In this is love: not that we have loved God,
but that He loved us and sent His Son
as expiation for our sins.
1 John 4:10
Powerful Ash Wednesday Prayer – Matthew 6
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret – Matthew 6:6
When was the last time you went into your room, closed the door, and prayed to your Heavenly Father in quiet? A real, silent, reverent, and single-minded prayer in a dedicated space, for a dedicated reason, in a dedicated way? Chances are, it has been a while. Life is demanding and time is precious; solitude almost nonexistent these days. And yet, here we are at the beginning of Lent being told to do just that … go into your room and make time and space for God. In so doing, you are also called to be intentional and focused in on your time with Him; and your prayers should reflect this intention. In addition, you should not worry about appearances during this time; rather, focus on what lies at the heart of the matter even if no one else knows what you are doing or why – especially during Lent. This season like no other is a time to reflect, take stock, do penance, sacrifice, and start anew.
As you stand today on the first day of forty in the proverbial desert with Jesus, know that you are on the cusp of possibility. A new spring season is upon you. Another chance to get it right once and for all. The question is, how badly do you want that? Do you want God enough to step outside of your normal routine and make space for Him? Are you willing to make yourself uncomfortable through acts of sacrifice and surrender? The real question is: are you finally ready to begin fasting and praying like our life depended on it? Because it does.
Powerful Ash Wednesday Prayer – Matthew 6 Meditation
Imagine that this Lenten season comes with a fresh and blank slate. This year, you have the ability to create around you whatever your spirit most desires. Ask yourself first how you will fill this newly created space for God. Then assess what you most desire. What you most desire is ultimately how you spend most of Lent. Don’t waste your precious time on spiritual “junk food” – platitudes and pleasantries that look impressive but don’t even scratch the surface of your soul – either. Allow yourself to be propelled forward by that innate desire to draw closer to your Creator. There is a need in you to carve a new path through the weeds of worldliness this year; weeds that slyly choke out the awareness of God’s presence and life-giving love, light, and Truth.
This path, the holy path of salvation, is not an easy road to travel. But it is a sure way forward … and upward. Today, the first day of Lent, is the first day of the rest of your life and it begins with a single step. On this Ash Wednesday, friend, that first step forward is now.
Ash Wednesday Prayer
God, we cannot see You through the dense fog of all the daily demands that clamor for our attention. But we do sense Your presence swirling ever-so lovingly around us. We humbly ask for the grace and wisdom to seek Your face first and always, even as the world continuously bangs on the door demanding of us more than what we can give. In this moment, we just want to remain fixed on You; far away from the world’s view, locked in Your holy gaze. Loving Father, may this Lenten season be a season of sacrifice, surrender, and penance; a time overflowing with prayer, fasting, and almsgiving – all performed in a holy hiddenness. Sanctify and strengthen us as we strive in darkness to do what we ought. Amen.
Today’s suggested penance
Offer your Ash Wednesday fasting for all who are currently ensnared by sin and lost in all things temporal and fleeting.
“You [Lord] are good and all-powerful, caring for each one of us as though [we are] the only ones in Your care” – Saint Augustine.
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