By Rachel Dawson, Crosswalk.com
This 40-day season of Lent isn’t one I always acknowledged, much less appreciated. (No shame if that's you, too!) It’s only been recent, as I’ve come to see the beauty and richness that come from intentionality in my faith, that I’ve chosen to focus my attention and energy on engaging fully in this Lenten season, especially in the area of prayer.
I opened the devotional Bread and Wine: Readings for Lent and Easter this morning and read a quote that struck me:
“Lent is the season in which we ought to be surprised by joy. Our self-sacrifices serve no purpose unless, by laying aside this or that desire, we are able to focus on our heart’s deepest longing: unity with Christ. In him-- in his suffering and death, his resurrection and triumph, we find our truest joy.”
That, to me, is what Lent is all about. Being surprised by joy. Sacrificing ourselves as we focus on greater intimacy and unity with Christ. Finding our truest joy in Jesus alone.
Prayers for Lent
You might first think that Lent is just about giving up junk food or vowing again to create healthy habits in your life, but I’ve found a much deeper (and more powerful) purpose behind these weeks leading up to Easter. I invite you to read on, and see if the Lord might be stirring in your heart as this Lenten season begins. May these Lenten prayers echo your heart's prayers, and this season will be one you come to appreciate in new ways, too.
Lent is a time for prayer and reflection. During this holy season, Christians often pray for God's mercy and guidance as they seek to strengthen their relationship with Him. Here are some prayers for Lent that can help you focus on your spiritual life in Christ:
Thank you for the gift of this season. Thank you for knowing our hearts and our need for rhythms in our lives and drawing us into a deeper communion with you throughout the coming 40 days.
Lord, it can be disheartening to read on Ash Wednesday that all come from dust, and to dust all return (Ecclesiastes 3:20), yet we know that there is more to our stories. We know that you created man and woman from the dust at the very beginning of time (Genesis 2:7) and that you breathed life into them to transform them into living creatures. We know that you are in the business of resurrection-- your very Son went to the cross to show us that no death is final and that ultimate transformation comes through your gift of salvation. Though we were made from dust, and our bodies will return to dust again, we can live in eternal glory with you through the blood of your Son.
May we remember the gift of salvation in this season.
May these weeks leading up to the tragedy of Good Friday and the glory of Resurrection Sunday remind us of who you are, how you love us, and who you have created us to be as your followers.
May we walk through this season intentionally, removing distractions that take our gaze away from your glory. May we quiet the noise that pulls us from adoration of you and puts our attention on lesser things. May we simplify where we have been stressed, may we surrender what has been burdensome, may we repent of what has been sinful, Lord Jesus.
May we see your goodness and your glory in new ways throughout this season of Lent. May we know the depths of your love for us more fully. May we feel the pain you endured for our sake, Jesus, and may we rejoice that you conquered every bit of evil when you rose to life again.
Draw us closer to your heart, so that we might know you better and understand you more completely. We pray that we would not only give things up for Lent but also give you glory through Lent, Lord. May our actions reflect our hearts, and may we worship you through all that we say and do throughout the coming weeks.
Jesus, your journey to the cross was full of betrayal, grief, torture, and darkness, yet your love for us, your people, propelled you onward. Help us to comprehend just how powerful that love is, that you would suffer such a cruel death to make way for us to be with you in glory forever. What a gift, Jesus. What a gift.
May our praise never cease in this season. May our worship be unending. May our love for you find new depths. May this season bring new hope and new healing. May we journey toward the cross prayerfully and purposefully, even through the pain, doubt, questions, and searching.
May we find resurrection life springing up from this old dusty ground, and may we be surprised by joy in all of it. May Easter be a day of complete celebration as we rejoice in our risen Savior and praise our gracious Father.
In you, we find the truest joy, Jesus.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. We praise you in all of it.
Hallelujah and amen.
5 Short Prayers for Lent
If you don't have a lot of time to set aside to pray or feel like you have the right words to pray, don't worry! God knows your heart and any length of prayer is powerful! These short prayers can be used daily or during moments of reflection and meditation throughout the Lenten season to enhance your spiritual journey.
Prayer for Repentance: "Dear Lord, during this Lenten season, help me to recognize my sins and turn my heart toward you in genuine repentance. Grant me the strength to make amends and grow in your grace. Amen."
Prayer for Guidance: "Heavenly Father, as I embark on this Lenten journey, guide my steps and illuminate my path with your wisdom. May your Word be a lamp to my feet and a light to my soul. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen."
Prayer for Spiritual Renewal: "Lord Jesus, during Lent, I seek spiritual renewal and a deeper connection with you. Fill me with your Holy Spirit, cleanse my heart, and draw me closer to your love and grace. Amen."
Prayer for Self-Denial: "Gracious God, as I practice self-denial during Lent, may I grow in humility and reliance on you. Help me to turn away from worldly distractions and focus on your presence and purpose. Amen."
Prayer for Compassion: "Dear God, during this Lenten season, open my heart to the needs of others. May I reflect your love and compassion in my actions, serving those who are suffering or in need. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen."
A Prayer to Know God More
Please help me this day. Give me eyes to see how you are at work in every one of my circumstances. Lord, give me perseverance to increase my understanding of you. Give me a hunger to read your Word and to seek to know you more each day. Just as the dawn comes with its exact precision, help me to trust that You will also move in my life, in your perfect timing and in your beautiful way. In your name I pray, amen. by Tiffany Thibault
A Prayer to Place God First
It is You who rides on the clouds and holds the reign on thunder and lightening. You, alone, sit over all of creation. Creator of the universe, everything and everyone in it, You have named each star and knit each heart. Your knowledge of every creature in creation is intricate, as only one’s creator could possess. Any idol I have set before You in my life, I pray to be revealed, knocked down, and crushed. So many priorities, people, and pursuits threaten to grab my attention and steal my time from You. But it’s You, and my time in Your presence, that fills me with exclusive joy! Make me aware of the off ramps I’m tempted to navigate; the shortcuts that detour and derail me from the life and light of Your presence. I sing to, and for You. You are my Author, Father, and Friend. There is no one or nothing I love more than You, God. Search my heart, and set it right (Psalm 139:23). Cleanse me from my hidden sin (Psalm 19:12). Restore and renew me this day, as I pray.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. by Meg Bucher
Prayer to Walk Humbly Through Lent
In Micah 6:8, You say, “O people, the LORD has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Today we choose to walk humbly with You. We choose to live by Your Holy Spirit and to follow Your lead. Help us to hear You clearly, for we do not want to walk by pride or self-sufficiency, we want to walk with You.
In Jesus' name, Amen. By Cally Logan
A Prayer For God to Bring Beauty From Ashes
In this season of Lent we’re reminded of our own difficulties and struggles. Sometimes the way has seemed too dark. Sometimes we feel like our lives have been marked by such grief and pain, we don’t see how our circumstance can ever change. But in the midst of our weakness, we ask that you would be strong on our behalf. Lord, rise up within us, let your Spirit shine out of every broken place we’ve walked through. Allow your power to manifest through our weakness, so that others will recognize it is You who is at work on our behalf. We ask that you would trade the ashes of our lives for the beauty of your Presence. Trade our mourning and grief for the oil of joy and gladness from your Spirit. Trade our despair for hope and praise. We give you thanks today and believe this season of darkness will fade away. Thank you for being with us in whatever we face and for being greater than this trial. We know and recognize that you are Sovereign, we thank you for the victory that is ours because of Christ Jesus, and we are confident that you have good still in store for our future. We thank you that you are at work right now, trading our ashes for greater beauty. We praise you, for you make all things new.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen. by Debbie McDaniel
A Prayer for Maundy Thursday
You sent your Son into the world,
And before his hour had come,
He washed his disciples’ feet.
You had given all things into his hands.
He had come from you, and was going to you,
And what did he do?
He knelt down on the floor,
And washed his friends’ feet.
He was their teacher and their Lord,
Yet he washed their feet.
Lord God, help us learn from his example;
Help us to do as he has done for us.
The world will know we are his disciples
If we love one another.
Strengthen our hands and our wills for love
And for service.
Keep before our eyes the image of your Son,
Who, being God, became a Servant for our sake.
All glory be to him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, now and forever.
Amen. by Maria Miriam
We remember today, the pain and suffering of the cross, and all that Jesus was willing to endure, so we could be set free. He paid the price, such a great sacrifice, to offer us the gift of eternal life.
Help us never to take for granted this huge gift of love on our behalf. Help us to be reminded of the cost of it all. Forgive us for being too busy, or distracted by other things, for not fully recognizing what you freely given, what you have done for us.
Thank you Lord that by your wounds we are healed. Thank you that because of your huge sacrifice we can live free. Thank you that sin and death have been conquered, and that your Power is everlasting.
Thank you that we can say with great hope, “It is finished…” For we know what’s still to come. And death has lost its sting. We praise you for you are making all things new.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen. by Debbie McDaniel
Thank you that you make all things new. Thank you for the Victory and Power in your Name. Thank you that you hold the keys over death, and that by your might, Christ was raised from the grave, paving the way for us to live free. Thank you that you had plan, thank you that you made a way.
We praise you for your great strength, we praise you for your lavish love. We praise you for you are Conqueror, Victor, Redeemer, and Friend. We praise you that you alone are our Deliverer, you are Worthy, you are our everlasting Father, our great and awesome God.
We confess our need for you. We ask that you would renew our hearts, minds, and lives, for the days ahead. We pray for your spirit of refreshing to fill us again.
Keep your words of truth planted firmly within us, help us to keep focused on what is pure and right, give us the power to be obedient to your word. And when the enemy reminds us of where we have been, whispering his lies and hurling attacks our way, may he be reminded again of his future. For we have a future and a hope in you. We’ve been set free, redeemed, the old has lost its grip, the new has come.
Shine your light in us, through us, over us. May we make a difference in this world, for your glory and purposes. Set you way before us. May all your plans succeed. We may reflect your peace and hope to a world that so desperately needs your presence and healing.
Thanks be to you God, for your indescribable gift!
To you be glory and honor, on this Resurrection Day, and forever.
In Jesus’ name, Amen. by Debbie McDaniel
A Prayer to Come to Jesus as You Are
Lord, Thank you that you are the one that can change me. Thank you that I do not have to change myself. Thank you for dying so that we could have life. Help us not to judge others in sin, but to treat them with love and compassion. Help us come to you just as we are: broken, imperfect, but fully alive and healed by the power of your blood on the cross. Thank you Jesus! The gospel is such good news. Help me live into that each day. Amen.
A Prayer to Be Brave Like Jesus
Dear God, Thank you for leaving us with the Bible, which is “God-breathed” (2 Timothy 3:16) directly by you. Thank you that we have countless stories to read in the Bible of Jesus being brave. Thank you for sending your Son, who lead the way as our greatest example of what it means to advance the Kingdom even if we are hated for it.
We ask that you would give us courage to step out in faith in what you’ve called us to do. We ask that you would encourage us along this journey of being a chosen disciple for you. We ask that when those around us question us or discourage us, that you would give us confidence in you. Remind us that our strength comes from you, and your “power is made perfect in our weakness, that when we are weak, we are made strong through you.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)
We need you and can’t do this without you. Thank you that we don’t have to be strong because that’s your job. Our job is to rely on your strength to get us from one task to the next. We ask for your guidance and direction and thank you for everlasting provision.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen by Alisha Headley
10 Lent Bible Readings and Scriptures for Reflection
Scripture readings during Lent hold profound transformative power for Christians. Engaging with the Bible in this season becomes a spiritual pilgrimage, leading to repentance, renewal, and a closer walk with God. These readings offer strength, guidance, and comfort on the journey towards Easter, celebrating Jesus' resurrection and the embrace of new life.
The power of Scripture readings during Lent and reflecting on what the Bible says is profound and transformative for individuals observing this sacred season. Lent is a period of 40 days (not counting Sundays) set aside for prayer, fasting, repentance, and self-examination. It mirrors the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the wilderness before beginning His public ministry.
Joel 2:12-13: "Even now," declares the LORD, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Matthew 4:1-4: "Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, 'If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.' Jesus answered, 'It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"
Psalm 51:10-12: "Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me 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."
Isaiah 58:6-7: "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?"
Matthew 6:16-18: "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
Luke 9:23: "Then he said to them all: 'Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.'"
2 Corinthians 5:17: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
Matthew 11:28-30: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Romans 12:1: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."
Psalm 34:18: "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."
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