40 Days of Lent – An Invitation

Lent begins this week on Ash Wednesday, February 26, 2020. It begins a six-week period leading up to Easter on Sunday, April 12th. The Prayer Journals blog is inviting you to participate in a spiritual journey of fasting and prayer for the next 6 weeks. I will be posting a daily Bible verse and a prayer prompt for personal reflection on The Prayer Journal Facebook page. I will also be posting periodically here on The Prayer Journals blog, but I hope you will join every day on Facebook (click this link: https://www.facebook.com/PrayerPrompts/).

40 Days of Lent – Daily Prayer with Prayer Journal Prompts

The Lenten season is a time for personal reflection on God’s work on our behalf through the telling of Christ’s passion. We devote ourselves to seeking God in our prayers and reading Scripture through the practice of self-control through fasting. We remember with awe and humility God’s sacrifice to win us back to Himself through his son, Jesus Christ, so that we may have everlasting life through faith in Christ. I, personally, will be fasting from food in which I will primarily eat only one to two meals a day with intermittent fasting a minimum of 18 hours. Others may choose a different form of fasting such as fasting from alcohol, television, or abstaining from any activity or habit that may inhibit personal prayer and reflection.

What God has done through Christ

“God has rescued us from the power of darkness and has brought us into the kingdom of his Son, whom he loves. His Son paid the price to free us, which means that our sins are forgiven.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. He created all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible. Whether they are kings or lords, rulers or powers— everything has been created through him and for him.  He existed before everything and holds everything together. He is also the head of the church, which is his body. He is the beginning, the first to come back to life so that he would have first place in everything. God was pleased to have all of himself live in Christ.  God was also pleased to bring everything on earth and in heaven back to himself through Christ. He did this by making peace through Christ’s blood sacrificed on the cross.

Once you were separated from God. The evil things you did showed your hostile attitude.  But now Christ has brought you back to God by dying in his physical body. He did this so that you could come into God’s presence without sin, fault, or blame. This is on the condition that you continue in faith without being moved from the solid foundation of the hope that the Good News contains. You’ve heard this Good News of which I, Paul, became a servant. It has been spread throughout all creation under heaven.”  Colossians 1:13-23 GW

When I pray

When I reflect on the Bible verse selected for the day and the prayer prompt, I will be asking myself questions that will help me draw closer to God and journaling my responses for reflection not only throughout the day but continued prayer throughout the Lenten season.

God who made the choice of my beginning and who will make the choice of my ending has been and continues to be in the middle of all my choices during my times of distress and during times of my joy. He understands my limits, and may I come to understand His limitless power of grace and mercy through Christ’s passion and resurrection.

When I pray, am I prepared to be intensely focused on God’s point of view?

“Make the most of your opportunities because these are evil days. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord wants.” Ephesians 5:16-17 GW

Am I prepared for God to perform with me everything in which He separated me?

“If any of you needs wisdom to know what you should do, you should ask God, and he will give it to you. God is generous to everyone and doesn’t find fault with them.” James 1:5 GW

After He has done his work with me, am I then prepared to separate myself from God just as Jesus did?

“ “I am the A and the Z,” says the Lord God, the one who is, the one who was, and the one who is coming, the Almighty.” Revelations 1:8 GW

Have I made myself one with Jesus so that what controls Christ controls me too?

“So we must make every effort to enter that place of rest. Then no one will be lost by following the example of those who refused to obey.

God’s word is living and active. It is sharper than any two-edged sword and cuts as deep as the place where soul and spirit meet, the place where joints and marrow meet. God’s word judges a person’s thoughts and intentions. No creature can hide from God. Everything is uncovered and exposed for him to see. We must answer to him.” Hebrews 4:11-13 GW

Am I prepared for what this will cost me?

“We need to hold on to our declaration of faith: We have a superior chief priest who has gone through the heavens. That person is Jesus, the Son of God.  We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time.” Hebrews 4:14-16 GW

Am I prepared to set myself apart from the Holy Spirit’s work in me?

“God has done all this. He has restored our relationship with him through Christ, and has given us this ministry of restoring relationships. In other words, God was using Christ to restore his relationship with humanity. He didn’t hold people’s faults against them, and he has given us this message of restored relationships to tell others.” 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 GW

My Prayer Journal – Praying for Spiritual Growth

I begin a new prayer journal for The Prayer Journals Lenten 6-week event of fasting, prayer and personal reflection. In preparation, on the first page of this new journal, I will write out the following Bible verses (GW) with how to pray for spiritual growth.

Ephesians 3:16-19

“ I’m asking God to give you a gift from the wealth of his glory. I pray that he would give you inner strength and power through his Spirit. Then Christ will live in you through faith. I also pray that love may be the ground into which you sink your roots and on which you have your foundation. This way, with all of God’s people you will be able to understand how wide, long, high, and deep his love is.  You will know Christ’s love, which goes far beyond any knowledge. I am praying this so that you may be completely filled with God.”

Hebrews 13:21

“May this God of peace prepare you to do every good thing he wants. May he work in us through Jesus Christ to do what is pleasing to him. Glory belongs to Jesus Christ forever. Amen.”

Romans 15:13

“May God, the source of hope, fill you with joy and peace through your faith in him. Then you will overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Thessalonians 3:5

“May the Lord direct your lives as you show God’s love and Christ’s endurance.”

Invitation - 40 DAYS OF LENT

My Prayer

Lord, bring me close to Your cross that I might know how You loved me and gave Yourself to me. Lord, may I keep Lent in a way that is pleasing to You. As I follow You from the garden to the Cross, do not let me follow from afar that I would deny You. Help me to watch and pray with You that I may not fall into temptation. Enlighten me that I may see by faith that You knelt in Prayer for me, that You, the Holy One, were judged a criminal by whiplashes of angry sinners as my sinless Savior, that You stumbled under the cross as our Suffering Servant, that you died as the Lamb of God in my stead and for my sake.

Lord Jesus, through it all help me hear in Your Prayer the single purpose for which You endured pain and death: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Amen

(Adapted from the Lutheran Book of Prayer)

Getting to know God

I have been writing in a journal since I was a young girl. In the last ten years I have kept a prayer journal to draw closer to God. Are you waiting for answers? Draw closer to God.

I hope you will join me on The Prayer Journals Facebook page during the Lenten season (and beyond) for spiritual growth. May I also ask that you share this blog post on your Facebook page and other social media, as well as, the daily Prayer Journals Facebook posts? I appreciate your participation and value your prayers.

I am praying for you!

The Prayer Journals Facebook page provides prayer journal prompts and inspiration. Please join me there or on Twitter @prayerprompts. If you have a specific prayer request, please email me in confidence at theprayerjournals.com@gmail.com.

God’s Blessings to You,

Head shot 2019 - revised

Sheri

 

© 2016-2020 All Rights Reserved

 

Daily Priority

To_Do_List

Now that my husband and I are empty-nesters, I envisioned more time to keep to a schedule for household chores, exercise, and a consistent writing schedule. My expectations for scheduling was to produce more time to do the two things I love to do the most outside of spending time with my family and friends which is reading and especially, writing. Yet one year has gone by since my youngest child has left the nest for college, and I still have not been able to stick to a schedule.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

I seem to be on my umpteenth attempt, but here I am again trying to formulate a schedule to get the laundry done, folded and stored away among other duties.

Relationships

Ultimately, the same failed attempts can infect about almost anything we are trying to accomplish, especially when it comes to our relationships with others. And for many, our relationship with God. My prayer journal has helped me to stay focused on God and my spiritual life. Yet, even my prayer journal has from time to time been set aside when my attention has been diverted because of health issues or any number of things.

Priorities

It is often said, “you make time for what it important.”

True. However, we are imperfect. And no matter how hard we try, our priorities can get mixed up even when it comes to our most important relationship which is with our Lord and Savior. We may miss church more often than we should and we can rationalize all day long why we missed Sunday service or other church event. Yet the fact remains, we miss out on valuable relationships with people who share our faith, the sermon message that keeps us refreshed and revved up to take on the coming week, and connecting not only ourselves to Christ but helping others to connect to Christ too.

Prayer journal

Our prayer journal is not meant to take the place of our church community, but rather enhance our communication with God.

The most common feedback I receive when discussing journal writing with others is, “I can’t seem to get into the habit of writing consistently in my prayer journal.”

Morning ritual

What has worked for me in keeping my prayer life, and particularly, my prayer journal a daily habit is to go to my favorite sitting area with a fresh brewed cup of coffee with my Bible and prayer journal. I even set my alarm earlier so I have plenty of “me” time with God. It’s quiet in the morning and the time I have spent in prayer and meditation gets my day started off on the right foot.

Even if you have small children or long commutes to work, early morning can be like me trying to keep up with getting the laundry done, folded and stored away. I encourage the idea of ‘setting appointments’ for your time with God and your prayer journal.
“If I can get myself up every day to get to work on time, how is it I cannot accomplish the same feat for my relationship with God?”

“Let this be your chief object in prayer, to realize the presence of your heavenly Father. Let your watchword be: Alone with God.” ~ Andrew Murray

What works for you?

Until I was in the rhythm of morning journal writing, I carried my prayer journal with me throughout the day and I still do. Whether I was in a waiting room or on a lunch break at the office, I had my prayer journal and fountain pen available. Rather than looking at my iPhone and posting to social media, I was mulling over my thoughts with God.

Getting in or out of the habit

Just like laundry, exercising, writing in my journal or attending church, I, too, have gotten out of the habit of making essential ‘appointments.’ God understands my daily struggles and my prayer journals have been the motivation to get me back on track and into the habit of making Him my first priority in all ways!

I often re-read my journals to reflect on how far He has brought me out of the wilderness of hurt, sin, and sorrow, and into the light of love, joy, forgiveness, and happiness. I know when I bring my every day struggles, big or inconsequential to Him in prayer and in my journal, I can accomplish all that He wants me to accomplish whether it is sharing Christ with others or, even if it is merely doing the laundry.

“Christ gives us confidence about… God’s presence. By ourselves we are not qualified in any way to claim that we can do anything. Rather, God makes us qualified.” 2 Corinthians 3:4-5

Something new here at The Prayer Journal blog!

From time to time, I will be reviewing Christian themed books to help you in your prayer journey and journal writing experience. You will find all book reviews archived in the category “Journal Book Reviews.” Stay tuned for future book and devotional reviews.

“May the Lord Jesus Christ’s good will, God’s love, and the Holy Spirit’s presence be with all of you!” 2 Corinthians 13:13

May I pray for you?

I enjoy reading your input. Please message me here or email me at hoot@thebloggingowl.com

Twitter feed: @PrayerPrompts

Blessings!
Sheri

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