Prayer for God's Mission and Lent-Part 1
Sometimes God just tells me things in the weirdest of places. This time, it was the Hannaford (grocery store) in Gilford, New Hampshire. Gilford is where I grew up; Hannaford in Gilford was my first long term job; and it was the day after Christmas. My wife and I went to the store to buy the items needed to bake our son a cake for his birthday. As we walked around, I started thinking about Lent, a season that leads up to Easter, and this journey I’m on to discover missional prayer. Then I realized it was God talking to me - that there is a connection to Lent and His mission. Since I’m the writer, I sense Jesus telling me to write about what I’m discovering. That it is time to start writing in preparation for a book on the subject of missional prayer.
My Thoughts on Lent
Ashes are a symbol of reptence
I grew up Catholic, but it has been a while since I’ve been a part of a church that celebrates Lent. So, I took some time to read about this season in preparation for writing these blogs. In summary, Lent is a time of preparation and this preparation is done with prayer, fasting, repentance, almsgiving, and self denial. As I reflect on what I read, all I can think about is that there is preparation for God’s mission. That it is good to take the time to allow God to work in our lives so that we have the Holy Spirit flow from us to others. A friend of mine said that sometimes God’s role for us in His mission is for us to be in Him and not worry about the doing. My challenge to you during Lent is to be with God and allow him to form you.
Jesus Getting Ready for HIs Ministry
Where does the 40 days come from? Well, there are a couple of “40’s” that we can talk about here from the Bible. One is the 40 days and nights of rain that caused the flood that Noah built the Ark for; there is Moses fasting for 40 days before getting the ten commandments; and don’t forget the 40 years that Israel spent in the wilderness before taking the Promise Land. What I think we should focus on is the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness fasting in preparation for His public ministry. I go back to the idea of God working in us so that He can work through us. Jesus, being God incarnate, knew he needed those 40 days with His Father so that he would be ready for His ministry. My question for you is, how much more do we need to spend time preparing for what God has for us? To take the time and allow him to form and equip us for the work he has for us.
It is all about Prayer
A Note For My Brothers and Sisters in Churches that Don’t Celebrate Lent
I visited a church recently where I heard this comment, “that sounds Catholic, we tend to avoid that here.” In some parts of the church there is an anti-Catholic sentiment out there. My goal here isn’t to move people from their church to the Catholic Church, but take a tradition from them and use it as a tool to form us, His church, and to do the work of His mission. The nice part is, Lent is basically doing that already. Lent is a time to celebrate the events leading up to Jesus death on the cross and His resurrection. It is a time for us to realize that we are sinners in need of a savior and being motivated to share about Jesus to a dying world. My hope is that you will not be scared away from this series of blogs because I’m using a Catholic tradition, instead you will embrace the parts that is going to help you seek God in fullness so that you can be a part of His mission.
Here is a list of ways you can be praying to help you get ready for Lent this year.
Do you have an idol? (there are many different kinds of idols)
Is there a sin in you that God is revealing?
How will you fast? Fasting is just about not eating, but it can be taking a break from Facebook, watching sports, etc. Ask God what you can stop doing in order to spend more time with Him.
Is there a ministry God has been tugging at you to to give to and to give yourself to? Is there something you can give up to help support this ministry - as a sacrifice?
Where is God calling you to serve?
How does God want to form you during this time?
Is God calling you to give something up - again, as a sacrifice?
What scriptures should you focus on during this time?
What would you add? Please share you thoughts on how we can be praying before we enter this season.
Bottom line here is to bring your conversion to completion. I’m not talking about your salvation, but your conversion to the image of Christ. This my friend means you are a work in progress. A work that only God can do - do right and do completely. Then, as God is forming us, we can share how God is changing us for the better in the hopes that others will join His Kingdom.
I hope that you will join me on this journey. In the meantime, pray, pray, and pray. Early and often.