Inspiring Scripture quotes for Lent can come in handy for youth ministry, or any talk really! Here are some of my favorites from the prophets. Each has a little introduction for context and a reflection to help you get started. At the end I mention some tips on how to use these quotes. Stay tuned…there’s more to come!
(Michelangelo's Fresco of the Prophet Zechariah in the Sistine Chapel)
THE PROPHET HabaKKuk
Context: Habakkuk was written just before the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the first Temple at the hand of the Babylonians. The situation was desperate: most of the cities of Judah were captured, the powerful were corrupt, and idolatry was widespread. At this point, Habakkuk complains to God in what may be the first time in the Old Testament that a prophet poignantly questions the ways of God. The Lord responds by assuring Habakkuk that the just, those who live by faith, shall not perish; they will live on.
1 How long, O Lord? I cry for help but you do not listen! … 3 Why do you let me see ruin; why must I look at misery? … Are you not from eternity, O Lord, my holy God, immortal?…13 Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence while the wicked man devours one more just than himself? (Hab. 1:1, 3, 12, 13)
The rash man has no integrity; but the just man, because of his faith, shall live. (Hab. 2:4)
Reflection: Habakkuk is a great reminder of the difficulty in trying to understand the Providence of God. A good image is that of a small child trying to understand all the intentions of his father, even a good father, or of an emerging adolescent trying to understand why society functions the way it does. God’s response usually isn’t an explanation. We’re not ready to hear it! Rather, God goes to the heart: have faith! Faith is God’s gift to us, a real spiritual power to see and understand things the way He does. The just man will live by faith because doing so he will get through the difficulties that his reason isn’t really capable of grasping.
THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH
Context: The following quotes are found in the second half of Zechariah (chapters 9-14) characterized by a Messianic and apocalyptic genre, which is very different from the symbolic visions in the first half. Zechariah’s quotes are used by the NT authors to describe Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and His suffering and death. Read the quote, and see if it reminds you of this as well!
9 Rejoice heartily, O daughter Zion, shout for joy, O daughter Jerusalem! See, your king shall come to you; a just savior is he, meek and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. (Zech. 9:9)
12 … And they counted out my wages, thirty pieces of silver. (Zech. 11:12)
10 I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and petition; and they shall look on him whom they have thrust through, and they shall mourn for him as one mourns for an only son, and they shall grieve over him as one grieves over a firstborn. (Zech. 12:10)
7…Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be dispersed, and I will turn my hand against the little ones. (Zech. 13:7)
Reflection: The 40 days of Lent prepare us to live the “holiest week of the year”, that is, “Holy Week”, in which we re-present Jesus entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, then His teachings at the Temple, the washing of the feet and the Last Supper, His suffering, death and lastly, and most importantly, His resurrection. Jesus enters Jerusalem in a similar way in which He entered this world: poor, meek, unpretentious. He does this to show us that the way to peace, happiness, love and salvation are not found in “human” or “earthly” means or ideals, but only in a gift of God that is lived from within, from the heart. Jesus’ own heart will suffer tremendously when He is betrayed by Judas! And then it will be “thrust through” by a lance; in short, it will open up to pour out on the world the gift of redemption and grace that we receive through the sacraments, especially the Eucharist. Jesus was the shepherd that was “struck” out of love for us; now, the devil turns his attention towards his “little ones”. If we learn the lessons of Lent by preparing ourselves through a commitment to prayer, repentance and love, we too will be able to withstand the temptations of the devil until we arrive victorious in Heaven.
HOW TO USE THESE VERSES
Here are some of the ways you can use these verses:
- Include them in a talk on Lent.
- Or simply read them to your youth group or class, asking the teens to raise their hands if they liked it, or if they have a comment or question to make.
- Print them and hand them out to each teen in the chapel for some time of personal prayer, or adoration.
- Print them out in colorful cards and hand them to the teens to take home to hang somewhere in their room. Perhaps leave a space where teens write in their sacrifice during Lent.
- Again, print them and hand them out for small group discussion.
- Copy and paste them into your email to parents or teens regarding youth ministry or CCD.
- Any other ideas?
QUOTING THE PROPHETS SERIES:
You can find more quotes from the prophets below:
These are timeless verses from the prophets. They’re meant to be proclaimed, announced, shared on social media! Thank you!