15 February 2018
This past Wednesday evening 40 of us gathered in the sanctuary to kickoff a unique season of prayer. It was Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent, the forty-day period (not counting Sunday’s) prior to Easter. The Lenten season focuses our attention forward to the time-altering, soul-saving, Satan-defeating, death-destroying victory that Jesus accomplished at Easter.
If the Lenten season for you brings with it the bad baggage of painful penance and the denial of things that bring you joy, then we invite you by faith and hope in Jesus to leave those bags in the coat closet of the past and embrace this season as a new invitation from the Lover of your soul to draw near to Him in prayer.
We heard an encouraging exhortation from David Cist. For him, Lent represents an exciting season of “laying aside the sins that so easily entangle” (Heb. 12:1) along with a fresh opportunity to reorder the affections of our hearts onto Christ who, because he loved us, died to set us free from all that would enslave us. This is our desire for this season.
We are choosing to lean into Lent as a season of renewed emphasis on prayer for several reasons. First, because we sense the Lord leading us to do this. Secondly, that the light of the glory of God’s living presence and manifest power would shine through Hope into our surrounding communities. Third, to individually deepen our devotion to Jesus so that we will more mightily glorify his name throughout the Easter season. Lastly, to corporately seek His face for wisdom concerning imminent decisions for our church body aimed at magnifying the glory of his name through us.
Therefore, we are changing the shape of our weekly Tuesday evening prayer gatherings from now through Easter. We’re moving out of the prayer room and into the sanctuary. We will begin promptly at 7:30 p.m. with a 10 minute devotional thought, led alternately by Todd and Iain, from the book Fifty Reasons Why Jesus Had to Die (available in hard copy in the lobby or in free digital format here). There will then be 20 minutes of silent, personal prayer, followed by 30 minutes of corporate prayer. A printed prayer guide containing specific requests will be available each week. Requests you want included in the printed handout should be emailed to Alisa by 2:00 p.m. each Tuesday.
How should you respond? There are several ways. Plan to attend at least one Tuesday evening prayer service over the next six weeks, though you are welcome to attend each one. Commit to more intentional times of prayer during the next 40 days. Consider fasting one meal on Tuesday’s and spend the time in prayer that you’d normally spend in eating. Plan now to participate in the next 24-Hour Prayer Watch, March 23-24.