On Ash Wednesday: A Prayer for a Grace-Full Season of Lent

     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

     I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph. 3:17-19

Lord Jesus, 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. For your glory and our growth, we ask you to inundate us with fresh grace in the coming weeks. Convince us again that we are much more beloved than broken.

Indeed, we don’t want an ordinary Lenten season, Jesus. Melt us in your mercies and overwhelm us with your love. Astonish us with your kindness, for your kindness leads us to repentance. It’s all about you, Lord Jesus. It is all about what you’ve done for us, not what we promise to do for you. It’s not about beating ourselves up, it’s about lifting you up.

That’s why we begin Lent today anticipating our wedding, not our funeral; for 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. The invitations have been sent out and the date has been set. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Over these next forty days give us an insatiable hunger for yourself, Lord. Reveal new dimensions of your love, and intensify our longing for the Day of consummate joy—the wedding feast of the Lamb.

In light of that banquet, we choose to deny ourselves (fast) certain pleasures for this brief season; but we’re not looking to get one thing from you, Jesus—just more of you. Fill our hearts with your beauty and bounty. So very Amen we pray, in your holy and loving name.