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Spiritual Matters

Focus on prayer as Lent begins

March 05, 2014 - Today, March 5, is the beginning of Lent, a penitential season in the church.

On this particular day, Ash Wednesday, it is customary in many churches to apply ashes to the forehead in the shape of the cross.

Ashes were used in the past to show one's great sorrow for what they had done, to show humility, and to seek God's favor.

As the ashes are applied the words are spoken: "From dust you have come and to dust you shall return."

Because of our sin that we shall all die. Paul tells us: The wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23).

Unless Jesus returns before that time to judge all mankind each of us will die because each of us is a sinner. If that was all there was how tragic it would be! But, St. Paul continues: but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God loved us enough to send His Son into the world to save us from our sin! He loved us enough to send Him to the cross to die for us. Do you know of anyone who would do anything like that for you? God did!

During our season of Lent and through Holy Week our congregation is going to emphasize prayer. Prayer is such an important part of our faith but, too often, is a neglected part of that faith-walk.

We seem to pray when we are facing difficult times and, maybe offer a prayer of thanks when things are going well, but often forget to pray when things are on an even keel.

But prayer is vital in our Christian walk! Prayer is our way of seeking God's will, God's plan, God's desire for our life. Prayer is our line of communication to our heavenly Father. Prayer is setting our own self aside and allowing God to take control as He shapes and molds us to the people He would have us become.

Our focus on prayer will lead us to look at prayers of Confession (admitting our sinfulness to God and one another), Faith (reminding us of the trust we have in God to supply our every need), Supplication (seeking the fullness of God's bounty in our serving Him and fellow-man), Intercession (placing the needs of others before God), Petition ( seeking to have needs fulfilled), Consecration (being set apart as His holy people), Forgiveness (being reminded that our sins have been removed through Jesus' death and merit), and Praise as we celebrate His resurrection from the dead and look at all the blessings He brings us through our time of prayer.

Would you like to join us in prayer? Our focus includes a devotional booklet, weekend worships (Saturday at 6 p.m., Sunday at 8:15 and 11 a.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.) and Bible Study (Sunday at 9:45).

We would be glad to share our devotional guide with you by mail or email. Contact us at 248- 625-4644 or at sttrinity@comcast.net

The Rev. Kendall Schaeffer is pastor of St. Trinity Lutheran Church.

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