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A Lent Guide

What is Lent? 
In the Christian calendar, Lent is the forty-day season to remember Christ’s sacrifice for us. We reflect and prepare spiritually for the death and resurrection of Jesus. Lent begins on Ash Wednesday (this year on February 17) and ends on Easter Sunday (April 4). 

What does it have to do with me? 
Lent is a time of repentance, of considering Christ’s sufferings, and rethinking how we are called to live. When you hear the word “Lent” you may think of fasting. 

How do I fast?
Scripture talks about fasting, and Jesus himself practiced fasting. Some choose to give up things like desserts or screen time during the 40 days of Lent. This is a way of fasting. Others try to integrate new practices into their lives, like visiting people in need, exercising, spiritual reading, or finding a new way to pray. The purpose is to rethink how we live, to let some things go that we may be attached to, or to cultivate a new spiritual practice. This will look different for everyone.

For the six weeks of Lent, we are focusing on one word that is the theme for the week—the word to keep in mind as you read and pray. As you look at each week below, there is a passage of scripture along with a borrowed prayer. Share with a friend or family member how each theme connects with you. Pray or journal about how God will work in your life this week. Offer the borrowed prayer each day, individually or with your family or friends. 

Week 1

Scripture:

I have called you by name, you are mine.

Isaiah 43:1

Prayer:

Jesus,
You have known us from the beginning of time,
You have known us in the depths of our dreams and in the darkness of our shame,
You know us as your beloved.
Help us to own this core identity more and more in this season of repentance and mercy.
Give us the rock-solid assurance of your unwavering faith in us
As we seek the same in you.
Amen.

Week 2

Scripture:

O God, you are my God, I seek you, my soul thirsts for you; 
my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.  

Psalm 63:1

Prayer:

God our Provider and Sustainer,

we acknowledge our needs and desires, 
and we repent of our false cares and attachments. 
Increase our awareness of our ultimate need for you 
for every breath, every meal, for our joy and peace and freedom.

We are dependent on and hungry for you, 
our loving Source of Life.  Amen.

Week 3

Scripture:

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” 

Luke 18:13

(from the parable of The Pharisee and tax collector, Luke 18:9-14)

Prayer:

God, gently remind us of our true and small place in your world. 
We acknowledge, this year more than ever, that we are not in control of anything.

May this truth free us to live and love beyond ourselves. Amen.

Week 4

Scripture:

But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.

Luke 10:33

(from the parable of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37)

Prayer:

Gracious Lord, 
help us to see the world as you see the world.

Give us your eyes and ears of compassion,

and teach us to listen to and love others with your healing love.

Amen.

Week 5

Scripture:

“Quickly, bring out a robe–the best one–and put it on him; put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. And get the fatted calf and kill it, and let’s eat and celebrate!”
Luke 15:23

(from the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-32)

Prayer:

Lord, help us to celebrate your welcoming love, and to be transformed by it.

May we, too, be a people who welcome others to the table and to the family.

Amen.

Week 6

Scripture:

I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

John 11:25-26

 

(from the resurrection of Lazarus, John 11:1-44) 

Prayer:

All powerful God, 
We believe that you resurrected your son Jesus, who died for our sins,

and we believe that you will one day resurrect us and all of creation.

Help us to wait patiently in our own pain, and help us to be present with others in their pain. Kindle our hope and boldness to live resurrected lives, even now in the darkness.

May your Kingdom come fully and soon. 
Amen.