Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
Did you know there are certain times of the year when our prayers are more powerful?
Wait, back up.
I’ve been studying the Hebrew calendar lately.
Yeah, I know, totally normal.
It all started a few years ago when I read the book Opening the Gates of Heaven by Perry Stone. It’s an awesome book that I highly recommend, but it was totally not the kind of book I ever reached for back then, so I’m still unsure how it ever got onto my bookshelf.
But it was incredibly insightful, and that book initially introduced me to the idea that there are certain dates on the Hebrew calendar when the heavens actually open and our prayers are extra powerful.
It sounds kind of crazy, I know. But it’s actually a thing!
The Hebrew calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar, so the dates of Hebrew months and holidays vary on the standard 12-month calendar each year.
As a general rule, the Hebrew month of Elul falls somewhere around August, the month of Teshuvah is around September, and the “open heaven” season is at the end of Teshuvah.
This season of open heaven kicks off with Rosh Hashanah. Stick with me, here. Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year celebration, and in Jewish culture, is a time to search your heart, repent for any wrongdoing, and seek God for the new year.
This year, Rosh Hashanah happened last week, on September 9-11. It was especially significant this year, because not only did it mark the start of the new Jewish year 5779, but it also kicked off a new seven-year period.
If you’ve studied the Bible, you may recall that seven is a significant number. Jacob worked seven years for Leah and another seven for Rachel. People were commanded to forgive each other’s debts every seven years. The number seven is a recurring theme and a pretty big deal.
And, according to the Hebrew calendar, THIS new season and year – right now – is the beginning of a new seven-year cycle.
What does this mean for us? Well, it could mean good or bad news, depending on what you’ve sown the past seven years. If you’ve been working hard, obeying God, and seeking him, then prepare to see a harvest and bear fruit like you’ve never seen! On the flip side, if you’ve been slacking off, running from God, and neglecting to do something he’s asked you to do, you may be in for some tougher days.
It is literally a season of reaping what you sow. If you’ve sown sparingly, you’ll reap sparingly. If you’ve sown in obedience, you’re going to reap a whole lot of blessing.
Either way, here’s the thing: it’s not too late to repent.
Right now we are in the middle of what’s called the Days of Awe. Rosh Hashanah is the kickoff, and the Days of Awe continue until Yom Kippur this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, September 18-19. These 10 days are meant for seeking the Lord and asking him to reveal to you anything that’s come between you and him so that you can repent and begin this new Hebrew year with a clean slate.
And your prayers are extra powerful right now. I’m not saying this is some magic formula where everything you pray for will – poof! – instantly materialize, but this is a very special season in which the Lord hears and acts on our prayers in an especially powerful way, more than normal. The prayers you pray right now affect what happens for you in the coming year. You have the opportunity to ask God for things you want to see in the next year, and you also have the opportunity to spend the next seven years sowing good things so that you will eventually reap good things.
Basically, you don’t want to mess this up!
Another cool thing about this season is that it’s a season of recompense. God wants to repay everything the enemy has stolen from you, especially the things you’ve lost over the past seven years.
See why this excites me?
All you need to do is ask. Ask God to bring to mind the things that have been stolen from you over the past seven years (or at all, but especially the past seven years), and pray for recompense for those things.
So what has the enemy stolen from you? What are the desires of your heart – big, small, crazy, or impossible? Ask for them!
Seek God. Repent. Ask.
And then celebrate.
The Jewish people start Yom Kippur with a feast, fast for a day, and then end with another feast. Then begins Sukkot, a celebration of harvest from September 23-30. If you’re not Jewish, you aren’t required to feast and fast and follow all of these rituals. But I have personally been following along with some of these traditions for the first time this year, because they fascinate me, I want to celebrate this season, and sometimes you just have to do things you’ve never done before to get results you’ve never seen before.
Your prayers aren’t going to be inhibited if you don’t feast and fast. These traditions are special and meaningful, but there’s no need to be legalistic. You can pray anytime, anywhere, about anything! And God is fully capable of answering under any and all circumstances. Just know that it’s a special time of year and that God wants to give you more than you could ever ask for or imagine – you just need to ask. So ask away! The heavens are open.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s gonna be a good year.