Forty days of lent.
Holiness. Humility. Hunger for God. Honouring the One who hung and died for us. Holding one another in high esteem, each an integral part of the whole.
This is no shortcut of fruitless individualistic legalism spent on avoiding the true heart’s temptation to forget the message of the cross with frivolous things set aside for a brief period. It is a closer examination of the Way, observing the details and presence of his life in each piece of our lives to discover where they fit or do not fit into the outlines of redemptive history with faithful compliance to his overall design.
‘Repent and believe the gospel’. The cross in ashes on our forehead mark the way ahead.
Although we are dust and to dust we will return, the efficacious nature of Jesus’ work on the cross links broken, wounded, sin-cracked souls together as one people who wait in expectation of the resurrection holding fast in his love.
We fast and pray for lasting transformation and a peace that will endure.
I feel compelled this lenten season to fast from praying primarily for our own situations and what we know most intimately in order to spend more time joining in prayer with those in every place who have placed themselves beneath the cleansing blood of Christ to be made new and yet whose blood now flows on distant sands because their Christian witness to the holy Lamb of God gives offence.
Lent. We are invited and drawn to wander in the wilderness with him and those with whom he will draw especially close for forty days. Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!
‘Lord, your body, the church for whom you died, is being persecuted and abused. May each precious brother or sister not bear the brunt of hostile enemies alone. May we watch and pray in the pursuit of justice, laying all the hidden pieces on the table through bleary eyes and weary tears from sorting through a puzzling array of misinformation to clearly see the horror of pain hurled and endured at the hands of senseless hatred in so many places around the world. Pour out your amazing grace to bless and wash your children in your love. Amen.’
We also weep and pray for lost and dying souls who see no better way than to leave a picture of broken humanity gasping for life in its path.
If you care to join me, here are forty daily focal points for the journey ahead.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning point for forty days of prayer and fasting with the six Sundays in between as days of feasting in honour of the resurrection.
Pray for pastors and Christian leaders in the persecuted church:
- 1. to be filled with the Holy Spirit
- 2. to be controlled by the self-sacrificing agape love of Jesus Christ
- 3. to speak the word of God with calm and winsome boldness
- 4. to be an example to the flock
- First Sunday in Lent (feast day)
- 5. to be given wisdom in complex and rapidly changing circumstances
- 6. to be a voice for the voiceless in the pursuit of righteousness and justice
- 7. to serve with strength and courage
- 8. to remain faithful under duress
- 9. to be steadfast in praying for those in their care
- 10. to count it a privilege to suffer for Christ when called to do so
- Second Sunday in lent (feast day)
- 11. to be given the gifts of compassion and mercy in the binding up of wounds
- 12. to daily put on the full spiritual armour to stand against the enemy’s schemes
Pray for Christian communities under attack
- 13. to know his peace that passes all understanding
- 14. to live without fear knowing that to live is Christ and to die is gain
- 15. to be given grace to endure to the end
- 16. to not be consumed by the darkness, but to daily walk in the light
- Third Sunday in Lent (feast day)
- 17. to receive protection and shelter
- 18. to take every thought captive to Jesus Christ
- 19. to find faith being deepened in the midst of every form of hostility
- 20. to trust your perfect and eternal plan
- 21. to be led to places of safety
- 22. to see each day in the light of eternity, moment by moment resting in him
- Fourth Sunday in Lent (feast day)
- 23. to be faithful in praying against the powers of evil in the strong name of Jesus
- 24. to experience his tender consolation in their grief
Pray for world leaders
- 25. to be convicted of the responsibility to seek peace among the nations
- 26. to be granted humility to listen for and submit to policies which reflect justice
- 27. to make courageous decisions for righteousness even when unpopular
- 28. to be given insight to expose deceptive practices and to walk in truth
- Fifth sunday in Lent (feast day)
- 29. to remember our common humanity as image-bearers of God
- 30. to exercise great wisdom in the response to information and knowledge
- 31. to recognize diversity within unity
- 32. to seek collaborative initiatives which promote security for all
- 33. to uphold religious freedom in distinction from politicized religious agendas
- 34. to replace callous disrespect with eyes to see the dignity of every human life
- Sixth Sunday in Lent (feast day)
- 35. to learn from the lessons of history and govern accordingly
- 36. to ensure the proper dissemination of truthful reporting
Pray for the worldwide church:
- 37. to experience a great revival of dedication to live as passionate learners of Jesus
- 38. to stand against a tide of evil, salt and light pointing to the love of God in Christ
- 39. to take action in caring for one another, declaring the gospel in word and deed
- 40. to enjoy deep communion with our Saviour in times of joy and suffering
Easter Sunday: The Celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ!