Today is called "Ash Wednesday" and begins the Lenten season, an very important part of the church calendar for some traditions and an ignored one for others. When I was a pastor (in one of those latter church world's) I tried to fall somewhere in between. I've posted about some of those things (including celebrating Ash Wednesday with a nearby Presbyterian congregation) in years past, so won't bother explaining the reasons why I believe that Easter should not just spring out of no where.
Instead, I'm going to use this blog to share something that our church family is doing this year. We are using a booklet supplied by WayMakers to pray in some focused ways during the 40 days that begin today and end with Palm Sunday. I'll use the booklet as a guide too--with some changes (of course). I invite you on this virtual prayer walk with me. Please feel free to leave specific requests or prayers in the comments.
Between today and March 19 we will focus our prayers on seeking God's face. We will follow Psalm 24, which asks, "Who can ascend to the hill of the Lord?" Let's consider this an invitation to come to a place of God's presence.
Loving God, we sometimes think that nearness to You is only for special people, deeply-spiritual mystics. Help us to come to you just as we are. Help us to sense your immense love Help us to abandon our attempts to please you by our performance and instead rely on your grace and mercy. Teach us to number our days as we remember that our time here is limited. For those who will participate in Ash Wednesday observances, we ask that they will be meaningful and a reminder that we need to make each day count. Thank you for Jesus, and for his willingness to be "emptied and poured out" for us, your creation.
Today: Seek God for WOMEN
Pray that women will by honored as created by God and, along with their brothers, in the image of God. I am reminded of a Native American sign posted on the prison chapel where my husband works, "Women are sacred." Pray that injustice of every kind toward women will cease, that pornography to be no longer regarded as "normal" and for protection from sexual violence. Pray that hope will be renewed, that marriage and children will be seen as beautiful, that single women will find joy in their ability to fulfill God's purpose in their lives. Pray for specific women by name, asking God's blessings to be upon them this day.