And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?

As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Mark 2:19-20

Lord Jesus, on the church calendar, it’s Ash Wednesday—the beginning of the season of Lent. For the next forty days we have the privilege of surveying your cross, lamenting our sin, and resting in your righteousness.

May we come more fully alive to the depth of our need, and the overwhelming provision of your grace. With no condemnation hanging over us, we ask you to work deep conviction within us. Show us the ways we love poorly, under-believe the Gospel, and over-believe our fears. Keep us from groveling, but not from quieting our hearts, seeing our sin, collapsing on you.

Indeed, we don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Astonish us with your kindness, for your kindness leads us to repentance. Indeed, Lent isn’t about beating ourselves up; it’s about us lifting you up.

You are the perfect Bridegroom who died to make us your cherished Bride. The work has been done, the dowry has been paid in full, and the wedding dress of your righteousness is ours. Hallelujah.

Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself, Jesus. Reveal new dimensions of your love, prep us for the explosive joy of Easter, and intensify our longing for the wedding feast of the Lamb.

With the assurance and hope of your return, we choose to deny ourselves (fast) certain pleasures for this brief season. Meet us. Change us. Free us. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.