Welcome to Day 1 of Lent.
Today is Ash Wednesday, a day typically marked by repentance and recognition of our need for the Lord. The “ashes” which you’ll perhaps see some folk wearing on their foreheads today, correlate to the grief—often over sin—that ancient Israel expressed with “sackcloth and ashes” (Esther 4:1). What matters most is not the outer form but the inward condition of our hearts.
Take a few moments—even now—to acknowledge your sinfulness. Don’t dwell on it or obsess about it, but declare it to the Lord and seek His forgiveness and His cleansing. Perhaps come back to Him throughout the day with the simple breath prayer at the end of this post.
We’ve just embarked on a spiritual journey (Lent) of which the evil one does not approve. As we intentionally seek to draw nearer to the Father, we elevate ourselves as targets in the spiritual battle for the souls of men and women.
Anticipate that even this first day will be less glorious than you may have hoped. Do you feel a little impatient or short-tempered? Has your decision to fast already produced misunderstanding or conflict among family, friends, or colleagues? Satan would love nothing more than to derail us right as we leave the station.
So, pray for grace, for strength, for resolve, and for the Father’s Presence. Let’s not consider ourselves heroic; simply obedient.
Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. Create in me a clean heart, O God.