I love lent.
I was reading something online which said something like, "Ash Wednesday is the one holiday the secular world won't take over and make it about materialism. Hallmark won't be making Ash Wednesday cards."
Could you imagine? Why? Because Lent, with the beginning of it being Ash Wednesday, is about a season of realizing your sin and complete "human-iss." We are reminded that "from dust we came and to dust we will return." We remember that we are sinful creatures in need of a Savior. It is a season, 40 days, of repentance. We are preparing our hearts for our Christ as we focus on His death on the cross and most importantly, His Resurrection! Do you remember before Jesus began preaching there was a voice crying out in the wilderness (John the Baptist), "Repent! Repent! For the Kingdom of God is at hand!" Lent is our time to repent, to prepare our hearts for the Lamb of God.
"Have mercy on me O God, according to your unfailing love, according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inmost parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop and I wil be clean, wash me and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
CREATE IN ME A CLEAN HEART AND RENEW A STEADFAST SPIRIT WITHIN ME!
Cast me not away from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from the bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Lord, you do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it,
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God you will not despise."- Psalm 51
Lord, I do come before You in spirit of repentance, with a broken and contrite heart. Lord, I confess and repent (turn away from) the ugliness of my heart. I repent of a critical spirit that judges others. I expect others, especially my family to do things the way I would do them, and if it isn't done my way, it isn't "good enough." I repent of complaining. Forgive my heart that complains that "I am doing all the work around here"- all of the laundry, the cleaning.... I know what your Word says- to "do everything as you are doing it for the Lord." It says "do everything without arguing or complaining....so you may shine like stars in the universe." I confess my bad attitude and worshiping at the alter of self. I confess my bad choices. Instead of doing the things You have laid on my heart, I waste precious time. I haven't been a good steward of time and resources. Sometimes I choose to watch TV, filling my mind and heart with the world instead of filling it with You. Aaaahhh! There are so many ideas, so many things you have given me to accomplish, how could I waste my time on silly things????? I am reminded of the parable of the talents. I want to hear You say, Father, "Well done my good and faithful servant- you were faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness." How can I expect You to give me more when I haven't been faithful with what You have already generously given? I confess my unbelief. I say I believe You, but do my actions trust you completely? Am I obedient in all things? And, if I believed You completely, I would be........... Lord, forgive me for going my own way so often. Forgive me for pride-fullness. I don't want to have an ounce of pride in my being, Lord! I don't want to depend on ME, but on you! Lord, I repent of yelling at the kids. I know I have patience and self-control in me- they are fruit of the Spirit. I think I expect too much of Andrew at times. Help me Lord, to be a better mother. How I want to be gentle and humble, to have that gentle and quiet spirit.
Lord, I turn away from all of these things and turn towards you. Help me, Lord! Thank you for Jesus! I am in such desperate need of a Savior! Prepare my heart, Lord for Jesus' coming. Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me! Father, I come before you, crying out for the United States. In your Word, you say, "If my people, who are called by name, would humble themselves and pray, then you would restore us." Lord, as a people, as a Church, we have allowed ourselves to be so far from you. We have rebelled against You and Your Word. Forgive, us Patient Father. Thank You that You are "slow to anger, compassionate and long suffering and abounding in love." Father, I am on my knees, asking You to have mercy on us, to forgive us. Lord, may these 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter be filled with Your Presence. Thank You for Your forgiveness. I love You Lord. In the Precious Name of Jesus, the Name above all names, the Alpha and Omega, the Lamb of God, the Prince of Peace, Immanuel, the Healer of the lame, the One who sets the captives free, the Light of the World, the Bread of Life, the Resurrection, and the Lover of my soul, Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
I love lent.