Forgive Our Debts
7 ‘When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words.8Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
9 ‘Pray then in this way:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
10 Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And do not bring us to the time of trial,
but rescue us from the evil one.
14For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; 15but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Lord, help me to look at others with forgiving mercy.
Repent and Believe
12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13He was in the wilderness for forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.
14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’
Lord, give me the wisdom and courage to be able to admit my wrongdoings and move towards you in this season of Lent.
Answer Me, O Lord
A Prayer of David.
1 Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me,
for I am poor and needy.
2 Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; 3be gracious to me, O Lord,
for to you do I cry all day long.
4 Gladden the soul of your servant,
for to you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
5 For you, O Lord, are good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love to all who call on you.
6 Give ear, O Lord, to my prayer;
listen to my cry of supplication.
Lord, please hear me in my times of need and provide a way forward.
Choose this Fast
1Shout out, do not hold back!
Lift up your voice like a trumpet!
Announce to my people their rebellion,
to the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practiced righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;
they ask of me righteous judgments,
they delight to draw near to God.
3 ‘Why do we fast, but you do not see?
Why humble ourselves, but you do not notice?’
Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day,
and oppress all your workers.
4 Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.
5 Is such the fast that I choose,
a day to humble oneself?
Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush,
and to lie in sackcloth and ashes?
Will you call this a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of injustice,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover them,
and not to hide yourself from your own kin?
8 Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up quickly;
your vindicator shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rearguard.
9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.
Lord, let me choose to fast so that your abundance might be shown and shared.
15 See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Lord, let my love for you dominate my life and bring me your fullness.
Reconciled to God
2Corinthians 5:20 – 6:2
20So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.21For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
6As we work together with him, we urge you also not to accept the grace of God in vain. 2For he says,
‘At an acceptable time I have listened to you,
and on a day of salvation I have helped you.’
See, now is the acceptable time; see, now is the day of salvation!
Lord, help me to see that this is the time of my salvation.
I Cry to You Lord
A Song of Ascents.
1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
English: Portrait of John of the Cross (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.
Lord, I believe that you hear me in my distress. Come to my aid.
“In the twilight of life, God will not judge us on our earthly possessions and human successes, but on how well we have loved.”
—John of the Cross
Look at your weaknesses, not at your strengths, and pay attention to what you still need to do, instead of rehearsing in your mind what you’ve already accomplished. This is the best way to get and keep humility.
—-Cloud of the Unknowing
The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
—Jesus of Nazareth
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time.
—-Peter the Apostle
There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.
― Ernest Hemingway
Becoming humble of action and deed is the great calling of all Christ followers. Our words only speak as loud as the deeds and actions that people see in us. There is a great deal said about being humble. Humility defines us in many ways.
HUMILITY – Preachers preach it scholars teach it. Here are a few thoughts on humility.
- Humility helps us to know when to say yes.
- Humility is our best friend when given a demanding task.
- Humility is the best mirror we will ever own.
- Humility teaches us how to handle power and wealth.
- Humility guides when ego pushes us to stray.
- Humility is passing over the mistakes of others,
- Humility is the ability to accept insult without revenge.
- Humility is our friend when we are all alone.
- Humility is the cures pride.
- Humility builds real confidence.
- Humility is minding your own business.
- Humility is the only path to God.
Lord help me to discover that healing powers of humility. Release me from the chains of pride and ego. Allow me to flourish in being no more, or less, than you have made me to be. Guide me through this day as a real person who can put aside the arrogance that so besets me.
Today is Ash Wednesday. The first day of Lent. The Lenten season of the Christian Year when Christians focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. I share with you today a way of fasting during Lent.
THE JOHN WESLEY FAST – A LENTEN DISCIPLINE
What is the “John Wesley Fast?”
Each Thursday evening, after the evening meal, until mid-afternoon on each Friday, Methodist people are invited to follow Wesley’s example of fasting and prayer. During this time he did not take solid food but fasted and focused much of his time in prayer.
What is a fast?
Normally persons do not use solid food, but continue with liquids during such a short but regular fast.
Who is invited to participate in the “John Wesley Fast?”
John Wesley expected the “preachers” to participate, and he wanted all of the Methodist leaders and people to follow this discipline.
Why this pattern?
Methodist people are invited to discover the power in this regular pattern and discipline that John Wesley followed for a half a century. For Wesley, the more important reason for fasting was that fasting is a help to prayer.
As one of John Wesley’s “preachers,” I would like to suggest that this Lenten you observe the “John Wesley Fast” as a Lenten discipline.
As we begin Lent I trust that all of us have some special practice as we begin our journey to the cross. My wife and I have written a Lenten Prayer guide that contains some stories and prayer help designed especially for lent. This guide is available as a Kindle book from Amazon.
Click below to read a sample or purchase.