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Lent Prayer Journey - 2024 - Intro

What is Lent?

 

Lent is first and foremost about the gospel making its way deeper into our lives. This season is an opportunity to root ourselves in the good news that God saves sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It is a time to take stock, examine our hearts, repent of sin, turn to God, reflect on the suffering our Savior endured to accomplish our salvation, and finally, rest in the assurance of that salvation.

 

Observing Lent is not necessary or central to experiencing life in Christ. Furthermore, this is not a season of “doing penance.” Rather, having been sealed in Christ with the Holy Spirit, Lent is a season where we intentionally set aside time to remember Jesus and the grace that is found through faith in him alone. Lent is not about our faithfulness, but rather about the faithfulness of Jesus on our behalf.

 

Lent is the season leading up to Easter. We are all familiar with the celebration of Easter, and even the somber reflection of Good Friday. But Lent is an extended time of repentance and preparation leading up to those two days. In the fourth century, the church marked the beginning of Lent by counting back forty days from Easter (excluding Sundays), which takes you to the Wednesday seven weeks before Easter. Sundays themselves are not counted in these forty days, as they are generally set aside as days of renewal and celebration (“mini-Easters” of sorts).

 

The number forty carries great biblical significance. There were the forty days of rain that Noah and his family endured in the flood, the forty years that Israel spent in the wilderness, Jesus’ forty-day fast in the wilderness, and the forty days Jesus spent on the earth after his resurrection. The time period of forty days was used by God to represent periods of trial, testing, and preparation.

 

Likewise, Lent is a season of preparation and repentance during which we anticipate the death (Good Friday) and resurrection (Easter Sunday) of Jesus. It is this preparation and repentance—aimed at grasping the intense significance of the crucifixion—that gives us a deep and powerful longing for the resurrection, the joy of Easter.

 

Introduction from “Journey to the Cross” by Will Walker and Kendal Haug


Welcome

Welcome to our Lent journey for 2024. We are very much looking forward to this season of walking together in preparation and anticipation of “The Greatest Day in History.”

 

Even though many of us would readily acknowledge that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus are central to our lives, we also recognize how easy it is to become distracted from this astounding reality and to lose sight of the life of Jesus at work in us. Our prayer is that this season of Lent would be an opportunity for us to dive deeper into the life of Jesus as a community. More and more, we see that spiritual practices (or disciplines) are not mainly individual pursuits, but rather activities that shape the rhythm of our lives as a community.

 

This year’s Lent journey is focused on a weekly prayer practice:

  • Week 1: Written Prayers of Confession

  • Week 2: Silence

  • Week 3: Intercessory Prayer

  • Week 4: Prayer of Lament

  • Week 5: Prayers of Forgiveness

  • Week 6: Prayer & Fasting

 

How you decide to incorporate these components into your life for the next six weeks is up to you, but here are a few tips that might be helpful:

  • Choose and stick to a specific time of day when you will participate in the week’s prayer practice. Much of our life is shaped by habits and consistency is helpful in developing the habits that we actually want to shape our lives!

  • Check-in with others during the week. Share about your experience of the prayer practice with your house church or others!

  • Take an honest and realistic look at your schedule. Spiritual practices are difficult to maintain when we try to tack them onto our already full schedules. Perhaps you may need to say no to something else in order to fully participate in this prayer journey. Also, consider how you might be able to weave the daily devotions into your daily rhythm. Maybe you can read during your lunch break. Or take a 15 minute break during the afternoon to participate in the weekly prayer practice.

 

May we more deeply encounter the risen Jesus together!

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