook or Miss Kay’s Duck Commander Cookbook. My family likes meals from all of these great books.
Giving Your Time– Spend 40 days giving your time and attention to your friend, spouse, children or family members. Pull yourself away from Facebook and social media, from the distractions of the television or internet…and center your time on someone else. Make a list with the number 1-40 and each day write a name of someone you are going to give time to. You can make a phone call, send an email, mail a card, or visit in person. Take the focus off yourself and your needs and give time to someone else.
These are just a few ideas to start you thinking about your own 40-day spiritual journey. The decision to spend 40 days focused on God is yours alone. Pray over this and see if you are led to do something or possibly wait for another time. Know that during your 40 days with God you will attract the attention of the enemy and he will throw flaming arrows your way. Stand firm with the shield of faith and keep your eyes and heart on God.
Fasting is not dieting! Remember, do NOT fast from any foods without your doctor’s approval. Be safe!
LET’S HAVE A CONVERSATION! Share your 40 days of Lent experiences and encourage one another in the comments below.
Money can become a stronghold in life when Satan uses it to destroy God’s people. In our 40 Day Financial Fasting Experience, Dr. Elmer Towns reminds us how the enemy of our souls used greed to attack the early church (read Acts 5:1-11) and the consequences for Ananias and Sapphria were death. With hearts blinded by money, they lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3) and died.
In the Old Testament, Satan attacks the wealth of Job and Dr. Towns cautions us, “While the account of Job looks like a story about money..it’s about one man’s relationship with God. And our financial problems are not about money. They’re about our relationship with God.” That’s a heavy concept to grasp!
We tend to dissociate our money problems from our relationship with God. We hide behind debt, we turn a blind eye to spending habits, we cave into temptation to feed an empty heart and mind. The Bible tells us to turn to God, not money or things.
Perhaps you know the woman who is dissatisfied with her income, house, appearance and things? She feels defeated by her wants, not allowing God to fill her needs. Like a toddler with a temper tantrum, she demands more and prays less. “I want, I need, I deserve, I will…” are her language of self-interest. She wants, when she cannot afford. She needs, because she didn’t plan ahead. She deserves, because she associates money with love. She will ignore the Holy Spirit in order to fill her dissatisfied heart. Satan will sidetrack her, convincing her to buy the good things she deserves so she will not miss an opportunity to be happy and satisfied. Does this remind you of a woman named Eve and a tempting apple?
As you continue to fast and pray, ask the Lord to reveal those people in your life who encourage you to divert money away from the work of God. Perhaps it’s a spouse, family member…or even you.
We’re in the final days of our 40-day fasting, and I’m reminded that the enemy tempted Jesus at the end of his 40 days.
You’ll experience spiritual warfare intended to pull you apart from God; resist the enemy.
You’ll experience negative words, frustration, perhaps anger in the days ahead; recognize the enemy.
You’ll experience a deeper and closer relationship with God.
You’ll experience a better understanding of God’s purpose for your money.
You’ll experience a new peace over your budget, finances and debt.
You’ll experience freedom in Christ.
Stand firm my friends! The greatest experience is yet to come.
Financial Fasting Scriptures to Study or Memorize
For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10 (NLT)
“The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! Matthew 25:21 (NLT)
Tip: using your cell phone, snap a photo of these verses so you can find them easily
Steps For Spiritual Growth
Fast and pray continuously. Fast and pray to be cleansed of sin barriers
Continue to expand your knowledge on money. Explore website and books as the Holy Spirit leads you.
Fasting without prayer is nothing more than a diet. If you choose to abstain from foods for the purpose of losing weight then the focus is on self and not God. Likewise, if you choose a financial fast to “save a little money” then you’ll be disappointed in the end results. When the Holy Spirit leads you to fast, He’s leading you into deeper intimacy with God.
In his book Fasting For Financial Breakthrough, Dr. Elmer Towns identifies four truths about our financial obligations:
It’s not our money but His.
We are expected to manage our money wisely for the Lord.
He will take it away if we mismanage it.
He will reward us for proper management.
We become better money managers as we fast and pray. Fasting alone is not going to strengthen your finances or resolve your money issues. Through the act of prayer, as you communicate with God, you’ll learn what His will is for your money. Perhaps you already know the answer in your heart, and now you need a solution from God. The time to ask is not when you get a foreclosure letter in the mail, a stack of unpaid medical bills, or a lose your job on a Friday afternoon. Ask. Seek. Pray.
By now you’ve realized that through fasting, we learn self-control. Dr. Towns says, “…it’s really not about money; rather, it’s a discipline problem.” Whether fasting from food or spending, create a regular habit and seek insight from God regarding self-discipline. Ask God how you arrived at your place of need, and then ask Him for a solution to your problems. Keep a journal of your prayers, and look back at your spiritual growth. Continue fasting once a month, such as the date your mortgage or rent is due, or the birthday of a prodigal child, or your anniversary date. For example, if your anniversary is May 11th, then fast on the 11th of each month and pray for your marriage.
Financial Fasting and Discipline
As we learn financial discipline, it spills over into other areas of our spiritual lives. We learn to discipline our mouths from speaking gossip, negativity, curse words and insults. We learn to discipline our time and prioritize those things that have eternal value. We learn to discipline our health, by eating better, getting outdoors and exercise. We learn to follow Christ and walk inside God’s will.
While running errands today, I felt the consequences of poor time management. I missed the deadline to return a gift my daughter dislikes; like most teenagers she said “give me cash instead.” As a consequence to missing the 30-day return period, I had to pay extra shipping charges to make sure the package arrived quicker. Praying on this, I was convicted that poor time management costs money! Similarly, disorganization and stacks of junk in my home or office make it harder to see those items with deadlines or due dates. Does this happen to you?
Every aspect of a Christian life is faith-oriented, including your money.
Write out a budget and money management plan based on Biblical values. Seek God when you are deprived of spending or saving money. If you struggle with stewardship, listen to your church sermon archives or make an appointment to meet with your church pastor. Learn to prioritize both money and time. Dr. Towns recommends these expense priorities:
Tithes and offerings
Housing and utilities
Education and Improvement
Financial experts have a different set of priorities, so be sure to search for more ideas. In my budget, I’ve set aside money for college funds, emergency funds, and also “wedding funds.” I’m a California Mom raising two daughters and from the time they were born, I started putting $25 per month into a wedding savings account for each child. If they choose to marry then I know we’ll have a little money set aside to celebrate their special day.
Some of the best financial books I read include: (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
I read these books to help me serve my clients in the California real estate market and years later I still remember the key concepts. After attending a Marriage Retreat by Focus on the Family and then reading “Your Money or Your Life,” we downsized our dream home, got rid of the nanny, housecleaner and gardener, and I became a stay-at-home mom. When the kids were older I started a home business and later started the Womens Bible Cafe™ ministry.
We move through seasons of life, and this includes financial seasons as well. You’ll have seasons of drought; seasons of sowing seeds; seasons of harvesting fruit. No matter the season, be faithful to God and to His Word.
Financial Fasting Bible Verses
It is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him. Hebrews 11:6 (NLT)
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Galatians 2:20 (NIV)
You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Cor. 9:7 (NLT)
Tip: using your cell phone, snap a photo of these verses so you can find them easily
Steps For Financial Fasting
Fast and pray in faith believing God will answer your prayers. Fast in fellowship with other women or friends.
Create a budget system and plan to implement by April 1st.
Are you listening to the Holy Spirit while you are fasting? Dr. Elmer Towns reminds us, “We think more clearly during a fast than at normal times; we can learn more naturally while fasting.” If we sat down to talk about our fasting experience at the Womens Bible Cafe™ I’d share what I’m hearing inside my heart and I’d listen to your heart too.
As I’m fasting the Holy Spirit is saying “Wait for Me.”
This is my personal testimony and I am not a financial advisor or giving financial advice. I am simply sharing my personal decisions, led by the Holy Spirit and a 40 day fasting experience.
Wait for the Holy Spirit before I click a buy now button for a Bible study book, replacement contact lenses, or supplements my doctor recommends. Is it Friday and payday? Wait for the money to arrive before I shop.
Wait for the Holy Spirit before I enroll in a college class without tuition assistance or scholarships. Do I want to incur debt, drain money from my bank account, or feel frustrated because I’m drawing more out of my bank than I’m depositing?
Wait for the Holy Spirit before purchasing a coaching class with a limited time offer. Is that in my business budget? Do I have the immediate funds in my bank to pay the cost, or am I borrowing against the future?
Wait for the Holy Spirit before I spend the tax refund. The Father sees the future before I do, and He knows what I need that money for. Repainting the house….pray on it? Is the fence falling down, the car mileage higher then it’s intended use, the water heater beyond it’s lifetime expectancy?
“Think again about marathon runners. They need constant practice to develop long-range endurance. So we need a long-term commitment to build up our faith.
While we’re asking for money, God may be saying, ‘Wait.’
Wait for the Holy Spirit. My personal action plan. This is not intended to be financial advice and is sinply a testimony of what I am doing while fasting 40 days.
Build an emergency fund for unplanned expenses, so I’m not overwhelmed emotionally and financially when I need a home repair or car repair.
Look at my existing coaching classes and evaluate the effectiveness. Have I completed the classes 100% or am I rushing through them without implementing the concepts or revisiting the teachings. Am I absorbing too much too fast? Do I have a time budget for the exact day and hour to study and learn, or is this a hobby when I have the free time?
Research scholarships, tuition aid, methods of reducing the out-of-pocket costs to finish my college degree.
Order my Bible study books or medical supplements on payday, when the money is already in my bank account. Don’t wait until the last pair of contact lenses are sitting in the case; plan ahead and re-order on payday with cash or the debit card.
Use a Bill Pay feature with my online banking, and when the bills arrive don’t put them into a pile on my desk. Open the bills, pay attention to what is due, the amount due, and the date due. Input the payment date and amount into the online banking, and prioritize bills before shopping or spending.
The Holy Spirit is not saying “You’ll never last the 40 days, so give it up.” That’s the flesh speaking words of discouragement.
The Holy Spirit is not saying “It’s impossible to pay off that debt.” That’s the flesh speaking words of fear.
The Holy Spirit is not saying “It’s all your fault and you deserve financial ruin.” That’s the flesh speaking words of shame.
God speaks TRUTH.
As we are fasting, our hearts and minds are more receptive to hear Truth and think clearly. Keep fasting…
Financial Fasting Scriptures to Study or Memorize
You do not have because you do not ask. James 4:2 (NASB)
If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help… Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. James 1:5 (Message)
If we know that He hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked Him for. 1 John 5:15 (HCSB)
Tip: using your cell phone, snap a photo of these verses so you can find them easily
Steps For Spiritual Growth
Fast and pray according to Biblical principles. Don’t draw attention to your misery like the Pharisees. Fast for God and not for your self-interests. Listen to the Holy Spirit.
Finish this sentence: the Holy Spirit is telling me to wait before ____________________
Finish this sentence: the Holy Spirit is NOT saying ____________________________
Finish this sentence: the flesh is speaking words of ____________________
Know that as I am fasting with you, I pray for the LORD to remove mountains of debt, restore financial peace, and bring blessings in Jesus name. May you see the Living Father working in your life today!
Do you want to grow closer to God through fasting? Not everyone can tolerate a 40 food fast due to health concerns, so the Womens Bible Cafe™ is having a 40 DAY FINANCIAL FAST. During these 40 days you’ll learn the Biblical methods of fasting with the goal of a financial breakthrough.
Perhaps you’ll want to breakthrough:
Problems with money
Increase in money based on Biblical values (not prosperity preaching)
Prepare for a life-changing experience as you are fasting 40 days. This is not just a physical fast where you give up sugar or coffee- instead you’ll learn spiritual fasting. You’ll be fasting from online shopping, unnecessary spending, and anything else the Holy Spirit places in your heart.
After completing Financial Peace University with Dave Ramsey, I decided to do a financial fast with my family. We fasted from all luxuries: pizza delivery, Starbucks, movies, entertainment, etc. We saved an amazing amount of money in those 40 days, and then we gave ALL the saved money to charity, even though my husband was laid off towards the last week of fasting and we really needed that money! We were faithful to God, and He was faithful to us. We learned how to live with ‘less’ so when we had a desperate need He already prepared us to live with less. God is good!
7 Things You’ll Gain During the 40 Day FINANCIAL FAST
Fast and pray according to God’s will
Fast and pray according to Biblical principles
Fast and pray in faith believing
Fast and pray in fellowship
Fast and pray continuously
Fast and pray to be cleansed of sin barriers
Fast and pray with a great number of people
If you’ve never fasted financially, I recommend reading this book: Fasting for Financial Breakthrough by Dr. Elmer Towns, the co-founder of Liberty University and Dean of the School of Religion – CLICK HERE to ORDER BOOK (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
Let’s not fast alone. If you are married or in a relationship, invite your spouse or significant other to join you. If you’re single, ask a friend or family member to join you. You’ll appreciate the accountability partner on the days when the fasting gets uncomfortable or you’re tempted to stop before the 40 days are up!
SIGN UP for 40 DAY FINANCIAL FAST- starts Wednesday February 18, 2015
Will you join us for these 40 days of FASTING? We begin on Wednesday February 18, 2015 and we’ll finish on Easter Sunday.
If you want to SIGN-UP please post a comment below. Tell us if you are going to do this with or without the book Fasting for Financial Breakthrough by Dr. Elmer Towns. (As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.)
If you have a favorite book on finance, share the book title in the comments below and I will add a few of these to my reading list during the 40 days we are fasting.
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