Lenten Devotionals

 

 

 

WPC Lenten Devotional                      WEEK ONE                                   2/18/18   page 1 

 

 

Introduction: 

During Lent, we will be working on developing a different spiritual practice each week.  For each spiritual practice, we will provide definitions, spiritual importance, scriptures, questions for reflection, as well as spiritual exercises.  This is not a study to rush through, but a process to undertake.  As you go through each week, be intentional to seek understanding, spend time with the scriptures, and try some of the exercises. 

Helpful tips:  Use a few different translations for the scriptures - or a translation (i.e. ESV, NIV) and a paraphrase (The Message).  Also, you may want to keep a journal to write down your thoughts and reflections as you go.

 

Spiritual Practice:  Detachment

  

Definition and Importance: 

Detachment is the process of recognizing and replacing unhealthy attachments (idolatrous relationships, self-serving goals, agendas for success, image) with wholehearted attachment to and trust in God alone.

   

There was nothing Jesus was more attached to than his Father.  Jesus refused to let the world’s values shape his life.  He made a harrowing descent that relinquished his heavenly privileges to live a life of human limitations.  We are called to risk everything, as Jesus did, to follow and trust an invisible God.  We fail to see how even good things like our children, our hopes for loved ones or ourselves, can become the most important things in our lives.  In the practice of detachment, we are called to relinquish control of outcomes and be received as God’s beloved.

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Take one or two passages each day.  Read each slowly, several times.  Try reading aloud and from different translations or from paraphrase.

  

Ask God to show you what He has for you in the passage.   

Reflect on any words or phrases that stand out to you. 

Philippians 2:5-11

Mark 8:34-35

Luke 12:15

Galatians 2:20

Questions for Reflection:

1. Consider how you handle failure, weakness, suffering and loss.  What does this tell you about how you attach or adapt to the world’s view of success, power, or self-worth?

2. When has loss made God more real to you?

3. What about yourself are you most attached to?

 

WPC Lenten Devotional                                                        2/18/18   page 2 

 

Spiritual Practice:  Detachment

Begin each day by slowly reading and reflecting on some of the verses and questions on the other side of this handout.  Then move into a different exercise below.  Try different exercises during the week and record your thoughts and reflections as you focus more on God and less on all else.

 

Spiritual Exercises:

· Recognize your attachment to labels; consider how you use labels to judge and how attached you are to your own labels. 

· Where do your labels for yourself or others get in the way of you really knowing others? 

· How might you enter conversations without asking, “What do you do?”  Come up with other questions you could use that might lead to a deeper appreciation of the other person. 

· Ask God to increase your awareness of your use of labels.

 

 

· Walk through your home or office noticing all you have.  Consciously offer it all God. 

· Take time in prayer to do this thoughtfully.  Tell God that you could live without the things you see. 

· Reflect on how that time of prayer was for you.  Were there particular things or thoughts that were more difficult to acknowledge belong to God?  Talk to God about this in prayer.

 

 

· Consider your reflexive defensive mechanisms (sarcasm, temper tantrums, pulling back, making a joke) that you may be attached to. 

· Make your personal list.  Ask God to make you aware when you are moving into an instinctively defensive response.  What seems to trigger your response?  What response would you like to have instead? 

· Share your observations with a trusted friend, asking them to pray with you.  Ask that Holy Spirit to help you change your attachment to this behavioral pattern.

 

  

· Consider where in your life you most need Christ’s spirit of detachment.  Where do you need grace to pray “Not my will but yours be done”?  Talk to God about what it means for you to pray for His will. 

  

 

 

Material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook, by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

 

 

WPC Lenten Devotional, by Cori Geving         WEEK TWO                                                   2/25/18  page 1

 

Introduction: 

WPC is focusing on a different spiritual practice each week of Lent.  We will provide definitions, spiritual importance, scriptures, questions for reflection, as well as spiritual exercises each week.  God is calling us to intentionally slow down and take time to consider these prayers and exercises.  Helpful tips:  Use a few different translations for the scriptures - or a translation (i.e. ESV, NIV) along with a paraphrase (The Message).  Also, you may want to keep a journal to write down your thoughts and reflections as you go.

 

Spiritual Practice:  Prayer of Recollection

 

Definition and Importance:  The prayer of recollection is a prayer practice that helps us separate from our own strength and cling to God – to ultimately find our identity ‘in Christ’.  There are three parts to the prayer of recollection.  Parts 1 & 2 have verses and reflection questions to consider.  Part 3 allows us to sit with the truths God reveals to us from His Word.  As we recognize our limitations, we can recall to our mind, heart and soul who we are in Christ, and sit in the truth of God’s love.  This simple prayer can lead to a profound freedom that lifts our eyes off ourselves and onto God.

 

Study and reflect on the parts of the prayer and then use the brief prayer steps on the back to make this a regular daily   practice.

 

Part 1:  Affirm and Embrace My Limitations: 

I am a finite person.  Do I really accept this statement?  I need to name and embrace my limitations.  I must also remember the truth that God is unlimited and has ever-present power. 

 

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Reflect on what these verses say to you about God and about you and your limitations.

          John 15:5, Luke 1:37

          2 Corinthians 12:!0, Philippians 4:13

 

Questions for Reflection:

· Where am I weak?

· How am I limited physically, emotionally, spiritually, and/or relationally?

· How do I see God’s grace manifest in my weakness?

 

Part 2:  Affirm, Embrace and Celebrate My True Identity:

As a believer is Jesus Christ, I need to understand who I am.  I must own my identity as a new creation, a one-of-a-kind-masterpiece of God.  I belong to God, I am forgiven, adopted, chosen, and I am beloved of God (forever). 

If you are uncertain of this, then as you read and reflect on the following verses, add the prayer, “I believe Lord, help my unbelief”. 

 

 

 

Material adapted from “Embracing Our Identity in Christ: The Prayer of  Recollection”,

by Larry Warner, www.b-ing.org

WPC Lenten Devotional                                                                     2/25/18    page 2

 

Spiritual Practice:  Prayer of Recollection

   

Part 2:  Affirm and Embrace and Celebrate My True Identity      (continued)

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Reflect on what these verses say to you about God, you, and your true identity.  (You may want to just take 2 or 3 each day.)

          Psalm 103:11-12, Ephesians 1:7, Galatians 4:4-7

          Ephesians 1:5, Isaiah 43:1,4 (7-21), Colossians 3:12

          Ephesians 3:17-19, 1 John 4:16, Romans 8:38-39

 

Questions for Reflection:

· Which verse do I need to pray to understand more fully?

· Can I accept these truths?

· What phrases do I want to take with me today?

 

Part 3:  Be still and soak in the truth that God loves me: 

Although, I am limited, God is unlimited.  I am God’s one-of-a-kind-masterpiece, created afresh in Christ.  Nothing can separate me from the love of God in Christ Jesus.  I choose to rest in this knowledge.

 

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Spiritual ExerciseAfter reflecting on the different parts of this prayer and the scripture references, then make this brief prayer a regular, daily practice.  Carry this in your wallet or enter these short steps into your phone to have with you and practice throughout the day. 

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The three steps of Prayer and Recollection

1. Affirm and embrace my limitations as a finite person. And God’s unlimited power.  - apart from Christ I can do nothing and God’s grace is manifested in my weakness.   John 15:5, Luke 1:37, Philippians 4:13, 2 Corinthians12:10

2. Affirm, embrace and celebrate my soul’s TRUE identity as one forgiven, adopted, chosen by God, belonging to God, containing God, and the beloved of God (all of which does not change) –

Psalm 103:11-12, Ephesians 1:7, Galatians 4:4-7,

Ephesians 1:5, Isaiah 43:1,4,7-21, Colossians 3:12,

Ephesians 3:17-19, Romans 8:38-39, 1 John 4:16

(you may need to add to this step the prayer from the gospels that Jesus heard and answered, “I believe Lord, help me in my unbelief.”
3. Be still and soak in the truths that God loves me, is with me, is within me and I am God’s new creation, a-one-of-kind-masterpiece of God created anew and afresh in Christ.

 

 

Material adapted from “Embracing Our Identity in Christ: The Prayer of  Recollection”,

by Larry Warner, www.b-ing.org 

 

WPC Lenten Devotional, by Cori Geving      WEEK THREE                                                        3/04/18  page 1

 

Introduction: 

WPC is focusing on a different spiritual practice each week of Lent.  Previous weeks are available on the website under “Information is Key”.  Each week, we will provide definitions, spiritual importance, scriptures, questions for reflection, as well as spiritual exercises.  God is calling us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our life with Him and others.  Our prayer is that we will all slow down and take time to consider these prayers and   exercises.  You may want to use a Bible translation that you are less familiar with and possibly keep a journal for your thoughts and reflections.

 

Spiritual Practice:  Gratitude

  

Definition and Importance:  Gratitude is noticing God’s provisions and grace and responding with thanks.  Delighting in God and his goodwill is the essence of thankfulness.  The spiritual practice of gratitude comes from a desire to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting us to live with a grateful heart, aware of God’s work in and around us. 

    

We each have the power to interpret the facts of our circumstances.  We can choose comparison and complaint, which will lead to bitterness.  We can also choose thankfulness for what we do have, which leads to gratitude and peace. 

  

Jesus modeled gratitude for us when he was faced with a dilemma of a lot of hungry people and precious little food (Mark 8).  Jesus began by giving thanks to God for what resources he did have.  Jesus commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 to give thanks.  All God’s commands are for our good and His glory. Our part is to obey. 

   

Study and reflect on the verses and questions in this devotional.  Choose exercises to try and continue during the week and beyond to build a habit of gratitude.

 

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Take one or two passages each day.  Read each slowly, several times.  Try reading aloud and from different translations or from a paraphrase.  Ask God to show you what He has for you in the passage.  Reflect on any words or phrases that stand out to you.  Spend time in prayer about what stands out to you each day.

         

          Mark 8:1-8

          1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

          Psalm 136:1-9 (or whole psalm)

          Philippians 4:6-7 and 4:8-9

          Exodus 16:14-26

 

 

Some material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

WPC Lenten Devotional                                                                                   3/04/18    page 2

 

Spiritual Practice:  Gratitude

     

Begin each day by slowly reading and reflecting on some of the verses on the other side of this handout.  Then take time to consider the reflection questions below.  Follow that with picking an exercise to do.  Try different exercises during the week and record your thoughts and reflections as you focus on all God has given you.

    

Questions for Reflection:

1. How are you addicted to criticism, analysis, or negativity?  How can you move from those immediate thoughts toward gratitude?

2. How has a grateful person affected your own view of what matters most?  How has a bitter person affected your life?

3. When you feel low or unappreciated, what specific verse or thoughts would be helpful to remember?

Spiritual Exercises:

· Begin a gratitude journal by keeping a record of the  abundances God has given you.  Next to each write what it means to you to have a God who interacts and intervenes in your life.

· Notice each physical/relational/spiritual gift you have been given that you did not deserve.

· Take time to thank God for each.

 

 

· Consider a current hardship you have and how you feel about it.  Tell God your honest feelings about the hardship. 

· Where is there evidence of God’s presence in this difficult situation?

· If you cannot yet see God in the hardship, consider the truth that Jesus weeps with you and ask him to help you walk by faith and not sight.

 

 

· What sort of things encourage your thankfulness?  Praise songs?  Worship with others?  Time with friends/family?  Helping someone in need? 

· Plan how you will incorporate these into your schedule this week and on a regular basis going forward.

 

  

· Notice your tendency to make comparisons that leave you feeling dissatisfied or entitled.  Practice abstaining from comparative statements about what you do not have. Instead stop and give thanks for what you do have.

 

 

· Write a letter of thanks to someone who has touched your life in the past year, month, or week. 

 

  

 

 

 

  

Some material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun 

WPC Lenten Devotional, by Cori Geving                                                            3/11/18  page 1

 

Introduction: 

We continue on our Lenten journey with another spiritual discipline to focus on this week.  Previous weeks are available on the website under “Information is Key”.  Each week, we will provide definitions, spiritual importance, scriptures, questions for reflection, as well as spiritual exercises.  God is calling us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our life with Him and others.  Our prayer is that we will all slow down and take time to consider these prayers and exercises.  You may want to use a Bible translation that you are less familiar with and possibly keep a journal for your thoughts and reflections.

 

Spiritual Practice:  Secrecy

  

Definition and Importance:  Secrecy is practicing the spirit of Christ reflected in hiddenness, anonymity, lack of display, and the holding of confidences.  In his earthly life, Jesus showed that he valued secrecy.  Jesus often told people not to tell others about things concerning him (Mark 1:44; 9:9; Luke 8:56).  He also instructed his followers to keep their own good deeds secret (Matthew 6:3-4).  Jesus did all things for the approval of his Heavenly Father alone.  God knows our hearts and our deeds.  Our motivations matter to God.  We must practice being open - revealing our true and secret motivations to Jesus. 

  

Developing the discipline of secrecy can help us hinder the spread of gossip, slander and rumor and enable us to make distinctions that honor God and others.  

    

Study and reflect on the verses and questions in this devotional.  Choose exercises to try as you work to build a habit of doing all for an audience of one - God. 

 

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Take one or two passages each day (or break up longer passages).  Read each slowly, several times.  Try reading aloud and from different translations or from a paraphrase. 

 

Ask God to show you what He has for you in the passage.  Reflect on any words or phrases that stand out to you. Spend time in prayer about what stands out to you each day.

         

          Philippians 2:1-11

          Matthew 6:1-8; 16-18

          Psalm 139:1-4; 7-10; 13-16

          Proverbs 11:13

          Proverbs 30:5-9

 

Some material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

by, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

 

 

WPC Lenten Devotional                   WEEK FOUR                                                      3/11/18      page 2

 

Spiritual Practice:  Secrecy

     

Begin each day by slowly reading and reflecting on some of the verses on the other side of this handout.  Then take time to consider the reflection questions below.  Follow that with picking an exercise to do.  Try different exercises during the week and record your thoughts and reflections as you focus on all God has given you.

    

Questions for Reflection:

1. Do you struggle to believe that God knew you before anyone else knew you existed, when you were created in the secret place?  How do you feel about him also knowing you inner motivations for all things?  Take time to pray about this.

2. How hard is it for you to keep secrets and maintain confidences?  What is like for you to savor something you learn rather than quickly share it?  Talk to God about this.

3. Having read what secrecy is and why it is important, how might the discipline of secrecy address an any addiction you may have to approval or image management? 

Spiritual Exercises:

· Find acts of service that you can do without letting anyone know what you have done.  Pray for wisdom to hear of a need and plan how you can follow through anonymously with a gift or act of service. 

· Talk to God about what it was like for you to get no recognition from anyone.

· Consider setting aside a time and place for you and God alone that is secret.  Consecrate private moments of your walk with God to him alone.

· Choose any spiritual discipline (prayer, gratitude, fasting, giving) or an action you can do for God and do that for a period of time without telling anyone.

· Talk to God about what that was like for you. 

· Covenant before God to keep confidences and secrets.  If you are tempted to reveal a confidence, quickly confess that you are having trouble keeping confidences and that you are trying to honor God in this matter.  Then move to another topic. 

· Brainstorm ways you can strive to be a safe place for others to share secrets.

· Challenge yourself to look for ways to celebrate the achievements of others without bringing up your own.  Journal or pray about how this is for you after a few days. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Some material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook

by, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

 

 

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WPC Lenten Devotional, by Cori Geving              WEEK 5                                                 3/18/18  page 1

  

Introduction: 

We continue on with our Lenten journey of focusing on a new spiritual discipline each week.  Previous weeks are available on the website under “Information is Key”.  As Pastor Jeff has reminded us, God is calling us to ruthlessly eliminate hurry in our lives.  Our prayer is that we will slow down and take time to consider these prayers and exercises.  You may want to use a Bible translation that you are less familiar with and possibly keep a journal for your thoughts and reflections.

   

Spiritual Practice: Practicing the Presence of God

  

Definition and Importance:   Practicing the Presence of God is an invitation to experience every moment as a gift of God.  Our true identity is rooted in Christ, we are children of God, created in the image of God, and our reality is with Jesus.  Practicing the Presence is a way to develop our awareness of Christ’s presence living in us.  Psalm 139 tells us there is nowhere we can go from the presence of God.  As Jesus ministered, He spent time alone with God and then maintained awareness of His presence even when interrupted by the needs of others.  Our world is busy and noisy with constant input vying for our attention.  Stating our intention to be in the presence of God is a way of saying, “Here I am, Lord”.  It can bring the peace of Christ into our moments and open us up to hear more clearly from God.

One helpful technique to return to awareness of God’s presence throughout the day is Breath Prayers.  These remind us that just as we cannot live on only one breath of air, we cannot survive well with only one breath of God.  God is the oxygen of our soul, and we need to breathe him all day long. 

Study and reflect on the verses and questions in this devotional.  Choose exercises to try as you work to build a habit of recognizing Jesus with you in all the moments of your life.    

 

Scriptures for Reflection: 

Take one or two passages each day.  Read each slowly, several times.  Try reading aloud and from different translations or from a paraphrase.  Ask God to show you what He has for you in the passage.  Reflect on any words or phrases that stand out to you.  Spend time in prayer about what stands out to you each day.

  

                             

          Colossians 3:1-4

          Deuteronomy 30:11-14

          John 5:39-40

          2 Peter 1:1-4

          1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

  

 Material adapted from Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by, Adele Ahlberg Calhoun

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