Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I was raised in the Catholic Church and growing up I never liked Lent which begins this week on Ash Wednesday. You had to be a religious nerd to like Lent as a kid. My wife Kathy liked Lent! She was a religious nerd. If you are unfamiliar with Lent, it is a forty day season (minus Sundays) of spiritual preparation leading to Resurrection Sunday. It typically involves repentance, fasting, self-examination, and acts of service. Lent is about giving up things; what kid wants to give up things? I liked Advent! Advent was awesome with decorations, cookies, shopping, and the anticipation of gifts!
Even as an adult, and a pastor at that, I found myself chafing inside during the Lenten season each spring. That somehow this season should be different spiritually than the rest of the year seemed artificial and contrived. However, as you might expect, over the years I have come to think differently about Lent. I have come to recognize the benefits of spiritual consecration through denying self and focusing on the Lord. The apostle Paul said to Timothy, "train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come" (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
To that end I want to invite you to pick up a copy of "Seek God for the City: Prayers of Biblical Hope" and join us on a Lenten prayer journey. This prayer guide will take you beyond emergency fix-it praying and guide you to pray great things. Each day we will be led to ask God to do something he has promised to do and to ask God to do something he has done before. Additional daily prayer prompts will allow you to bring before the Father all the nations of the world as well as many concerns and topics that burden our hearts and God's. To do this you will need to give up some time each day, denying yourself and focusing on the Lord and his interests in the world.
We will also be using the weekly themes of “Seek God for the City” to guide our preaching; the discipleship groups will engage the prayer guide too. You might not consider yourself a religious nerd but I hope you will join us on this Lenten journey of intercession together, preparing the way for the Risen Lord! Our world desperately needs him.