A Prayer about a Very, Very Slow Fast
Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”… Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:26-27; John 6:35
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare. Isaiah 55:2
Dear Jesus, I’m barely twenty-four hours into Lent and already I realize how weak I am, how powerful my appetites are, and how much I take the gospel for granted. This may be the slowest fast I’ve ever tried. At this rate, this might be the longest forty days of my life. I choose to deny myself one little thing—with a world of other culinary options open to me—yet my mouth waters, my taste buds engage, and I want to grab every whole-grain carbohydrate in sight.
Oh, that my hunger for you would be as compelling as my hunger for baguettes, bagels and bakery stores. For “no bread endures to eternal life” except the bread that you give. Indeed, all breads except the Bread of Life will ultimately spoil, rot and perish. Only you supply us “good” bread that will make our souls “delight in the richest of fare.” Indeed, Lord, you don’t just nourish us, you delight us. What a Savior… what a salvation. We are far too easily satisfied.
Jesus, during this season of Lent, renew our craving for the manna of the gospel, the “carbs” of the kingdom, the loaves of your love. Ignite our hearts to sing with vigor, “Bread of Heaven, Bread of Heaven, feed us till we want no more!” Intensify our longings for the Day when we will dine and dance with you at the wedding feast of the Lamb. May every celebration of the Lord’s Supper feed us well, yet leave us insatiably hungry for that Day.
Help us as we seek you in fresh ways over these next five and a half weeks. Jesus, may your mercies, grace and cross come alive to us in profound and transforming ways. Because the Father has placed his seal of approval on you, we find our approval in you, our satisfaction in you, our everything in you. So very Amen we pray, in your glorious and all sufficient name.