Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Lent February 2016 | Wednesday Prayers

Lent Prayers for Wednesdays

Lent creates a space for becoming more fully abandoned to God, and the heart of Lent is identification with Christ. Identification with Christ means more than identification with his resurrection and victory over sin. It also means intimate familiarity with Christ’s humility, trials, and death. This type of dying demands a posture of humility and unconcealed neediness before God. Lent beckons us to consider our true state of existence apart from God. Apart from Christ, our lives are marinated in mess and crumple into darkness and ash. This is the vivid reminder of Ash Wednesday with its imposition of ashes onto our foreheads. With Christ, however, darkness gives way to light and restoration. The theological heart of Lent is embodied by the spiritual discipline of fasting. Self-denial, whether applied to food, activities, or enjoyable habits, frees us for more intimacy with Christ. It creates spaces for reflecting on our radical need for God’s grace. + St. Peter’s Fireside

Lent Fasting Theme Verse: God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. + Luke 6:21

As this is our final day of fasting for February, may God do big things with our little efforts, and may we be even more amazed by Jesus and may He get all the glory for what He is about to do. "The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"  Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God." + Mark 10:26-27

During this Lenten Fast,  Jesus, we need You to:

Morning Prayer | Fill us with wonder and worship of who You are and all that You have done, can do, and will do for us. Remind us that You are with us and are the only one who can lead us and others in the way everlasting.

Prayer Verses: O LORD, You have searched me and known me! You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You discern my thoughts from afar. You search out my path and my lying down and are acquainted with all my ways. Where shall I go from Your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from Your presence? Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! … Therefore (in light of all of the above) let those who suffer according to Your will entrust our souls to our faithful Creator while doing good. + Psalm 139:1-3, 7, 23-24; 1 Peter 4:19 (paraphrase)

Afternoon Prayer | Make us a church of Worcester by giving us multi-ethnic individuals and families who love our city. Make us a church for Worcester by leading us to saturate the region with your gospel, so that every man, woman, and child will have had an encounter with Jesus in word and deed.

Prayer Verses: Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the lifelong friend of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way. … When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord. … For the Lord gave us this command when he said, “I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.” When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.  + Acts 13:1-3, 12, 47-49

Evening Prayer | Enable Emmaus City to multiply City Groups and empower each person to make one disciple by Your Spirit. Give us the opportunity to host Sabbath gatherings weekly as You connect many in Worcester with us across neighborhoods and income levels.

Prayer Verses: And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. … And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. + Acts 2:38-41, 46-47

Dear Jesus, I'm barely into Lent and already I realize how weak I am, how powerful my appetites are, and how much I take the gospel for granted. I choose to deny myself one little thing, yet my mouth waters, my taste buds engage, and I want, I want, I want. Oh, that my hunger for You would be as compelling as my hunger for every other kind of bread. No bread endures to eternal life except the bread that You give. Indeed, all breads except the Bread of Life will ultimately spoil. During this season of Lent, renew our craving for the manna of the gospel. Intensify our longings for the day when we will feast together at the wedding feast of the Lamb. Ignite our hearts to sing with vigor, "Bread of heaven, feed me till I want no more!" To come to You today is to never hunger for eternity. Jesus, may the gospel come alive in profound and transforming ways. Satisfy our appetites as no other bread can. Because the Father has placed His seal of approval on You, we find our approval in You. We pray with hope, in Your satisfying and sufficient name. Amen. + Scotty Smith, Everyday Prayers

Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him God the Father has set His seal. Whoever comes to Me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in Me will never be thirsty. + John 6:27, 35

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