50 Days of Preparation | Discover the Meaning of the Counting of the Omer

As a Believer, you may wonder, “What is the counting of the omer?” And, “How does it apply to my relationship with Jesus?” 

The Counting of the Omer is the 50-day period between Passover and Shavuot. It is the connection time of preparation and introspection between the events that changed everything: the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (Passover) and the coming of the Holy Spirit (Shavuot/Pentecost). 

The first Believers, being Jewish, understood the significance of this time. They gathered in Jerusalem for Passover and stayed there for Shavuot, which is a Hebrew word meaning “weeks.”

Yeshua instructed them to stay in the city and wait…

“Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.”

—Luke 24:49

“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me;’”

—Acts 1:4

this waiting took place during the Counting of the Omer written about in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.

And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord.”

—Leviticus 23:15-16

“You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. You shall rejoice before the Lord your God… And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.”

—Deuteronomy 16:9-12

Counting of the Omer | What is an Omer?

The Counting of the Omer begins on the second night of Passover when an omer—about two quarts—of barley was traditionally brought to the Temple as a grain offering. This offering came to simply be called ‘the Omer.’ 

The Omer would be counted daily until the night before Shavuot to help the Israelites remember the link between Passover and Shavuot. Passover commemorates the Exodus from Egypt, while Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, to Moses on Mount Sinai. It serves as a reminder that we become empowered when we receive the instruction of the Word released at Shavuot. 

A man pouring grain into his hand while standing in the field Counting of the Omer

What Happens During the Counting of the Omer?

It is a Jewish custom to pray a prayer each day when Counting the Omer. Below is a portion of the daily prayer, of which an important part is Psalm 67. (In the original Hebrew, Psalm 67 consists of 7 verses and 49 words, matching the 49 days that the Omer is counted—and is a central part of each day’s reciting of the count, meditation, blessing and prayer—from the second day of Passover to Shavuot)…

“May God be gracious to us and bless us; may He make His countenance shine upon us forever; that Your way be known on earth, Your salvation among all nations. The nations will extol You, O God; all the nations will extol You. The nations will rejoice and sing for joy, for You will judge the peoples justly and guide the nations on earth forever. The peoples will extol You, O God; all the peoples will extol You, for the earth will have yielded its produce and God, our God, will bless us. God will bless us; and all, from the farthest corners of the earth, shall fear Him.”

“We implore You, by the great power of Your right hand, release the captive. Accept the prayer of Your people; strengthen us, purify us, Awesome One. Mighty One, we beseech You, guard as the apple of the eye those who seek Your Oneness. Bless them, cleanse them; bestow upon them forever Your merciful righteousness. Powerful, Holy One, in Your abounding goodness, guide Your congregation. Only and Exalted One, turn to Your people who are mindful of Your holiness. Accept our supplication and hear our cry, You who knows secret thoughts. Blessed be the name of the glory of His kingdom forever and ever.” (emphasis added)

We share this prayer as a beautiful example, but the 50 days from Passover to Shavuot are not about saying the right prayer or decreeing the right words! Simply ask the Spirit to guide your prayers during the Counting of the Omer and remind you each day of the connection between Passover and Shavuot. 

What’s the Connection Between Counting the Omer and Pentecost?

Pentecost comes from the Greek word for “fiftieth”—50 days from Passover marks the end of Counting the Omer. It was the day of Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks (Day of Pentecost), when the Holy Spirit was powerfully released, filling the disciples of Yeshua gathered in Jerusalem, empowering and birthing the the Body of Messiah. Remember, Shavuot commemorates the giving of the Torah, the first five books of the Bible, so how amazing is it that God sent His Holy Spirit during this same period!

On the same day commemorating the giving of the law, God sent His Holy Spirit to fill the Jewish Believers in the upper room. 

“When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting…And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit…” (Acts 2:1-2 &4)

This Holy Spirit empowerment is what the prophet Jeremiah was looking forward to:

 “This shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; . . . I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts, and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” (Jeremiah 31:33)

Jesus came to satisfy the law and put the satisfied law within you! He dwells in you by His Holy Spirit and keeps the law perfectly.  He said He did not come to do away with the Law (Torah) or the prophets but to fulfill them (Matthew 5:17) and He did so with fierce intention.

He has written His law on our hearts and as we mature in Him, the fullness of His Word becomes all the more beautiful and precious to us. 

Counting the Omer | A Time of Introspection

As Believers today, we can be encouraged to use this 50-day period as a time of introspection. We continue to remember the sacrifice of Jesus at Passover as we await the commemoration of the coming of the Holy Spirit.

Spiritually speaking, a new year began at Passover and we have been given 50 days set apart to seek the Lord, to seek His vision and His wisdom, before He releases His empowering Word at Shavuot/ Pentecost.

3 Steps to Move into a New Season

a person with a walking stick and backpack icon.

Step 1

A Spiritual Exodus

Passover is a time of a spiritual exodus, a time of coming out of a place of bondage and idolatry. It’s a time to break agreements with the enemy and to come into renewed alignment with Jesus, Yeshua, and your true identity in Him. 

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Step 2

A Time of Introspection

Counting the Omer is a time to reflect and take your burdens before the Lord, asking Him to remove them. Remember His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28). Reflect on the beautiful gift of His Holy Spirit and the new heart He has given you– He has made you a new creation! (2 Corinthians 5:16–17) 

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Step 3

An Impartation of Instruction

After the Counting of the Omer, when the 50-day period comes to a close, you are ready for a fresh start and open to receive the empowerment of God’s Word and Spirit at Shavuot. God speaks to His people and He will speak to you. Break any agreements you’ve made that you cannot hear God’s voice!

Again, these steps are not intended to be formulaic. They are simply a framework for which God operates according to His timeline—from Passover to Shavuot—and gives you an opportunity to step into His ways of operation!

An Omer | An Offering and an Opportunity 

Consider this special period of Counting the Omer as a time to truly respond and reflect on your desire for God and His guidance in your life. Ask Him for His blessing and reflect on the ways He has cleansed you, bestowing mercy and instruction to you. 

Paul shares in Ephesians 5 how Jesus washes us with the water of His Word:

“…Messiah also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (vv 25-27)

He redeems us, makes us holy, and empowers us on a mission! Ask His Spirit during this time to reveal to you how you can move His Kingdom forward. The Omer, being an offering, is also an opportunity to sow a seed into His Kingdom, into Israel– now more than ever Israel needs to be reminded of the power of God on her behalf and that those who love God are standing with her.

God’s Word declares Israel’s restoration, and you can be a part of this prophetic fulfillment as we grow closer to the time of His return.

As we count up to Shavuot (Pentecost), prepare for a time of refreshing. Reflect on the powerful sacrifice of Jesus at Passover. It is only through the blood covering that we can receive the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The counting of the omer is a special time to reflect on the connection between these two feasts and open our hearts more fully to Jesus– in the coming days, may you receive all He desires to impart to you!