Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. -Matthew 4:1, 2 (KJV)
On February 7 I began a spiritual journey which took me to a deeper level in my relationship with Christ. I have always spent time in prayer and studying God’s Word in the morning, yet I felt something was missing. I began to pray about this and the Lord impressed upon me the need to arise much earlier than my usual 6:30 or 7:00 AM and seek Him in prayer. As I considered this, the time of 4:30 AM kept coming to mind. Andrea and I keep our alarm clock in our room 15 minutes fast, and I felt the Lord telling me to leave it; set the alarm for 4:30 AM, which is actually 4:15. Having established to undertake this, I prayed about how long. The answer was clear; arise at 4:15 AM every morning for 40 days.
I kept coming to the Scripture where it says in Mark 1:35, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” Therefore, I sought to follow His example. Again, bear in mind I have never been one to rise so early in the morning, however, after the first week it began to get easier. By the second week I was hitting my stride. However, during week three the attack began in earnest. I came down with one of the worst head colds and sore throat I have ever experienced. When going to bed (now considerably earlier) I felt miserable and slept terribly. When the alarm would go off at 4:15 it was as though the devil was daring me to try and get up to pray. However, I persevered and continued rising on time as planned and the Lord gave me the strength – and the victory. A week or so later I began to feel better; the head cold went away and my strength returned.
On Friday, March 18, I accomplished my goal; 40 straight days of rising at 4:15 to seek the Lord in prayer. You know something? I continued on and am still rising around 4:30 to pray and seek the Lord. If I can accomplish this, so can you. Let He who boasts, boast in the Lord (Psalm 34:2), for this is all by His power. Each day when tempted to go back to bed I quote Matthew 26:41, “The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” God then gives the power to stay awake and commune with Him.
Why is 40 days so significant in the Bible? I am planning a sermon series on the subject and will explore it here also. I invite you to go deeper into your walk with Christ. Arise early, every day, and seek Him in prayer.