Six Prayers for Lent
by Christopher Hunt
While observing Lent can involve self-denial, it’s much more than just giving something up. It’s a season to focus on the hope of Jesus Christ through his death on the cross and his resurrection. It’s not about what we do; it’s about what God’s Son did. During this season of Lent, focus your heart on what Christ accomplished for you with these prayers for each week of the season of Lent. Each includes a brief scripture and prayerful reflection.
Six Prayers for the Season of Lent
Week One – Love and Humility – John 13:1-5
It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
Holy Father, thank you for loving us and for sending your Son to claim us as his own. He who loved us to the end, who became our Passover lamb, has shown me how to love. Whose feet should I wash today? This I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.
Week Two – Jesus’ Prayer for His Disciples – John 17:20-24
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but because your Son Jesus Christ whom you sent knows you, I know you. He makes you known so that your love may be in us and that Jesus himself can be in us. Just as he prayed for his disciples on the night of the last supper, so does he still intercede for us from your right hand. Thank you for making Jesus known to me. And thank you, Jesus, for helping me know the Father. In Jesus’ glorious name, Amen.
Week Three – His Sorrow Leads to Our Peace – Isaiah 53:2b-6
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Dear Jesus, how is it that your suffering should be my salvation? Forgive me for all the times I’ve hidden my face from you when my faith was weak, and I was too proud or stubborn to believe. Help me in my unbelief. You bore my sin on the cross, you endured the separation from God that my iniquity deserved. You did it so that I would not have to. Lord, let me not hide my face from your suffering; let me follow your voice so that I turn to your way and not my own. I thank you and pray in your name, Jesus, Amen.
Week Four – Jesus’ Journey to the Cross – Luke 23:39-44
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Almighty God, your Son obeyed your will. Because of your love, he endured the unendurable for the sake of your name and for the people you love. Too easily I fall into temptation and I sleep when I should be praying. May I have the grace to follow Jesus’ example. Thank you for the gifts of your Son and of your Holy Spirit, who gives me the power to be like Jesus. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Week Five – Words from the Cross – Luke 23:39-43
One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”
Lord Jesus, thank you for your words to the criminal from the cross. I am both the criminal who insulted you and the one who believed in you. You could have climbed down from the cross, but because you loved your people—because you loved me—you stayed put. In these difficult days, I take great comfort in your words, “you will be with me in paradise.” In your sovereign name, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Week Six – “Why Are You Crying?” – John 20:11-18
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
Holy Father, why am I crying? Your Son has ascended into heaven with you, his Father. Because of him, his Father is my Father. Why am I crying, for I have seen the Lord! What must have that instant of realization been like for Mary? Shock. Amazement. Gasping joy! “Rabboni!” Help me walk in that kind of joy, no matter what this life hurls at me. You walked out of the tomb, and I can say, “I have seen the Lord!” To whom shall I say, “I have seen the Lord” today? In Christ’s name, Amen.
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