Prayer & Study Guide
Turn around &
Find new life
Repent, for the kingdom of God is here!
Special Days of Lent
Ash Wednesday – Jesus “sets his face toward Jerusalem – and so do we.
Wednesdays – 6:30pm meal and vespers
Palm Sunday – Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem – we enter the sanctuary with palm branches
Maundy Thursday –Jesus’ Last Supper with the Apostles.
Good Friday – Jesus’ trial and crucifixion
Holy Saturday – A time of waiting in prayer – grieving Jesus’ death and waiting quietly for the resurrection
Easter Sunday – Jesus is Risen, Christ is Risen Indeed!
Lenten Sermon Series:
Christ living in me…
Use these verses and brief notes as prompts for your own reflection and prayer on the Sunday scripture. Take some time during the week to read and pray through the passage. Share with others the things you discover.
2/26 When its time for a turn-around
2 Chronicles 7:11-22 ~ 14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
What are some signs in your life that it may be time to turn in another direction? How do you do that and what might help?
3/4 None are beyond hope
Ezekiel 18 ~ 30 Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit!
When have you felt beyond hope? If not you, who do you know who has or does feel beyond hope, beyond the reach of God’s love and grace? Ezekiel suggests that no one is beyond God’s reach.
3/11 Without repentance, we can’t be ready Matthew 4 ~ 17 From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
Lent is a season of preparation – opening ourselves to God’s work of making us new creatures in Christ and preparing us for Kingdom work. This always includes a new exploration of repentance as we seek to have God clear away any obstacles to the Holy Spirit’s work in and through us.
3/18 Sins of believers worse than those of the world? Luke 13 ~ 2 He asked them, “Do you think that because these Galileans suffered in this way they were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did.
Jesus warns that the sins of believers will be judged more strictly than those of unbelievers. How does that affect where we focus our attention and energy?
3/25 Repentance reshapes life
Acts 2 ~ 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you, for your children, and for all who are far away, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to him.”
As we change direction in our life through repentance, we also move into a time of formation or re-formation – i.e. our life changes shape, and is formed in new ways. We become like a lump of clay that is softened and then worked by the master potter. Repentance is essential in that process of softening heart and mind so that we are open to God’s creative work.
4/1 Everyone can change!
Acts 17 ~ 30 While God has overlooked the times of human ignorance, now he commands all people everywhere to repent.
The message is not just for people of a particular race, ethnicity, religion or tradition. God’s offer of new life is for all people. How are we receiving it, and how are we living and sharing it with others?
4/5 Lord’s Supper –Thursday @ 7pm
We gather for a meal and reenact the Last Supper as we remember Jesus.
4/6 Good Friday – 7pm
We remember Jesus’ courage and suffering for our salvation.
4/6-8 – 7pm Friday-7am Sunday
Join in our 36 Hour prayer vigil.
4/8 He is Risen!
Matthew 28 ~ 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.”
Talk about a turn-around! Repentance often feels like a death, as we leave behind (or ‘die to’) old ways of thinking, speaking and acting. We may be fearful of going through this process, but Jesus’ resurrection assures us that new life awaits.
Praying with scripture
One of the ways we grow to be more like Jesus is by learning to pray with him – by praying with scripture. Jesus prayed from the scriptures his entire life, even to the cross. And even more deeply, since we claim with John that Jesus is the Word of God, and that in Scripture we also find the Word of God, that when we pray the scriptures, we are praying with Jesus. So, how do we do this?
1. Put yourself in a quiet place where you can concentrate on the words and your own thoughts without interruption.
2. Acknowledge to yourself and God your complete dependence.
3. Express to God your desire (to be more loving, to learn forgiveness, to know God’s leading, etc.)
4. Read the scripture, not to study it, but simply to hear it. Try reading it aloud; read it several times. Listen for the word, phrase or idea where your heart or mind settle and stay there without feeling the need to rush on. Only when you’ve finished ‘thinking that thought’ should you continue with your reading.
5. Imagine yourself in the scene if it is a narrative passage. If not then imagine yourself sitting at Jesus’ feet with Mary, listening to him teach you. Either way, make note of what you feel and what you think.
6. Now have a conversation with God about what you’ve though and felt.
7. Finish by praying the Lord’s Prayer or another similar short prayer.
8. Briefly write in your journal about your prayer experience.
(Based on the work of Ignatius of Loyola)
For centuries Christians of many traditions have lived their lives of faith through the rhythm of the Church year, or Liturgical Calendar. Almost all Christians at least acknowledge Christmas and Easter. Others add Advent, Holy Week, and Pentecost.
Lent, like Advent, is a time of preparation. Forty days in length (not counting Sundays), Lent mirrors Israel’s 40 years of wandering from Bondage to Freedom, Moses’ 40 days on Mount Sinai, and Jesus’ 40 days of wilderness temptation between baptism and ministry. We may experience several things during this time. God is moving us from the bondage of prisons of our own making in sin and selfishness. God is confirming the blessing of our baptism, “You are my beloved child; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) God is also seeking to move us deeper into faithfulness, until we come to maturity, to the full stature of the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:13).
As we approach the time of remembering Jesus’ trial, death, and resurrection, we are forced to wrestle with our place in that story. Would we have done differently than His disciples? He asked them, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” (Matthew 20:22) Are you able to make the sacrifice necessary to be my disciple? Lent can be an opportunity to once again confront and answer that question.
Many believers have rightly made sacrifice a part of their Lenten observance. Consider giving up (fasting from) something that you particularly enjoy (it must be a real sacrifice to be significant). Perhaps it will be TV, or candy, or caffeine. You may also choose to take on a new behavior, such as more regular prayer, bible study, or service to someone in need. All of these are ways of focusing on Jesus’ person and work, and will draw you closer to Him