"Ponderings from the Pastor"
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Hopefully you have noticed that each month our street sign has been focused on the spiritual discipline of prayer. Each month, we have been posting a different “Pray for….”. Now with the Liturgical Season of Lent starting in March, we here at Stockton Memorial Baptist are focusing on several facets of prayer in hopes of deepening our own relationship with God. Iwant to encourage you to join us on Sunday mornings as we look at topics like “The Essence of Prayer”, “Persistent Prayer”, “Praying With Purpose”, and “The Disciple’s Prayer”. I also want to invite you to begin your observance of Lent by joining us for worship and the imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday March 6th. Our Service will begin at 6:45pm.
Just as Advent is the lead-up to Christmas, so too Lent precedes our celebration of Easter. While neither of these two “seasons” are referenced in Scripture, they are both an important part of the Christian year. Lent is widely considered the 40-day period that starts on Ash Wednesday and concludes on Holy (Maundy) Thursday. As many of you are well aware the number “40” appears many times throughout the Bible-God sent flooding rain for 40 days and nights. Moses spent 40 days on Mount Sinai talking with God. Elijah spent 40 days trying to reach Mount Horeb where he had his encounter with God. Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert. Today many Christians set aside these 40 days as days of penance, seeking to become more self-aware of our sinfulness and our short-comings. Many use this time to read daily devotions, to make positive changes in our lives, or simply to pray for guidance moving forward. I hope you will use these days to do some inner searching, so that when Holy Week and Easter arrive, you will find yourself in a deeper relationship with God.
How you chose to observe this very solemn season is of course, totally up to you. But let me recommend that whatever method you chose, you allow some time each day to include the spiritual discipline of prayer, keeping in mind that prayer is not a “one-way street”. God is not only waiting to hear FROM you, He also desires to speak TO you. Maybe use this time to read and memorize some of the Scriptures about prayer including our Life Verse for March which can be found in I John 5:14- “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”