Matthew 6:1-6 (NRSV)

1 “Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,
4 so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. a 
5 “And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.
6 But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. b

Matthew 6:17-18 (NRSV)

17 But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face,

18 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. a

DEVOTION -Janet Pierce (Tennessee)

I am thankful for the season of Lent.  Why?  A few years ago, I found something that, Over time, I had lost.  I found Jesus Christ.

One Sunday before Ash Wednesday, our pastor challenged us to prayerfully search from within how to observe Lent.  He wanted us to understand this time of reflection, penitence, and fasting on a personal level.  He explained that penitence is often practiced through fasting or self-denial.  I decided to deny myself “my time” – time after breakfast that usually consisted of watching a movie, playing computer games, or taking an after-breakfast nap.  I replaced that time with devotions: reading, studying, praying, meditating.  I began to re-learn the books of the Bible.  I found scripture and lessons I had once known but had forgotten over time.

In the beginning when I gave up “my time,” I thought I was really sacrificing.  But instead I realized that previously I had been sacrificing the knowledge of eternal life.  Lent is a time for reflection on Jesus- his life, sacrificial death, and resurrection.  That first year, my sacrifice allowed me to reconnect with Christ.  Since then, it has allowed me to grow closer to him each day.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: What am I doing to grow closer to Christ?

PRAYER: God of life, we praise you for the gift of your son.  Help us to find ways to grow closer to him every day.  Amen

PRAYER FOCUS: SOMEONE OBSERVING LENT FOR THE FIRST TIME

Advertisements