On the Edge of the Wilderness: Week 1

“The Israelites moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness. God went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a pillar of fire to give them light.” Exodus 13:20

There they were, the people of God, packed up and heading towards His promises.  The smell of anticipation and reverent hope took on the odor of perspiration as they began hauling their belongings east. Led by the manifest presence of God himself they had to wonder when the cloud began to drift, not north towards the oasis and wealthy merchant tribes, but south and east, into the wilderness.

And thus began their journey. They had no idea what was ahead of them. Miracles, signs and wonders were in store. But wandering in the desert is no joke, and there were plenty of opportunities to question God’s goodness, His plans and His leadership. Is He trustworthy? Will I follow Him anywhere? Am I committed to full reliance and dependency on Him?

As we set out to go Lower and Slower into 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting, we could ask ourselves the same questions. Perhaps you feel fresh in your freedom from social media. Maybe you spent a little extra time in prayer this morning or reflection on the drive home. The edge of the wilderness can be an exciting place to be. We feel confident God is with us. We can expect, though, that He will allow the fears and anxieties of our hearts to surface during this time. Many of us would admit that we have been enslaved to some degree to our culture, our technology, our business and task-driven pace of life. It is a bold thing to step out of Egypt and continue putting one foot in front of another. Today we pray a prayer of surrender that all the Lord desires to be accomplished would be accomplished through the power of His Spirit.

A Prayer on The Edge of the Wilderness

For those stepping away from social media:

We acknowledge our incessant thirst for connection and chose to be present with the people around us.

For those logging off and suspending accounts:

We express our desire to be deeply rooted in the love of the Father.

For those fasting sugar, sweets, and other forms of abundance:

We long for your Word to be our Great Delight, our morning treat and after dinner snack.

For those detoxing from caffeine:

We want to  be filled with the energy of your Spirit to run and not grow weary.

For those turning of Netflix and television:

We ask our hearts be awoken from boredom and distraction.

For those waking up early to sit in silence and solitude:

We invite the sweet voice of the Shepherd. Draw us home to yourself.

For those setting up prayer spaces in their homes and offices:

Only you can take an empty dwelling and fill it with your glory.

Abba, Father, we give you these 40 days. We lay as low as we know how, into our humanity, embracing our weakness, celebrating our brokenness, for there is only one who is Good. We trust you to take us deeper into your heart as we slow down and make space to listen and perceive what you are doing in our hearts, our homes and our neighborhoods. Surely you are setting us free, and if you’re doing it for us, we trust you to do it for a city.

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