Lent begins next Wednesday

Feb 09, 2024 by Leoma G Gilley, in INSIDE: Reflections

February 14 is Valentine's Day. It seems strange that the season of Lent should start on the same day, but that's how it works this year. In case you didn't know, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and continues for 40 days or six weeks. Sundays don't count as part of the Lenten season because Sunday celebrates the Resurrection! Traditionally, Christians fast from something during this time. I first fasted from chocolate. That was difficult, but it kept me focused on the season I was in. One year, God seemed to want me to play once a week. I failed miserably at that. A few years ago, I wrote a prayer of confession based on Scripture each day. Those prayers can be found in Prayers of Confession for Lent. Each Sunday has a prayer of praise or thanksgiving.

Here is a sample prayer:
LORD, we confess that fasting (doing without food for a time) is not popular these days, but you have also said that what is more important is to stop oppressing employees and to stop quarreling. We may bow our heads and go through the motions of penance, but if our hearts are not in it, there is nothing to be gained by it. Help us to free those wrongly imprisoned, lighten the burden of those who work for us, let the oppressed go free, and remove the chains that bind people. Remind us to share our food with the hungry, give shelter to the homeless, and offer clothes to those who need them. May we be open and available to others, especially to family members who need our help. Then you will be able to truly bless us. LORD, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Based on Isaiah 58:4-7.