Lessons and Prayers for Lent, 2022
As we move into the season of Lent, the Scripture readings and prayers that are offered with them in what follows below are intended to guide us into a reflective repentance in keeping with the traditional theme. The season leads us to see ourselves in light of the self-giving God who lived among us and died for us. It is intended to help us examine our concerns, our priorities, our patterns of life that too easily become thoughtless routines. In the process, we could be losing opportunities to spread the love of God to the people we meet; we might be hindering the blessing God desires to give both to us and through us.
Some of the readings (especially the Psalms) will repeat for a couple of days. This provides more opportunity for seeing new treasures, new challenges, and new connections with other portions of the Bible. So follow along each day. The prayers are intended as a starting point for your own prayers through the season. You are encouraged to use them as a guide to praying in accordance with the Scriptures.
Friday, April 15
Texts: Psalm 22; Isaiah 52:13-53:12; Hebrews 10:16-25; John 18:1-19:42
Prayer: Lord, I am speechless under the shadow of the cross.
Thursday, April 14
Texts: Psalm 116:1-2, 12-19; Exodus 12:1-14; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; John 13:1-17, 31-35
Prayer: You tell us, Lord Jesus, to eat the bread and drink from the cup in remembrance of You. So much to remember! For you knew first hand what we experience in our lives in this world. You know excruciating pain of both body and soul; you know betrayal, abandonment, injustice, being misunderstood, wrongly charged with evil. Help me to remember this when I face those things which rob me of joy, And help me to remember that none of these could finally separate me from the Father’s love and salvation.
O, give me this bread, give me this cup, and give me a heart to thank you with my devotion to your will and your ways, to fulfilling the vows I have made as your follower. Forgive me for chasing after that which does not and cannot satisfy; redeem me from following after those who promise without loving us and giving themselves for all. Amen.
Wednesday, April 13
Texts: Psalm 70; Isaiah 50:4-9; Hebrews 12:1-3; John 13:21-32
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the many witnesses to your grace, your power, and your great salvation! They do, indeed, surround your people, and they have done so in all ages, through all manner of challenge, through all threats of danger. They knew the greater joy of the kingdom, the joy for which Jesus endured the cross and all its pain.
Lord, I want to be included in those who witness to what you have done and to what you have in store for those you save. Yet at times I have betrayed you rather than proclaimed you; and it brings me shame. I try to hide it, I try to deny that I’ve done it, but I want to give up the excuses and turn my thoughts, words, and deeds into ways to echo that crowd of witnesses. Forgive me. Heal me. Use me, I pray. Amen.
Tuesday, April 12
Texts: Psalm 71:1-14; Isaiah 49:1-7; 1 Corinthians 1:18-31; John 12:20-36
Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, as I think about the last week of your time of walking among the people of Palestine I am filled with many thoughts and conflicting emotions. You did so much, you taught so much about the Father by what you did as much as by what you said. You displayed the nature of the Father and revealed the nature of our fallen race. You walked directly into the enemy, yet his triumph over you was only apparent. You trusted your Father and the mission.
I confess that my trust is not as strong; my faith is not as pure; my reliance upon the Father in the time of greatest danger is not as steadfast. Perhaps my conviction of final victory is not as firm as was yours. Come to my aid, O Lord. Strengthen my faith as I read again the trials you endured to bring us salvation. Amen.
Monday, April 11
Texts: Psalm 36:5-11; Isaiah 42:1-9; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 12:1-11
Prayer: How hard it is to find justice in this world, O Lord! We look for the right people, we look for the right systems, we look for the best way to punish evil and to reward good. We try to correct the wrongs of the past and prevent more of them from happening in our time. We truly long for righteousness to prevail. Yet for all of our attempts to reform and our protests against what is wrong, justice eludes us.
You alone, O God, are true and right in every judgment; for you alone know every thought and intention of the heart, the destruction we cause by our inattentiveness to the good and by our lack of concern for those we do not know. Lead us–lead me–to seek you and no other in the search for what is good and right. Forgive me for assuming your place as judge. Amen
Sunday, April 10
Texts: Psalm 118:1-2, 19-29; Isaiah 50:4-9; Philippians 2:5-11; Luke 23:1-49
Prayer: Ah, Lord God, such a simple and beautiful prayer from Isaiah!
The world today has so many words and so little sense, so many speeches and so little wisdom. The world tells me to raise my own voice, claim my own rights; it tells me to shut out the ones I don’t want to hear, and belittle those that disagree. Too often have I followed. Lord, I repent. My prayer, my aim, is to be instructed by the spirit of the one who endured the unwarranted suffering, the unjustified abuse, the undeserved death. For he is the only one who truly knows and is the way, the truth, and the life. Only through him can I give a word that sustains in a world that tears down; only through him can I hear the cries beneath the shouts, and the words of life in a world of death. Amen.
Saturday, April 9
Texts: Psalm 31:9-16; Leviticus 23:1-8; Luke 22:1-13
Prayer: What a gift you have given, O God, in providing us with the capacity for memory! For you allow us to mark where we have been and in order to see where we’re going. And we can recall what you have done along the way, not only for ourselves but much more for your people through all ages. We must remember so that we might trust.
You have given signs that guide us to remember rightly. Bread and wine as body and blood, given that we might remember the death and also the resurrection of Jesus, whereby we are saved. As I enter into the week of the Passion of Jesus, bring to my mind all that he endured, I pray. Forgive me, I pray, for taking lightly what you have done for mankind, including my own soul. Amen.
Friday, April 8
Texts: Psalm 31:9-16; Isaiah 54:9-10; Hebrews 2:10-18
Prayer: Your help, O God, is extraordinary! You do not simply give us what we ask–you give us yourself in Jesus, the Christ. Let me always remember when in temptation that Jesus, too, was tempted. He knows how to come alongside me because he felt the pull of the tempter. He shared in the limitations of the flesh and overcame all of them by obedience to your will, O Father.
Today I confess that the fear of death still strikes me at times. Forgive my feeble faith, and give me the confidence that Jesus still considers me as a brother. Free me, I pray from that fear that leads me to fall into sinful thoughts, words, and deeds; and let me hold fast to this brother like no other that has ever been known. Amen.
Thursday, April 7
Texts: Psalm 31:9-16; Isaiah 53:10-12; Hebrews 2:1-9
Prayer: Suffering precedes glory. Father, you designed it this way that we might know the seriousness of sin, the tragedy of following other masters; yet you also teach us that no sin or tragedy will have the final say in this world. Though moments may last days, even years, they will be gone in an instant when you come to our aid.
You do not answer our questions about where evil comes from; instead you defeat it in the cross of Jesus. He c greatest joy for all who turn to him. Forgive me Lord, for thinking too little of the cross. When I see it more clearly, the unfairness in my life seems far less than it did before. Keep me close to it, I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, April 6
Texts: Psalm 20; Habakkuk 3:2-15; Luke 18:31-34
Prayer: There are many times we long to see the mighty acts of God. Our world–your world–seems so out of order that we long for you to come, act decisively and chase away all that conflicts and confounds us, all that wars against the soul and takes strength from our spirits. The world doesn’t feel good, and we do not like it. We don’t want to see wars and storms, we fear when evil seems to be triumphing over good.
You do come, though not as we might expect. You do act, though not always for our comfort. You came most emphatically in Jesus and his cross–the last thing we asked for, but the first thing that we needed. And we need him still. When I pray, may I be praying for Jesus–his spirit, his way, his strength in suffering and trial–so that I may share in his victory. Amen.
Tuesday, April 5
Texts: Psalm 20; Judges 9:7-15; 1 John 2:18-28
Prayer: O God of constant faithfulness and eternal promise, may I know your true words more fully each day. There are so many voices calling out to be followed, so many paths inviting us to walk on them, so many tunes asking that we sing them, so many sights begging us to behold. I need your voice, your light, your truth above them all.
May your spirit attend my reading and hearing of your word so that I may hold to that which is good and right, and reject all that is deception and temptation to go astray. Many people try to please the ear so that your word sounds more and more like the ideas of the world; give me discernment, I pray. I confess that I spend too little time engaging in the study of your word. Amen.
Monday, April 4
Texts: Psalm 20; Exodus 40:1-15; Hebrews 10:19-25
Prayer: Lord, it’s easy to believe when things are going well, and your blessings are in full sight, your people surround me, and the sound of music springs from the soul of a great congregation. Yet such belief is only possible if we have it forged in the difficult times of life.
Lead me through each day in full awareness that you are with me whether the victory over the world is in front of me or behind me; for a new battle with sin, the flesh, and the devil is sure to find me. Forgive me for not trusting enough in the pain of those moments, and for forgetting too soon the times you’ve brought me through in the past. I want to know you in both moments. Amen.
Sunday, April 3
Texts: Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:16-21; Philippians 3:4-14; John 12:1-8
Prayer: There are two things I want to learn today, my Father, as I come to this your word. I have heard them before, I have believed them in my mind, but I find myself in constant peril of forgetting one or the other.
Let me never think that I have done anything that has earned a place in your care and in your kingdom. I thank you for the gifts you have given and for the joy and privilege of acting out of your grace for the sake of those who see and hear me. Let those gifts never become a source of pride.
And let me never think that my life is so small, my gifts so few that it will not matter whether I use them as you desire for purposes you alone know. Forgive me for thinking my voice, my hands, my heart–my faithfulness–are unimportant. And please forgive me for acting as though they were. Amen.
Saturday, April 2
Texts: Psalm 126; Exodus 12:21-27; John 11:45-57
Prayer: It is hard to understand. O God of all knowledge and all holiness, your judgments are true and right; your decisions stand firm above all our questions and objections. Yet we seek to comprehend, in order to follow more closely.
How is it that the death of a lamb was used to signify your desire to forgive and to cleanse? It seems so cruel, so inhumane, that an animal should die before sin is considered purged from the human soul. How much more so that Jesus should be likened unto a lamb? And how awful the sight, even from so great a distance as stands between us and the first century in Palestine! Yet we are told it was necessary; we do not understand. Is it to show to us the severity of our sin? If so, may I never take my failures as insignificant. Lead me to true repentance. Amen.
Friday, April 1
Texts: Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:8-15; Philippians 2:25-3:1
Prayer: Throughout the years, O Lord, you have called upon people great and small, well known and long forgotten, men and women, young and old to talk about what you have done. Some of them have pointed to the marvels of nature you have designed; some have spoken of the mighty acts you have performed in history; some have received and studied the Scirptures that they might show us your will and your ways that we might live faithfully.
But all of who have named Jesus as Lord and have received the gift of the Holy Spirit, and have allowed him to guide, protect, instruct and correct, are given the simple task of telling other people what you have done in our lives. That includes me, and I ask for greater effectiveness as I tell those I know what a difference you have made. Amen.
Thursday, March 31
Texts: Psalm 126; Isaiah 43:1-7; Philippians 2:19-24
Prayer: Someday, Lord, I may learn to fully rely upon you, no matter what is going on in the world around me. You have brought me safely thus far, and I trust you to complete the journey of life with me as I seek to focus more on your interests than on my own safety.
But I confess that in spite of where you have led me to go or allowed me to wander, I still fear the fire and the flame, the wind and the water that threaten me in this world. The temptation to doubt your goodness and even your presence comes upon me whenever things become difficult. You did not promise to shield your people from the storms of life, but that you would walk through them with us. Jesus walked through it all, and now His Spirit is ever with us. Open my ears and eyes to his presence, I pray. Amen.
Wednesday, March 30
Texts: Psalm 53; 2 Kings 4:1-7; Luke 9:10-17
Prayer: Lord, I have depended so much on what I see, on what makes sense, and on what experts say in meeting my needs. While you work for our good through many means, your provision is not bounded by what we think we have, what we think we know, and what we think we shall have in the future.
Today I give you thanks for meeting all of my needs, sometimes in surprising, unexpected ways. And I offer to you what seems so small in the face of overwhelming need in our world today. Our resources are limited, but your power is boundless to use them beyond our imagination. Like the widow with nothing but a little oil, like the disciples with only a few small loaves and fish, teach us to trust you when we place what we have in your hands. Amen.
Tuesday, March 29
Texts: Psalm 53; Leviticus 25:1-19; Revelation 19:9-10
Prayer: How slowly do we learn, O Lord, that the earth and all its riches, whether from crops or investments, from cattle or from industry, are truly yours. We receive them in trust, honoring both you and our neighbors by sharing the goodness of the earth with those in need. May we not be found hoarding and holding for ourselves what you have given for all.
Today I pray for a way of life that gratefully receives your good and perfect gifts, and for a heart to give and provide for those around me as you do. Forgive me for planning how to spend all of what you have given without regard for the needy ones who have stumbled along the way through injury, illness, or the callousness of others. I want to relinquish the thought that anything is truly mine; I admit that the thought is harder to give up than I knew.. Amen.
Monday, March 28
Texts: Psalm 53; Leviticus 23:26-41; Revelation 19:1-8
Prayer: Two things I long to remember so that they might guide me all the days of my life, O God. Keep them ever before me, I pray.
Let me never forget that it is You who brought me out of sin, sorrow, and self. I ask for those markers which will continually return me to your saving work in my life, and even more to the cross through which you have saved all who have gone their own way. Life outside your will is hopeless; inside there is assurance that you do reign and will do so forever.
And let me never forget that the final word has yet to be spoken, the final foe has yet to be defeated, the last challenge to faith has yet to be met–but that the cross, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus is the sure and certain proof that all shall be well in the time to come. Until then, keep me in your care. Amen.
Sunday, March 27
Texts: Psalm 32; Joshua 5:9-12; 2Corinthians 5:16-21; Luke 15:11-32
Prayer: Lord, I know my sins. They bring shame to me, so I try to hide them. They cause me to run from you rather than toward you. But you know them even better than I do; you await my confession, so that I might be found, freed, and sent to fulfill your own purpose. That alone will bring the joy I seek.
I worship you today. Joining my voice, my gifts, my strength, and my will with others you have called, we are your people; we are your ambassadors, your representatives in this world. Guided and strengthened by your Holy Spirit, may we hear your voice clearly and do its bidding joyfully, hopefully, that the world will know you live and reign. Amen.
Saturday, March 26
Texts: Psalm 32; Exodus 32:7-14; Luke 15:1-10
Prayer: How I thank you, O God, that you do not give up on us! How good it is to know that you do not act toward me as I have deserved! You forgive, not because our sin is unimportant, but because of your sheer mercy and grace.
Thank you for seeking when I was lost and resisted your grace that I might be found. Thank you for enduring my rebellion, even when I knew your loving commands and sinned nonetheless. I did not and will not deserve your goodness. May such patience, such love, such self-sacrificing mercy become my way, for that is what you have called your people to do and to be–loving examples of the Father’s love for those who have gone astray. Amen.
Friday, March 25
Texts: Psalm 32; Joshua 4:14-24; 2Corinthians 5:6-15
Prayer: Oh God, I prefer walking by sight rather than by faith. I long for the concrete evidence, the visible proof that no one can question. It seems too difficult to move forward toward that which is unseen yet promised, intangible yet fully guaranteed.
Teach me your wisdom, Lord; teach me your ways. For all that can be seen is temporary and can pass away in a moment. You are beyond all moments, yet present in each one of them. Teach me your grace, Lord; for all the things that no one knows but you–things I have done, thoughts I have entertained, words I have spoken that deny that I know you at all. For your forgiveness I plead; for the faith that you will do so when I confess I give you humble thanks. Amen.
Thursday, March 24
Texts: Psalm 32; Joshua 4:1-13; 2Corinthians 4:6-5:5
Prayer: In my anxiety, my Father, I forget that You are with me. Your presence is not always felt; sometimes I question not only whether you are there, but whether you are real. So small is my faith. The cares of the world, the temporary triumph of evil, the veiling of that which is good, and the momentary pain all raise doubt in my mind.
Give me those reminders of how you have guided and protected in the past, not only in my life, but much more in your faithfulness to others in the past, some of it recorded in the Bible for my good, some of it reported by faithful witnesses since that time. You will not forsake; you will be there. Please give me a growing faith that I may know this at all times. Amen.
Wednesday, March 23
Texts: Psalm 39; Numbers 13:17-27; Luke 13:18-21
Prayer: Ah, Lord, how often have I seen the size of the enemy while ignoring the power of My God! How often have I said no to the tasks set before me, fearing the obstacles more than trusting the One who called me! How great and terrible the ways of the world and how steadfast and sure my Savior!
Keep me closer to the Word that I might gain the confidence and certainty that the task before me is not too great, no matter the difficulties. I want to learn first-hand the overwhelming power of Your Spirit to overcome every hindrance that I see and others I do not. Forgive my sins of fear and hesitation; let them not rule over me another day. Amen.
Tuesday, March 22
Texts: Psalm 39; Ezekiel 17:1-10; Romans 2:12-26
Prayer: Father, today I thank you for the law written on the heart and for those who follow it, even though they do not worship or know who you are. Too quickly do we think that only those who have joined themselves to the church can do that which is good and resist that which is evil. Too quickly do we draw lines around those we think are acceptable to you, separated from us, and therefore of lesser value to us and to you. To the shame of your people, many times those outside the church live according to your truth more closely than those inside.
Your love is boundless; our is so limited. Your grace acts for the good of all; ours is often limited in its reach and to whom it will be given. Today, lead me to rejoice in righteousness wherever it may be found, in justice where it is practiced, and in love whenever it is displayed. I want to give up judgment, for that belongs to you alone; I want to give up hypocrisy, for that is our sinful heart exposed for what it is. Forgive me for practicing it, I pray. Amen.
Monday, March 21
Texts: Psalm 39; Jeremiah 11:1-17; Romans 2:1-11
Prayer: Lord, it’s so easy to find the faults in other people’s lives. I have heard your word, and I confess the times that I spend too much time thinking of the judgment it brings upon others, and too little about how the same thoughts and desires I despise in them also reside in me. I go to worship, yet only as a way of thinking of myself as being better than those who do not.
Let me see myself more honestly today. I have nothing to offer that will place me above any other person. I cannot add to my life through anything I gain, other than your goodness, found in following the way of Jesus. I confess that I’ve poured too much of myself into things I thought would make me complete; yet they only give temporary blessing and fleeting relief for my spirit. Let me seek you, rather than the gifts you have given. Amen.
Sunday, March 20
Texts: Psalm 63:1-8; Isaiah 55:1-9; Luke 13:1-9
Prayer: O God, Your wisdom surpasses ours by so much. Your purposes are true and right, but they are hidden from our sight so often because of our very limited perspective on times and seasons.
It is never the time or the season to do that which is evil and to shun that which is good. May Your grace be upon us so that we might seek what we truly need and follow where we truly need to go. Forgive our pretensions to knowledge, our confidence in what we can do apart from Your Spirit. Let us not doubt when truth seems so far away, and when times become difficult, and when suffering comes upon us. Let us not judge those who are oppressed without also examining ourselves. For all have sinned and come short of your glory. That includes me, O Lord. Have mercy, I pray.
Saturday, March 19
Texts: Psalm 63:1-8; Isaiah 5:1-7; Luke 6:43-45
Prayer: Father in Glory, You have made us for purposes we are not fully aware of. Made to shine, made to reflect Your very own nature of love to the world, where that same image has been hidden, denied, and tarnished by choosing evil instead of good.
Your redemptive love seeks to restore, yet it only works through those who truly know You, those who seek your heart that their own might be a copy of yours. Forgive me for the ways in which I have molded my heart around the things and the ideas that fight against Your purpose. Too much have I sought to produce for myself rather than for You, in spite of Your grace and your teaching. Father, in your mercy, forgive me I pray. Amen.
Friday, March 18
Texts: Psalm 63:1-8; Daniel 12:1-4; Revelation 3:1-6
Prayer: Lord, I want to shine. That is your desire for all of your people, that they might shine and lead others to the great light that is your presence. That light is good, true, righteous, and holy. It exposes all other forms of wisdom for the prideful and destructive ways they are. Make me wise unto salvation for the sake of those around me.
I pray this day for discernment, so I might recognize the true, the good, and the beautiful and embrace it with all my might; and I ask for the strength and courage to reject those ideas and hidden thoughts that are false, evil, and ugly at their core. May those around me know the way more clearly because of how you live in me. Amen.
Thursday, March 17
Texts: Psalm 63:1-8; Daniel 3:19-30; Revelation 2:8-11
Prayer: Father, we all want to believe that in the day of trial and tribulation we will remain faithful. I want that, too. Yet when I see what your servants of the past were called to face, I wonder if I could walk into the fire without knowing that you would preserve my life. When I read of your judgment on the church at Smyrna, will I be found among the faithful who have withstood the temptations of the day, or with those who dishonored your name by living by the ways of the world?
Let me live this day, I pray, knowing that how I respond in things that seem small will determine how I will handle those larger trials that will come when I do not expect them. Speak your word of life continually in my ear. Amen.
Wednesday, March 16
Texts: Psalm 105:1-15, 42; 2Chronicles 20:1-22; Luke 13:22-31
Prayer: Jesus, I want to dwell in your house, not only on the day you close the doors forever, but now. For there alone can I find nourishment for soul, body, and mind; there alone can I learn how the ways of God are wiser, stronger, and deeper than the ways of the world.
I confess the times when your promise and the sight of the world around me leave me confused and bewildered. What I see does not look like what you promised, and it is tempting to seek other routes to follow. Like the Israelites before Jehoshaphat, it looks like the way of the world will defeat the promise of God. In those moments, increase my trust, let me dig deeply into the wisdom that made the worlds before there was time, that does not depend on human planning or power. Amen.
Tuesday, March 15
Texts: Psalm 105:1-15, 42; Number 14:10-24; 1Corinthians 10:1-13
Prayer: God of wisdom and power, of holiness and mercy, and of both forgiveness and punishment, I come as one clinging to the promise. You have spared your people through many rebellious actions and attitudes; you have also kept them from thinking they are above your justice, free to do as they please.
May I never think that because You forgive, You will not care about the lack of faith, the loss of hope, and neglect of Your will that tempts me in this world. Give me ears to hear, eyes to see, and a heart to serve by thinking more of Your desires and less of my wants. Forgive me, I pray, for presuming upon Your grace. Amen.
Monday, March 14
Texts: Psalm 105:1-15, 42; Exodus 33:1-6; Romans 4:1-12
Prayer: Lord, if my standing with You depended upon what I have done, surely I would fail. There is nothing I can do to earn your favor, except to believe what you have said. And in my believing, drive away all the thoughts and ideas that wage war against You and against what is good for Your people.
Lead me to see who You truly are as revealed in the inspired words of Scripture. Give me the courage to see myself through the lives and experiences of the people found in those same pages. For like them, I forget what You have done simply because the moment might be hard, the next step might be difficult, or the final destination might be obscured from sight.Today, remind me of Your good and perfect gifts that I might turn from seeking other goals. Amen.
Sunday, March 13
Texts: Psalm 27. Genesis 15:1-12, 17-18. Philippians 3:17-4:1. Luke 13:31-35
Prayer: Father, your call and your promise are the deepest longing of people everywhere. You provided these for all the world, speaking first to one man and then securing this hope for all mankind in the man who was God in human flesh. You came to us so that we might come to you and enjoy eternal fellowship.
Your call and your promise are announced through ordinary people who have heard, have believed, and have obeyed by faithfully walking in your ways. When we fail we not only lose sight of our goal, but we deter others from hearing, believing, obeying, and laying hold on the glorious hope. Forgive me, I humbly pray, for not claiming by faith the power to live in such a way that I invite people around me to follow my example. Lead me, Lord. Amen.
Saturday, March 12
Texts: Psalm 27. Psalm 118:26-29. Matthew 23:3-39
Prayer: Praise belongs to you alone, our God and our King, our Savior and our Guide!
I confess that I bring it to you so little in light of all You are and of all You provide and promise. It is easy to give praise to those who do great things in this world, whether in creating and performing great art, solving previously insurmountable problems, answering previously perplexing questions, or excelling at feats of strength. Perhaps it shows that I think of these too much and of you too little. Set my mind upon my true hope, my sights upon my true Master. May his praise be continually in my mouth. Amen.
Friday, March 11
Texts: Psalm 27. Genesis 14:17-24. Philippians 3:17-20
Prayer: Like Abraham, like David, like Paul, like so many of your faithful servants through many ages, my true hope, O God, is not bound to this world. It is not dependent upon circumstances or upon fortunes that rise and fall with the rising and setting of the sun. My hope is secured by the promise of the creator, not by the armies of any nation.
Forgive me Lord, for taking my eyes off the true prize and settling for porridge now rather than the feast of the future. Let me see the challenges of the world as the temporal hurdles they truly are, for they will fade in the distance when the finish line is reached. Amen.
Thursday, March 10
Texts: Psalm 27. Genesis 13:7, 14-18. Philippians 3:2-12
Prayer: Sometimes, Lord, the enemies that surround me are my own thoughts, my dreams, my own plans. They take me captive and threaten to subvert my confidence that true life and true hope, true security and true value are found when I am sheltered within the truth of your word.
You have given all that I need; nothing I bring with me can make me more acceptable to you, except for my daily acknowledgement that you are what I need. Keep me true to this confession as I continue through this day. For you are sufficient. Amen.
Wednesday, March 9
Texts: Psalm 17. Job 1:1-22. Luke 21:34-22:6
Prayer: Jesus, it’s so easy to be caught up in the things that are happening in this world. All around us are claims of business, of pleasure, of news that does not necessarily concern us–yet we tune to it, anxious to know the latest word, the newest trend, the popular opinion. We grasp and we worry, we speculate and we fret. The anxieties of life surely draw us from the sound of your voice.
Like those who came to hear you teach at the temple, I need to come to you each morning to hear your voice, that the real and present dangers that do surround us in this troubled world may be seen in the light of your truth. For only you know the end from the beginning, and only in you will all things be made right. Amen.
Tuesday, March 8
Texts: Psalm 17. Zechariah 3:1-10. 2 Peter 2:4-21
Prayer: So many voices, O God!
Some with truth, many with lies, some with lies pretending to speak for You, all shouting to be heard, wanting to be followed. In this age of confusion, give us ears tuned to Your Spirit’s voice, keenly aware that we need to hear things we’d rather not hear; that we need to reject some of the things we like to hear to gratify the flesh.
Forgive me, Lord, for seeking the impossible ground of having the Spirit of life and the spirit of the age dwell peacefully together. Let me finally stand with the one whom the Accuser could not touch or disparage. Remove deception far from me, I pray. Amen.
Monday, March 7
Texts: Psalm 17. 1 Chronicles 21:1-17. 1 John 2:1-6
Prayer: I confess, O Lord. I confess that my confidence in keeping myself true to Your ways, Your desires, and Your will is misplaced; for in You and in You alone is there grace and power to withstand the temptations that overtake me in a moment’s notice. And in You alone is there the forgiveness that I need when I fall.
Let my mind be ever aware of the danger to myself and to others who depend upon me when I follow ideas and plans You have not ordained for my good. Your designs for life are righteous and good, whether I see their intent or not. Keep me from the foolishness of thinking that I, the clay, could know better than the potter how I should be made. I want to trust You more to create within me all that You know I can be and work through me blessing rather than hardship for those who depend upon me. Amen.
Sunday, March 6
Texts: Deuteronomy 26:1-11. Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16. Romans 10:8-13. Luke 4:1-13
Prayer: To come before You, O Lord, is so great a privilege; may I never forget. To have life with abundance of food, clothing, a place to live, people of peace with whom to share the goodness of the land in which we live is so great a gift; may I never presume that it is earned. To have the hope that only Christ can bring is so great a joy; may I fail to share what I have found in Him.
Keep me so close to Your Word, I pray, that the provisions of the earth will never overshadow the Provider in my priorities and my plans. Reinforce daily that I cannot live without the Word of the Lord, which is the Bread of Life; provoke my soul when easier but ungodly ways of obtaining what I need or want tempt me to follow another path, another voice. Forgive my sin, I pray. Amen.
Saturday, March 5
Texts: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. John 12:27-36
Prayer: Eternal Father, Author of time and space, hear my prayer today. It is beyond wonder that I can even come to You; for Your very being is a mystery too great to be explored. Yet You ask us to come, You tell us You know us, little as we are. And You know the times and seasons of the earth, not only concerning weather and climate, but concerning trends of politics and philosophies, history and cultures. You are never surprised.
How foolish and selfish I am to question when and how You come to my aid, to change the things I do not like or understand. Yet I have done this. And I ask Your forgiveness. I seek a renewal of my mind, that I may grow in wisdom by seeking Jesus, the Light of the world when darkness and doubt tempt me to object to Your seeming inactivity in the face of trouble. Let me rest assured of Your perfect timing in all things. Amen.
Friday, March 4
Texts: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16. Exodus 6:1-13. Acts 7:35-42
Prayer: God of constant faithfulness, I ask You today for eyes and ears that are so focused on Your Word that the sights and sounds of the day will not deter my confidence in You. I ask for the strength to believe when those around me do not. I ask for courage to walk in Your way, even when it means I might do so without the companionship of those close to me.
Forgive me, I pray, for holding too tightly to the words and opinions of the world. Sometimes they come from those who worship with me, sometimes from members of my family. When this happens, may Your Holy Spirit shout to me that Your Word alone is truth. Set my feet more firmly upon it, that I will stand firm, even if I stand alone. Amen
Thursday, March 3
Texts: Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16. Exodus 5:10-23. Acts 7:30-34
Prayer: Dear Lord, sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is confusing. Sometimes it is costly. Following You seems like the right thing, even the only thing to do; yet it comes with conflict. I want to believe, I want to trust. I hear the promise that You will provide and protect; yet at times I cannot see because the unbelieving world crushes my spirit and blinds me to the truth.
Today, Lord, I repent of my unbelief in times that are difficult, when it becomes too easy to give in, too tempting to take my eyes off You. For the many witnesses in history who have paid higher prices for faithfulness than I have been called on to pay, I give You thanks. And I ask for the same grace to endure that You provided for them. Amen.
Wednesday, March 2. Ash Wednesday
Texts: Joel 2:1-2, 12-17. Psalm 51:1-17. 2 Corinthians 5:20-6:10. Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21
Prayer: Lord of heaven and earth, I call on You today in answer to the trumpet call of Lent. Through many years, Your people have been told to remember the life and death of Jesus by coming before You in repentance. As I hear the call yet again, I ask You to to be the one who does the searching of those thoughts, words, actions, and attitudes which keep me farther from You.
You have called me with countless others as ambassadors to a world that does not know You. Cleanse me for the task, I pray. May I never forget that it is Your work, and that You alone can give me what I need to fulfill it. I bring nothing of my own; may I never become proud, as though You need what I have. It is always the other way, for I need Thee every hour. Amen.