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Ash Wednesday

What is God calling you to share this year?

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21

by Kathy Cook

And whenever you fast, do not look somber, like the hypocrites, for they mark their faces to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Mathew 6:16–18
Kathy Cook

Another year has quickly rolled by! February 14 is not only Valentine’s Day, but also Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent 2024. The Valentine’s part is easy for me—grandchildren’s cards have been mailed and I have painted a card for my wonderful husband of almost 50 years.

But, honestly, Lent requires much more prayer and thought as I realize I must finalize my decision today about how I shall walk through these days of meditation, focus, and prayer that make up my Lenten season.

I used to give up desserts. And then I decided to give up other foods or activities that I enjoy. But did I focus on prayer daily while I was giving them up? Did I only share with God?

As I discussed this a few years ago with a group of friends, one suggested that we commit to sharing daily Scriptures throughout Lent. This was a blessing for a few years, but, then again, was God the center of my thoughts?

I moved on to several seasons of gratitude journaling throughout Lent. This was getting closer to what God wanted as I realized that I was receiving daily blessings. However, as I read the above passage I began to question again. What is God calling me to focus on?

And suddenly, as I am typing this I know exactly what Lent 2024 holds for me! I am very excited, but I will not share it with you, it needs to stay in the secret place I share with God.

What about you? Do you give up something for Lent? Or do you add something? Do you do service for Lent? Or write or read special passages? What is God calling you to share this year?

And, more importantly, how do you approach it? What is your Lenten attitude? Are you ready to receive God’s encouragement, provision, and love as you approach these coming days?

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for being clear through Scripture on how we are to approach fasting with you. Please guide us as we begin Lent today so that our thoughts and actions will please you.
Heavenly Father, we are your grateful sons and daughters! We know you will be holding our hands and guiding us through this special season. In Christ’s name, we pray, Amen.

Kathy Cook is the 2024 Children’s Curriculum author and active United Women in Faith member.

The photograph is from the 2024 Prayer Guide.

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