Daily Lent Reading

Theme: A Lifestyle of Prayer

Scripture:

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!

Reflection: We come to the end of our 40 days of prayer. We hope this will be the beginning of a life of prayer for you. It’s our prayer that this season has given you more clarity on what it looks like to live a life in prayer. It begins with a bold resolve–a complete sacrifice of your life to God’s Kingdom work and glory. If you try to “pray without ceasing” simply to demonstrate your piety and goodness, you will fail. It’s forgetting yourself and yielding to God and His honor that will make your heart larger and stronger, that will teach you to see everything in the light of God’s purposes and will make you instinctively recognize the help only God and His blessings can provide in every circumstance. The highest conformity to Christ, the most blessed participation in the glory of His heavenly life, is that we take part in His work of prayer. He, and we, live always to pray and pray always to live. It’s in the rich experience of our union with Him that we will be desperate to pray without ceasing–the earthly manifestation of heaven come down to us, the foretaste of the life where we do not rest day or night in songs of worship and adoration. 

May God bless your journey in prayer without ceasing.

Prayer Model: Today, take a little extra time to write your own prayer and pray it out loud. Offer up words of praise, confession, thanksgiving, calls for wisdom and requests for needs. Give your prayer life, for the rest of your life, to the Lord.

Theme:  Pray for your loved ones

Scripture: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.” – John 17:24

Reflection: When thinking about praying for our loved ones, Andrew Murray notes that, “Just like the Lord, each believing intercessor has his own immediate circle for whom he first prays. Parents have their children, teachers their pupils, pastors their flocks, all workers their special charge, all believers those whose care lies upon their hearts. It is of great consequence that intercession should be personal, pointed, and definite. And then our first prayer must always be that they may receive the word. But this prayer will not succeed unless we say with our Lord, “I have given them your word.” This is what gives us freedom and power in intercession for souls. Don’t just pray for them, speak to them. And when they have received the word, let us pray a great deal for their being kept from the evil one, for their being sanctified through that word. Instead of being hopeless or judging or giving up those who fall, let us pray for our circle, “Father, keep them in Your name.” “Sanctify them through your truth.” Prayer in the name of Jesus accomplishes much. What you desire will be done for you.”  (112)

Prayer Model: Father, I confess to you that at times I have refrained from speaking your word to people out of fear. I am often more comfortable praying quietly and discretely for others. However, there are instances in which I believe I am motivated to pray ‘behind the scenes’ more out of fear than love. Please teach me how to courageously and lovingly share your word with others when you call me to, and lead me on how to pray boldly for those you’ve placed in my life. I long to speak and pray out of a posture of love for my brothers and sisters, not fear.

Prayer Prompt: Pray about someone in your life that you can share God’s Word with today – whether a family member, friend, neighbor, or co-worker. Then, spend time praying specifically over that person by name.

Theme: Fasting

Scripture: Acts 13:2-3 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Reflection: If you are able, choose to fast a meal today and spend that time, instead, asking the Holy Spirit to speak to you. God has ordained prayer and fasting to be means by which we align our desires with His and then call on Him to act. There are other reasons to fast. Here are just a few.

  1. To purify our passions. Our physical bodies were created by the Lord with good and natural appetites, but we are easily led to sin by our appetites (passions). Fasting is one exercise for keeping our cravings pure.
  2. To listen to the voice of the Lord. We spend our time praying when we would normally be eating so that we may hear and attend to the desires of the Lord more clearly. (Acts 13:2-3)
  3. To humble ourselves before our Maker. As we deny our most basic pleasures in fasting, the Holy Spirit exposes and subdues the root of pride in us.
  4. To open our eyes to God’s activity. Fasting brings us to God when we are our emptiest, and feel in our gut our utter dependence on Him. We get our motives and strategies out of the way. 

Prayer Model: Lord, I quiet myself now to take on a posture of openness and listening for the voice of your Holy Spirit. As I fast today, may the hunger pangs remind me of my utter dependence on your provision. I thank you for all the ways you sustain my life. And as if that were not enough, you then pour out your blessings until my cup overflows. You are a good, good Father, and I invite you now to speak. Your servant is listening. [Sit in silence and wait on the Lord’s answer]

Prayer Prompt: When you fast and pray, find a quiet room free of possible interruptions. Begin your prayer by sitting in silence for a time. Take in the quiet until your mind and body have settled into a contemplative focus. Then begin your prayer by saying, “Come, Holy Spirit.” And then simply wait on Him to answer. He may bring an idea to your mind that seems to come out of the blue, or remind you of an area of sin that needs your attention, or bring scripture verses to mind. Sit and listen. If you “get stuck,” open the Bible to the book of Psalms and let His Word speak.