Scripture for First Sunday in Lent: Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Psalm 91:1-2, 9-16; Romans 10:8b-13; Luke 4:1-13

The season of Lent derives its structure and its themes from Christ’s forty days in the wilderness, where he fasted, prayed and faced Satan’s temptations.  This was not punishment; in fact he had just experienced God’s public affirmation of his true identity as “my Son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased.”  Indeed, he was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit as preparation for the ministry that was ahead of him.  There he faced the most profound temptations of the human experience—the temptation to trust in that which is not God for security and survival, affirmation and approval, power and control.

As we enter into our own wilderness time, having committed ourselves to practices which will help us return to God with all our hearts, we will face our own temptations to “give up” and “give in” to that which is not God.  As we begin, let us pray together:

LORD our God
you alone do we worship,   
only your word gives life.
Sustain your Church on its Lenten journey.
When we walk through the desert of temptation,
strengthen us to renounce the power of evil.
When our faith is tested by doubt,
illumine our hearts
with Easter’s bright promise.
We ask this through Christ, our deliverance and our hope,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
holy and mighty God forever and ever.

©Ruth Haley Barton, 2013.  Not to be used without permission. Prayer adapted from Opening Prayer: Collects in Contemporary Language (Norwich, Norfolk: Canterbury Press, 1997), p. 21.

Ruth is founder of the Transforming Center, and author of Pursuing God’s Will Together, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, Sacred Rhythms, and Invitation to Solitude and Silence (InterVarsity Press).

Lent Calendar (Cycle C) and guidance for using the lectionary

Read the post Lent: A Season of Returning by clicking here.

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