I was not able to post this yesterday, but even though it was written for Ash Wednesday, I think it makes a good reminder as we look ahead to the rest of Lent. May God give us grace this Lent not to focus on whatever we may be giving up, but to focus on “getting more of Jesus,” living and delighting more in His grace and beauty. I add my very hearty Amen to what Pastor Scotty Smith has written and prayed!
A Prayer for Ash Wednesday and a Grace-full Lent
And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Mark 2:19-20
I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19
Dear Lord Jesus, it’s Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the season of Lent. For the next forty days we have the privilege of surveying your cross and acknowledging our need. For your glory and our growth, we ask you to inundate us with fresh grace in the coming weeks.
Indeed, we don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Melt us in your mercies; overwhelm us with your love; astonish us with your kindness, for your it’s your kindness that leads us to repentance. It’s all about you, Lord Jesus. It is all about what you’ve done for us, not what we promise to do for you. It’s not about beating ourselves up, it’s about lifting you up. Our deepest conviction of sin comes from the clearest sighting of your beauty.
That’s why we begin Lent today anticipating our wedding, not our funeral; for you are the loving bridegroom who died to make us your cherished bride. The work’s already done; the dowry has been paid in full; the wedding dress of your righteousness is already ours; the invitations have been sent out; the date has been secured; you’ll not change your mind about us! We are much more beloved than we are broken. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself; reveal new dimensions of your love; intensify our longing for the Day of your return—the Day of consummate joy—the wedding feast of the Lamb.
In light of that banquet, we choose to deny ourselves (fast from) certain pleasures for this brief season; but we’re not looking to get one thing from you, Jesus—just more of you. Fill our hearts with your beauty and bounty. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.
P.S. And even if the good Anglicans among us blanch a little bit at Pastor Scotty’s triple “Hallelujah” in the prayer above (horrors! on Ash Wednesday!! grin….) I pray that we would be so refreshed in the joy of the Lord this Lent that the Hallelujahs for God’s LAVISH grace, mercy and promises would well up and flood our hearts, even if they remain unspoken on our lips. May we have a torrent of Hallelujahs (or Alleluias!) to release on Easter morn.