Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is hard to believe, but here we are ready to step into the season of Lent. But what does the season of Lent even mean? Several years ago when our daughters were very young, our middle daughter, Amy, came up to me with hands on her hips and with a pronounced lisp declared, “I hope you are satisfied, you made me go to church so much I have a hole in my panty hose!” When you think of Lent and Holy Week, do you think, oh great, multiple more services to attend? Maybe you look forward to the Sunday evening Lenten dinners and programs. Or, maybe you lament that the music during Lent is so somber.

The main focus in Lent is on our sins, how we have fallen short of the glory of God, and our need for repentance and God’s grace and forgiveness for all our sins.

The Season of Lent is 40 days, not counting Sundays. Sundays are always considered little Easters. The number 40 is an important number throughout the Bible:

  • The rains fell on the ark for 40 days

  • The Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years

  • Moses was with God on Mount Sinai for 40 days

  • God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent

  • Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness for 40 days

  • After His resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days on earth before his ascension into heaven

You see, 40 is an important number. So, for the 40 days of Lent, we focus on our sins, just as Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. 

Lent is a good time for all of us to evaluate our spiritual lives and work on strengthening and deepening our relationship with God.

During Lent, many people give up something, or fast. If that practice helps you grow your spiritual life, then please give something up for Lent or fast.

What if instead, we would focus these 40 days of Lent on strengthening our prayer life? Prayer is an essential part of our life in Christ. A fond memory I have of my dad is him teaching my youngest sister Brenda the Lord’s Prayer each night. I could hear them in the room praying over and over again that prayer our Lord gave to us. Prayer is our way of communicating with God. If we aren’t praying, we aren’t communicating with God.

Prayer is an important practice and discipline on which all of us should focus. Maybe we can agree on a specific time that we can all stop, wherever we might be, and be in prayer. Here are a few suggestions for our prayer life:

  • We can be very intentional in our prayers for the church and the various ministries that are offered

  • Pray for our mission teams

  • Pray for our Sunday School teachers and their students

  • Pray for those who provide wonderful hospitality and scrumptious food

  • Pray for the Administrative Council, the Trustees, the Outreach Committee, the Witness Committee, the Nurture Committee, the Finance Committee, and the Treasurer

  • Pray for the Pastor!

  • Pray for the various people involved in both worship experiences: Leap of Faith, our organist Matthew McTeague, the liturgists, the various choirs, the acolytes, the greeters, the ushers, the staff, the nursery attendants, the students and leaders of Junior Church, Fellowship of the Cross. Did I mention praying for the pastor? The pastor always appreciates your prayers.

  • You can always pray the Lord’s Prayer

Let me also offer this easy way to remember how to pray by using your hand. Each finger represents people to pray for.

  1. Thumb: Pray for those who are closest to you, family and friends

  2. Index Finger: Pray for those who teach you, instruct you, and heal you

  3. Middle/Tallest Finger: Pray for our leaders, those who govern, and those who have authority

  4. Ring Finger: Pray for the weak, sick, and those plagued with problems

  5. Smallest Finger: Pray for yourself and the needs that you have

It is my prayer that you have a very holy Lent as we journey together to the cross.

Pastor Russel

Photo by Karl Sinfield