Day 41: “The Sabbath Experience”
Our breath prayer for today: As you inhale, whisper, “Restore the joy… As you exhale whisper, “…of our salvation!”
Slowly read aloud the following Scripture
One Sabbath, Jesus was strolling with His disciples through a field of ripe grain. Hungry, the disciples were pulling off the heads of grain and munching on them. Some Pharisees reported them to Jesus: “Your disciples are breaking the Sabbath rules!”
Jesus said, “Really? Didn’t you ever read what David and his companions did when they were hungry, how they entered the sanctuary and ate fresh bread off the altar, bread that no one but priests were allowed to eat? And didn’t you ever read in God’s Law that priests carrying out their Temple duties break Sabbath rules all the time and it’s not held against them?
“There is far more at stake here than religion. If you had any idea what this Scripture meant—‘I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’— you wouldn’t be nitpicking like this. The Son of Man is no lackey to the Sabbath; He’s in charge.”
When Jesus left the field, He entered their meeting place. There was a man there with a crippled hand. They said to Jesus, “Is it legal to heal on the Sabbath?” They were baiting Him.
He replied, “Is there a person here who, finding one of your lambs fallen into a ravine, wouldn’t, even though it was a Sabbath, pull it out? Surely kindness to people is as legal as kindness to animals!” Then He said to the man, “Hold out your hand.” He held it out and it was healed. The Pharisees walked out furious, sputtering about how they were going to ruin Jesus. (Matthew 12:1-14, MSG) For further exploration:
Magnificent Father, we thank You for creating this vast and beautiful world. There are so many places for us to explore and experience life; ideal places where we can refresh ourselves physically, mentally, and spiritually. Thank You for the ability to travel and experience new things. Thank You for providing not only for our daily needs, but also for our need for rest and relaxation. How joyful are all who reverence You Lord, and follow Your ways! We will enjoy the fruit of our labor. How joyful and prosperous we will be! All honor and praise belong to You, our holy God, for giving us rest.
Faithful Father, in Your eternal wisdom, You have ordained a time of rest for all creation. You take pleasure in our recreation, for You richly give us all that we need for enjoyment. Today, we declare that parents will take advantage of the opportunity to spend time with their children and reconnect. We are often focused on our daily tasks, but today, it is time that we focus on replenishing ourselves. Therefore, we commit to enjoying ourselves with our families. We will not entertain guilt or anxiety about setting aside our word for today. We will cease striving and enjoy this Sabbath time. Our children will get to know us on a deeper level and we will create fond memories together for them to pass down from generation to generation. We confess that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we make our Sabbath day plans, and we will receive supernatural inspiration. We will have fun!
Holy Spirit, remind us that the Sabbath is not only a day, it is a command of the Lord meant to be a part of our lifestyle. When we relax and recreate, it is a sign that our total trust is in the Father, not on our own abilities. Help us to understand the importance of making time with our family a priority. Show us creative ways to make memories with our families. Show us all the activities that fit within our family budget that we can share as a family during our Sabbath rest. Help us all to be willing to try new things and engage in new experiences that will expand our minds and help us to grow closer to our loved ones. Strengthen us to truly disconnect from all distractions, like phone calls, emails, and text messages. Help us to guard our leisure time and maintain appropriate boundaries with our employers, co-workers, and others. Remind us all that leisure actually increases the effectiveness of our labor. Above all, teach us how to take advantage of this Sabbath rest so that we don’t lose sight of what’s most important in life.
Righteous Father, forgive us of all our sins. Forgive us for sometimes forgetting the importance of unplugging. Forgive us for neglecting our families and ignoring the need to to connect and fellowship with one another. Forgive those who are driven by their needs and wants so much that they refuse to trust You to take care of them. Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).
Holy Spirit, remind us of all those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that you may need to forgive. As He reveals them say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in your soul caused by unforgiveness.)
Holy Spirit, help us all not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.
Royal King, what a variety of things You have made! In Your wisdom, You have made them all. The earth is full of Your creatures. May Your glory continue forever! You take pleasure in all You have made. The earth trembles at Your glance and the mountains smoke at Your touch. How magnificent You are! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Concepts to Consider
So this week let’s actually celebrate a traditional Sabbath. Just go for it! If at all possible, arrange to have a family meal together on Friday night at sundown. However, if you are unable to set aside Friday evening, then find any time this week to try out “the Sabbath Experience.” If you are single, you may want to consider inviting over a group of friends and family to help celebrate.
I’ve created a basic Sabbath Celebration order to follow below, but please feel free to use any one of the other more detailed resources listed here:
- The Hebrew4Christians.org Sabbath Seder (order) available at http://b.link/SabbathGuide4u
- The “Shabbat & Sabbath” 3 part video series from Celebration Church: http://page.video/How2Sabbath
- The book Celebrating Biblical Feasts: In Your Home or Church by Martha Zimmerman which you may find on
Before Sundown Friday:
- Plan a special family meal.
- Make or buy Challah (HA-lah “portion or loaf”) bread (where to buy in Houston, TX: Three Brothers’ Bakery, Randall’s on W. Belfort, or Belden’s) Recipe: http://cookery.recipes/Challah
(Note: If you do not have access to Challah, then any good quality loaf bread or rolls will do.)
- Set the dinner table with your best dishes.
- Additional items:
- 2 candles
- A bottle of grape juice
- A special cup or glass
- A plate for the Challah bread
- A cloth cover for the Challah (A dish towel is fine.)
- A bowl of fresh water for handwashing
- A hand towel to dry hands
- A small box with a lid or porous bag filled with sweet-smelling spices (any combination of cloves, cinnamon sticks, anise, nutmeg, dried fruit peels, etc.)
- Gather the family around the dinner table a little before sunset. Light the candles at the times listed below:
February 15, 2019: 5:53pm
February 22, 2019: 5:58pm
March 1, 2019: 6:03pm
Note: While the times above are traditional, if you’re late, don’t worry; remember, we live by grace!
- The eldest woman of the house should light the two candles; with her hands she should make a circular motion over the candles three times; this gesture serves to welcome in the warmth and joy of Sabbath; then she should pray the following prayer. (All girls and women present may also pray along.) If no women are available, any male over 12 years of age may light the candles.
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has set us apart with His commandments and has commanded us to kindle the Sabbath lights. May our light so shine before others that they may see our good works and glorify You, our Father in Heaven. We thank You for sending Your Son Jesus our Messiah Who is the Light of World.”
- Next, it’s time to bless one another, especially the children. Take time to speak a brief word of positive affirmation over each person. (A suggested starting phrase might be: “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, and I appreciate you because…”)
Parents, bless your children; husbands, bless your wives; wives, bless husbands; children, bless your parents; friends around the table bless one another.
Alternately, everyone around the table may simply say the following blessing together:
“May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, and be gracious unto you; May the Lord show you His kindness and give you peace.”
Here are the traditional blessings for the children. Either or both parents may say…
“May you be like Ephraim and Manasseh who, though born to Joseph in Egypt, received an equal inheritance with the sons of Jacob. May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious unto you; May the Lord show you His kindness and give you peace.”
“May you be like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah who were strong women and mothers of our faith. May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make His face to shine upon you, And be gracious unto you; May the Lord show you His kindness and give you peace.”
- Next, pour grape juice into your special cup/glassthen have the father or oldest male in the home lift the cup and pray the following prayer:
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.”
After the prayer, the leader takes a few sips from the cup (note: you do not have to drink it all, and you may drink the remaining juice with your meal.)
- Next, we ceremonially wash our hands. Anyone or everyone may pray the follow prayer before washing their hands in a bowl of fresh water.
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and has command us concerning the washing of hands. We follow the example of Jesus who served the disciples through the washing with water.”
You may want to use a small cup to help pour the water over your hands. Use a hand towel to dry. This is also an opportunity to serve one another (hold the bowl for your neighbor as they wash their hands).
- Now it’s time to bless the bread (Challah).
Uncover the bread and recite the following prayer. Anyone or everyone may say:
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has brought forth bread from the earth, and we thank You for Jesus, the Bread of Life.”
- Next, it’s time to eat your family meal. It is traditional to say a blessing after the meal:
Leader: Let us say grace.
All: Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever more. We will bless our God of whose bounty we have partaken and through Whose goodness we live.
Leader: Blessed be God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and earth, and Blessed be Jesus Christ His only Son our Lord, and Blessed be the Holy Spirit our Comforter.
All: We thank you for providing our food this day and for feeding the whole world through your provision. Be pleased, O Lord our God, to strengthen us by your commandment to observe the Sabbath, since this day is great and holy before You, that we may find rest and restoration in Your lovingkindness in accordance with Your will. In your favor, O Lord our God, grant us such peace that there may be no trouble, grief or lamenting on our day of rest. We pray these things through Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith who lives and reigns with You, Father and with the consolation of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
- After the meal and prayers it is time to enjoy your Sabbath! Recoup. Reset. You may want to limit the use of phones and tablets over the next 24 hours. Sabbath activity ideas: Plan a family movie or game night together. Plan a family outing or event everyone would enjoy for tomorrow. Have fun!
- Sabbath ends on Saturday evening at sundown. It is traditional to gather one more time as a family for “Havdalah” ([hahv-DAH-lah] “separation”) meaning we take time to separate the holy time of the Sabbath from the rest of the week and enter the new week refreshed and ready to go! Light a candle, pass around the box or bag of sweet spices and take a moment to breathe in the sweet aroma. And then pray the following prayer together:
“Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe Who distinguishes between the holy and ordinary, between light and dark, between the seventh day and the six days of work.
May the One who distinguishes between the holy and the ordinary pardon our sins through Jesus Christ our Lord. Grant us strength and power through Your Holy Spirit and give us all a good, prosperous, and peaceful week. May gladness reign and joy increase!
Shavuah Tov! (Sha-VOO-ah Tohv) Have a good week! Amen!”
(Note: If you can’t do this ceremony right at sunset, it’s fine. Try to find a time to gather before everyone goes to bed.)
**10. IMPORTANT: Remember, celebrating Sabbath Friday sundown to Saturday sundown does not replace worshiping together as a Church Family on Saturday night or Sunday. Like the earliest church, this week we have the privilege to experience Sabbath AND worship our Risen Lord on Saturday night or Sunday, the First Day of the Week. As followers of Jesus, Sabbath observance is not an obligation, but it is a Godordained opportunity to recuperate and celebrate!
- Personal Reflection. What did the Lord reveal to you as you celebrated the Sabbath? What did you learn? What challenged you? Why do you think it is important to “remember the Sabbath and keep it holy?”
- Kingdom Reflection. We are Sabbath People. How will you embody Sabbath today to those around you? How will you lovingly encourage others to do the same?
Optional Time of Centering/Soaking
If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7). Turn off or put down all distractions. Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word, phrase, or image from the Scripture you read today. Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord. If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Biblical word, phrase, or image. You may want to set a timer