“Celebration isn’t the word to use for our participation in Lent. It is a somber journey of spiritual preparation and renewal, marked especially by repentance and prayer. In our pain-averse culture, Lent stands apart by not shrinking away from suffering but cultivating in us the wisdom that growth often (some might say only) comes through suffering. In a time and place of religious freedom, where we mostly don’t suffer for following Christ, Lent invites us to willingly identify with Christ’s suffering through fasting or other forms of self-denial.” Philip Reinders in his book Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year.
As we embark on 40 days for fasting and prayer as a congregation I hope to weekly provide some scripture, a quote, and a few thoughts as suggestions for our prayers.
Praying with the Sermon on the Mount:
9 “This, then, is how you should pray:
“ ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
10 your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’
14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
16 “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, 18 so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.Matthew 6:9-18
Prayer pointers from Scripture: How should we pray? Jesus teaches us to pray to “Our Father” – use this prayer not as a formula prayed without thinking, but as a heartfelt desire to our Father who loves us.
Invitation to Prayer (remember the Lord delights to be with you)
“The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”Lam. 3:25-26
- As you begin a concerted time of prayer, ask the Holy Spirit to guard you and your prayers and to guide you what you are to pray for.
- As you pray, remember nothing is too small or too big to talk with God about.
- Prayer is a two-way conversation – be listening and reading Scripture as much as you are speaking to the Lord.
- Pray for our world, especially Ukraine
- Pray for our congregation and God’s Spirit to move afresh in us
- Pray for our own souls – to expand and delight more in the Lord
Praying with you,