Lent Devotional: Week One

By vintagechurch  -  On 19 Feb, 2015 -  0 comments

Introduction to the Lent Devotional

Before Lent was the tradition we understand today, an opportunity for church members to repent and seek spiritual renewal, it had a different meaning. Originally it was understood as an intense season of preparation for “Catechumens” (converts under training) who were preparing to be baptized on Easter. The church would walk with these new believers by encouraging, supporting, and praying for them towards the greatest of celebrations: Easter Sunday.

This year, as a church we’re taking that 40-day journey of Lent on behalf of the people in our lives we are committed to loving who do not yet know Jesus (who we at Vintage often call your “love one”), harkening back to the original observance of Lent when the church would walk with new believers. While most of our love ones are not yet followers of Jesus, it is our desire for them to know the freedom and new life that comes only from surrendering to him. This Lenten season we hope to do that with more focus and passion than ever. We are committing the 40 days of Lent to praying, fasting, and petitioning God on behalf of our love one. 

As we walk these 40 days to Easter Sunday on behalf of our love one, this devotional is designed to assist us in the journey. The Scripture verses, questions, prayers, and quotes are all aimed at deepening our faith in God and our love for others. Use this as a tool or resource to carve out time each day where you’re seeking God and praying for your love one.

In addition, as we’re growing our faith through the current series in Hebrews 11, our hope is that it will result in all of us inviting those love ones to join us on Easter. And what if—just imagine—they responded in faith on that day and were baptized? How Vintage Church and all of heaven will rejoice! Let’s believe in God and go to him on behalf of our love one!

PSALM 96

1 Oh sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth!
2 Sing to the LORD, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous works among all the peoples!
4For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
 
7Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength!
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts!
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth!
 
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns!
Yes, the world is established; it shall never be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.”
 
11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
12 let the field exult, and everything in it!
Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy
13 before the LORD, for he comes,
for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness,
and the peoples in his faithfulness.

Introduction to Week One

During this first week, we’ll use Psalm 96 as our text to consider why we share with others about Jesus, and make a commitment to take this journey of Lent on behalf of our “love one.”

According to the introductory notes on Psalm 96 in the ESV Study Bible, Psalm 96 is a “hymn celebrating how God’s kingship over all creation… means that all kinds of people should love and worship him.”

God has always called his people—then, the nation of Israel, and now, the Church—to bear witness to God’s kingship over all creation. They do that in what they say (for example, telling people the good news about Jesus) and what they do (be a blessing to all people). Psalm 96 gives God’s people things they should say and do as they seek to tell others about King Jesus.

For more information on Psalm 96, you can review the notes in the ESV Study Bible.


Day One

Read Psalm 96, focusing on verses 1-6. After reading, answer the following questions:

  • What are God’s people commanded to do in those verses? Why are they commanded to do that?
  • What would it look like for you to follow those commands? (If you don’t understand the commands, look at the notes in the ESV Study Bible.)

Verse 5 reads, “the gods of the peoples are worthless idols…” This can describe anything we put in place of God, or any created thing we elevate to a place of worship. While every created thing in the universe should point us to the glory of the Creator, we as humans will look to created things to satisfy us. This is sin.

  • Consider the “worthless idols” in your life. What things do you look to for satisfaction instead of finding that in God?
  • Consider what the people around you look to for satisfaction. What do you see others worship instead of God?

Spend time in prayer, asking God for forgiveness for what you worship instead of him. Ask God for help in following his commands. Pray also for your neighbors, co-workers, friends, or family, asking God to show them that true satisfaction and joy is only found in Jesus.


Day Two

Read Psalm 96, focusing on verses 7-9. After reading, answer the following questions:

  • What are God’s people commanded to do in those verses? Why are they commanded to do that?
  • How could you follow the primary command in those verses? (If you don’t understand the commands, look at the notes in the ESV Study Bible.)
Write out three specific ways you will follow the commands in verses 7-9. Find a friend to help encourage you to follow through on your commitment and share the ways you plan to follow those commands.


Day Three

Read Psalm 96, focusing on verses 10-13. After reading, answer the following questions:

  • What is your general impression of verses 10-13 in light of the whole Psalm? Why do you think the psalmist ended with these verses?
  • What are God’s people commanded to do in those verses? Why are they commanded to do that?
  • Who—specifically—do you plan to meet with to obey the command on these verses to share the news that “The LORD reigns?” (If you don’t understand the command, look at the notes in the ESV Study Bible.)
Write out the name of one person—what we at Vintage often call your “love one”—that you will pray for and try to tell about Jesus. Pray for the opportunity to not only tell them about Jesus, but also invite them to church with you on Easter Sunday.


Day Four

The reason we make a commitment to observe Lent on behalf of your love one can be found in Psalm 96.

He’s the one true God:
“For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens.” (v. 5)

He commands us to do the following:
“Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name” (v. 8)

As his people, we are the ones given the privilege to tell others the truth about God:
“Say among the nations, ‘The LORD reigns!’” (v. 10)

He will come to judge the earth one day; there’s a reality of life and death to consider:
“He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in his faithfulness.” (v. 13)

Pray for God to help you in this forty-day journey of Lent on their behalf. Ask for his guidance and that His Spirit would change the hearts of the “love ones” in your life.


Day Five

Read Psalm 96 again. Write down your overall impressions of the psalm. Write down some of the things you feel after reading the psalm and studying it this past week:

Read through your notes over the last week. Summarize what you learned:

  • What, specifically, makes up your “new song?” Where do you see evidence of God’s grace in your life?
  • How, specifically, do you plan to “ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name?”
  • To whom will you say, “The Lord reigns!”
  • Who do you plan to invite to join you for Easter Sunday at Vintage?
  • When do you plan to invite them?
  • How do you plan to invite them?
  • Who will you ask to join you in praying for your conversation with them?