Isaiah 25:1; John 1:1-2

O Lord our God, long-suffering and full of compassion: Be present with us as we enter this season in which we recall our Savior’s sufferings and celebrate his triumph. Give us your Holy Spirit, so that as we acknowledge our sins and implore your pardon, we may also have the strength to deny ourselves and be upheld in times of temptation through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.  [WSB]

Journey with us, O holy God, as we begin our way to the cross.  Sharpen our focus, that our attention may center more on you than ourselves.  Lead us through the shadows of darkness and prepare our hearts, that we might be a people of prayer, ready to perceive and respond to your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

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Prepare the way of the Lord!  An appropriate response to this announcement is to take stock of our lives, to reconsider how we are living our lives in light of God’s presence and power made available to us in Jesus. And that is what Lent is for, to reflect on our lives as they are and as they could be.  Giving up a habit or a food or a pleasure is not distinctly Christian. People give up things all the time in the name of self-help, or worse, vanity and vengeance. The point of Lent is to reorient life God-ward. This reorientation has to do with desert and wilderness.

A “wilderness experience” in our language usually means one has been gone for a while and now returns with new insight or perspective, “a new lease on life.” Whether it is a trip to the third world, or a hike in the mountains, people are stripped of their usual comforts, removed from the safety of familiarity, and are forced to see the world from a different vantage point.

As you reorient your life towards God in a new way, strive for a permanent re-posturing of your heart towards God and his people.

Adapted from Central Territory Lenten Resources