We created this to help you prepare your heart for a deeper, richer experience as we approach this year’s celebration of the greatest event in history: the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Following a roughly chronological path, the short texts from Scripture will help you read and meditate on the amazing life and work of Jesus as He moved toward the climactic moment of His crucifixion. As you think of Him day after day, it might seem as if you are walking with the Master through His life and years of ministry.
So what’s the best way to use this booklet?
Think ahead of time about the incredible person, life, and ministry of Jesus— all aimed at bringing you into right relationship with God.
- Read this booklet when you are fasting. Fasting can help enhance your awareness of God’s presence or work in your life. See Dave’s excellent article on fasting and its benefits for those who do so.
- Be sure to read Beth Knox’s encouragement on a creative way to think about the time you’ll spend in prayer with your Father.
- If you decide not to fast, use the readings to help start your day or to prepare for bed.
- Be intentional about your reading. Pick the best time in your schedule where you can invest 5-10 minutes (or more) daily.
- Pray for a moment before you read, asking Jesus to open your eyes to anything He might want you to know.
- Read one day’s devotional at a time. (If you fall behind, don’t worry about it. Just pick up where your next day begins.)
- When you have finished each day’s devotional, if you have time, read the whole chapter from which the text comes. If your time is limited in the morning, just read the verse and devotional. Then if you wish, read the chapter that evening.
- Take at least one minute to pray, asking Jesus to guide your thoughts about what you’ve seen or learned from Him. Then listen.Write your response in the space provided. Enjoy your 40 days with Jesus and prepare to celebrate at Easter!
I have learned a lot about prayer from my four-year-old grandson, Henry. Here is what I mean: Henry comes to me (or Grandpa Rick, or mom, or dad) without hesitation because he trusts me. He knows I love him. And he knows that I will welcome him and listen to him.
He asks for anything, from a cookie, to a trip to the park, to helping him find something he has lost. He tells me all about his life—school, what he saw at the store, or a joke he has learned. When he is hurt or frightened, it is my arms and words of comfort he seeks. He asks me to come and play, or even asks me to leave him alone if he is angry with me. (But he doesn’t want me to go too far away!)
I listen and respond. I love to share his life—all of it.
This is prayer. It is going to your Father and telling Him all about your life. It is asking for anything from “a cookie” to wisdom. It is being so sure of His love that you can talk about anything—even hurts, confusion, and complaints.
Prayer is all about sharing a love relationship that thrives on honest, open communication and is based on love and trust. So come to your Father, your Dad, and lean into Him. Talk to Him about your heart and your life.
Then rest quietly and listen. Be like Henry, and live in His love.
In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus says, “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting.”
One word in particular has always stood out to me—when. “And when you fast….” Jesus expected His followers to fast as He did. Fasting was practiced by God’s people in both the Old and New Testament eras. What did Jesus and the people of faith, then and now, know about fasting that we don’t?