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Jesus is Tested in the Wilderness


Here are worship resources based on the temptations Jesus faced following his baptism.


Matthew 4:1-11
Mark 1:12-13
Luke 4:1-13
Hebrews 2:17-18; 4:14-16


Prayer of Confession

Forty days alone,
a wilderness of thoughts,
tempting and inviting thoughts,
which could so easily have distracted you
from your task, your mission,
your vision.

Yet you emerged, stronger and more attuned
to all that had to be done,
despite a time constraint
that to our eyes would have seemed hopeless.
We too live in stressful times.
Demands are made of our time,
that leave so little
for the important things of life.

We are easily distracted
in the wilderness of our lives,
by every call to go this way or that,
to turn stone to bread
leap from mountains,
and do all that would keep us from the truth.

We listen to the voices of this world,
and ignore the one who endured all this
and so much more,
and emerged triumphant,
that we might not have to suffer so.

Forgive us, Father,
when we get distracted from our task.

Forgive us those times when we try
to be all things to all men,
and fail to be anything to anyone

~ written by John Birch, and posted on his Faith and Worship website.

Pastoral Prayer for Lent

Lord God, today is the first Sunday of Lent, a season of repentance, of self-examination, of silence and waiting for the leading of your Holy Spirit. Through your Spirit you lead us into the temptations of Jesus, forty days in the wilderness, where our lives are laid bare, and we come face to face with our desires for power—power over our lives and the lives of our friends and enemies and maybe even power over you.

Open us to your grace and mercy, your love and provision, as we confront the devil’s temptations, the demons that try to run our world and our lives. Give us the power of your Son that we may also throw off the insidious powers of sin—the forces of selfishness and pride, the forces that keep us from confronting the truth about our lives and the world.

During this season of Lent, shatter our illusions, save us from ourselves, and open us to the new life of your Holy Spirit—a life of faith, hope, and love. As we let your Spirit lead us into repentance, may we discover the goodness and fullness of life in your kingdom of peace. In the words of Psalmist, may we find in your presence a refuge, a dwelling place, a place of rest (Ps. 91).

May we also resist the temptation to find our rest in places that muffle the cries of injustice—the desperation of the needy, the anger of the wronged, and the despair of the hopeless. May those voices echo in our Lenten silence, for the call of your Spirit also speaks through those voices. As the apostle Paul says, your word is near us, on our lips and in our hearts (Romans 10). May we use this season of Lent to empty ourselves of all that makes us deaf to that word, the Word of God, Jesus Christ, who is already on our lips and in our hearts.

~ written by Isaac, a Mennonite pastor. Posted on his blog, Rusty Parts.

Prayers of the People

Let us pray:
Lord, listen to our prayers for ourselves at this time.
Bring to our minds the places we have compromised the truth
for that which is convenient to us;
the times we have shut our eyes and ears and hearts to the needs of others;
the times we have indulged ourselves to our own detriment.
Help us, dear God, to know that you forgive these things,
and give us strength to resist them in the future.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, listen to our prayers for others at this time:
for those who hunger for bread but only find stones;
for those who seek justice but can find no advocate who will help them;
for those who are in danger and have no one watching over them.
Lord, hear our prayer.

Lord, speak to us in the silence of our hearts.
Show us the way to go…

We pray to you in the name of Jesus,
who taught us to come to you saying,
Our Father….

~ from Richard J. Fairchild’s Kir-shalom website.

Prayer for Lent

As we take this journey
That draws us ever closer to you
Walk with us
Sustain us,
Nurture us.

God, as we go through
The wilderness of lent and of our lives,
Send your manna to us,
give us wisdom to turn from temptation
And your grace to turn to.

God, as we walk through the pot holes of life,
The valleys, the pits of life,
Guide us with your hand
Keep our feet steady,
And our vision on you.

God, whether we choose to give up something for lent
Or do something positive,
Let us not do it out of obligation
Or the tyranny of oughtness,
But out of love for you.

Keep us in your paths of love, mercy and grace.
Lord help us to remember we are not alone
but that we are walking with our fellow/sister travelers.


~ written by Rev. Abi, and posted on Rev. Abi’s Long and Winding Road blog.

Spoken Resources

Call to Worship

Jesus began his ministry to the world,
led by the Spirit into the wilderness.
As we begin our Lenten journey,
let us be led by the Spirit,
even into the uncomfortable places.
In those forty days, and in that place,
Jesus was faced with hunger, doubt
and temptation.
As we seek to follow Jesus,
we would be led,
even into the uncomfortable choices.
Jesus left the wilderness,
faithful and obedient to God,
rejoicing in the One in whom he trusted.
As we continue on our path to faithfulness,
we will be led by our Christ,
rejoicing in the Lord our God.

~ written by Thom Shuman, and posted on Lectionary Liturgies.


It was never promised
that you will not be tempted,
not thrown into turmoil,
not stumble or fall,
but that by grace you will be saved, through trusting God.
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

Grace is a free gift of God.
Gift. Just ongoing gift.
For me. For you.
Let it be, dear Lord, let it be.

You have a destiny to inherit,
over which the angels in heaven marvel.

The quiet strength of Christ,
the humble power of God,
and the pervasive light of the Spirit,
is yours
today and always.

Thanks be to God.

~ written by Bruce Prewer, and posted on Bruce Prewer’s Home Page.


Traditional Hymn: O Jesus, I Have Promised

Worship Together #605

O Jesus, I have promised
to serve You to the end;
be now and ever near me,
my Master and my friend.
I shall not fear the battle
if You are by my side,
nor wander from the pathway
if You will be my guide.

O let me feel You near me!
The world is ever near;
I see the sights that dazzle,
the tempting sounds I hear;
my foes are ever near me,
around me and within;
but Jesus, draw still nearer,
and shield my soul from sin.

O let me hear You speaking
in accents clear and still,
above the storms of passion,
the murmurs of self-will.
O speak to reassure me,
to hasten or control;
O speak, and make me listen,
O guardian of my soul.

O Jesus, You have promised
to all who follow You,
that where You are in glory
Your servants shall be too.
O guide me, call me, draw me,
uphold me to the end,
when You in glory take me,
my Savior and my Friend.

~ John E. Bode, alt.

Contemporary Hymn: Christ Jesus Knew a Wilderness

Christ Jesus knew a wilderness
Of noon day heat and nighttime cold
Of doubts and hungers new and old
Temptation waiting to take hold

Christ knew an uncertainty
Would all forsake deny betray
Would crowds that followed turn away
Would powers evil hold their sway

Christ Jesus knew an upper room
An olive grove a judgment hall
A skull-like hill a drink of gall
An airless tomb bereft of all

Christ Jesus in our wilderness
You are our bread our drink our light
Your death and rising set things right
Your presence puts our fears to flight

~ George Job Elvey, Jane Parker Huber. Copyright © 1986 Jane Parker Huber (Admin. by Westminster John Knox Press). CCLI Song # 1154497. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Tune suggestions:
LAMB OF GOD (“Your only Son, no sin to hide” Twila Paris)
Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RPClih1HLPg

O WALY, WALY (“Tho’ I may speak with bravest fire”)
Listen here: http://www.hymnary.org/tune/o_waly_waly

FULDA or GERMANY (“We have a gospel to proclaim”)
Listen here: http://www.hymnary.org/tune/germany_beethoven_gardiner

Contemporary Song: Now is the Time for Us

Our hearts will not forget, all of Your promises
Your words are truth
out of the wilderness, we walk into Your grace
You set us free

We won't turn back
You're the only way

Now is the time for us
To sing of Your great love
We worship You God
Forever, You God
We hear You calling us
To show the world Your love
The sound of freedom
Will be our anthem

We're daring to believe, trusting in what's unseen
By faith, we'll sing
You're lighting up the night, new hope that shines so bright

We're Yours forever
We stand together
We trust in You, our God
We look to You, our God
We're Yours forever
We stand together
We follow You, our God

~ Luke Hellebronth, Martyn Layzell, Oliver Snelling. Copyright © 2011 Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide at EMICMGPublishing.com excluding Europe which is adm. by Kingswaysongs ). All rights reserved. Used by permission. CCLI Song #6058436. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen to it here:

Contemporary Song: You Lead Us Through the Wilderness

You lead us through the wilderness
and give us grace for trials and tests.
Your Holy Spirit shows the way
and in our weakness teaches us to pray.

We'll worship in the wilderness,
a dry and thirsty land.
We won't survive by bread alone
but by your Word, and guided by your hand.

As Jesus fasted forty days,
so help us turn from selfish ways,
to trust in you, and learn to give
for when we die to self we'll truly live.

You join us in our brokenness,
and comfort us in our distress,
For you're the hope of all who mourn
you lead us to your resurrection dawn.

We'll worship in the wilderness,
and trust the path you've planned.
You're faithful in the wilderness,
and by your grace we'll reach the promised land.

~ Copyright © Sam Hargreaves / RESOUNDworship.org, Administered by The Jubilate Group 4 Thorne Park Road, Torquay TQ2 6RX. CCL# 5220557. If you use this song in worship, be sure to report it on your CCLI license.

Listen and download music here:


~ Temptation of Christ, Vasily Surikov 1872



Additional Resources

Video Suggestions for Lent


This worship resource was created/compiled by Christine Longhurst. You are welcome to use it free of charge, and where appropriate, please note the source. If you are printing any of the resources for distribution, please print the source as well. The content of the worship resource does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches, which oversees the Centre for Mennonite Brethren Studies. For more worship resources by Christine Longhurst, see http://www.re-worship.blogspot.ca or http://www.faithmatters.ca.

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