This year February 14th is not just Valentine’s Day, but it is also Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is a day inviting us all into a special season of spiritual awareness and growth called Lent.
You see, before his amazing earthly ministry, Jesus found himself in the desert wilderness. He fasted from food. He went through temptations. He held on to God’s word, and he drew closer to God. It all prepared him for the next thing he was called to do.
That’s what the 40 days (not counting Sundays) of Lent is about. The word Lent is not found in the Bible (it comes from an Old English word that just means spring), but the concepts are. Just as Jesus’ 40 days in the desert wilderness became a pivotal period for Jesus, so can the 40 days of Lent be an important time of spiritual awareness and preparation for you and me.
Lent is an opportunity to tell Jesus you’re ready to draw near to him. It’s an invitation to be intentional about how you are growing in Christ. It’s a good time to focus on spending time with Jesus because you know it’s impossible to spend time with Jesus without starting to become like him. So, I hope you take the opportunity. I hope you accept the invitation that Lent provides us.
You know, in certain ways, Lent is like CHRISTMAS! The primary message of Christmas is that God has come near in Jesus! During Lent, we pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!” We invite him to be closer, nearer. Life gets busy and we forget to make Jesus our greatest joy and main desire.
So, maybe a prayer we could pray is this: “Jesus, I want to enjoy you more today than I did yesterday. I invite you into my life more deeply than ever. I want to know you more. May that be my number one priority.”
In other ways, Lent is like Good Friday! The primary focus on Good Friday is the suffering, sacrifice, and death of Jesus. During Lent, we think deeply about what it is that needs to die in us. Having Jesus in our lives, will fill us with so much love, but because of that love, God will point out things that need to be removed from our hearts and lives. There is housecleaning needed in your heart and mine.
So, maybe a prayer we could pray is this: “God, show me everything in me that is not like Christ. I repent of these things. Clean house in my heart. Help me die to these things that are taking me away from my love and commitment to you.”
Lent is also the lead up to Easter! And Easter is about new life – God bringing a resurrection out of death. During Lent, we not only invite Jesus to come near and clean house, but to do something new in us. To raise up within us some new life. In other words, to start a transformation within us.
So, maybe a prayer we could pray is this, “Jesus, please do a new thing in me. Resurrect some hope, and love, and grace within me. Transform me. Give me real life in you.”
And with that, all God’s people said-Amen!
Serving Christ with you,