Lent is an ancient tradition of fasting and prayer that helps us focus ourselves in preparation for Easter. In Lent we remember that Moses, Elijah and Jesus went off to fast and pray as an initiation for ministry. But more significantly we remember that Jesus’ willful acceptance of the Cross was the single greatest example of humility and self-denial in history.
The Apostle writes of the degree to which Jesus denied himself:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
This mindset of humility is one that we are called to practice year-round. Yet just as Advent and Christmas remind us to be generous, Lent encourages us think more clearly about humility and self-denial.
While some church denominations see Lent as an example of ritualism in which certain practices become disconnected from their true meaning or spiritual benefit, this need not be the case. Christians should be able to distinguish between meaningless offerings and faithful obedience.
Additionally, during this season of Lent we should remember in prayer those who have chosen to forsake more than a few comforts in the name of Jesus. Many men and women around the world have chosen to trade a home for a prison cell rather than deny Jesus, and exchange the warm embrace of family for the blow of fist and club rather than deny their Lord.
We have compiled a list of 40 individuals who are currently in prison for the sake of the Gospel. These 40 are representative of many thousands who suffer silently under heavy persecution. Please join us in prayer and fasting for these godly brothers and sisters.
Click here to view full list.