Lenten Devotional 2024






Rev. Garland F. Pierce, Executive Director


Rev. Patrick Barrett II, General Secretary-Treasurer


Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield, General Secretary

The cover art is based on the stained glass window of Mt. Zion AME Church in Florence, SC , USA, pastor, Rev. Dr. Johnathan K. Greene, Sr. Presiding Elder Merritt D. Graves served as pastor at the time when permission for usage was given. The cover art is not to be reproduced in any form without the expressed permission of the publisher and Mt. Zion AME Church.


Micheal Russell, AME Church Publishing House

Scripture quotations not otherwise identified are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible © 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.


The Lenten season, from Ash Wednesday to Resurrection Sunday, is a time for reflection on God’s great love for us and God’s great call on us to faithful and liberating discipleship. For years, the Historic Black Methodist Churches have used this time to share a daily devotional to serve as a resource for spiritual practice during the season, first under the auspices of the Consultation on Church Union (COCU) and then continuing to organize as a joint labor of love of the Christian Education Departments of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church.

This year’s theme is Examining Our Faith which focuses our attention, prayer, and action on the reality that ALL of us are called by the Risen Christ to engage in regular and sincere spiritual self-examination. The scripture passages were selected from the Home Daily Bible Readings published by the Committee on Uniform Series (CUS) of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. CUS has promoted an ecumenical approach to the study and teaching of God’s word since 1872.

It has been an honor to serve as this year’s editor. Special thanks to all the meditation contributors and to my colleagues, Rev. Patrick Barrett II, General Secretary-Treasurer for the AMEZ Church Christian Education Department, Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield, General Secretary for the CME Church Christian Education Department, Rev. Gwendolyn Peters and Dr. Willa Ross, meditation coordinators for the AMEZ and CME contributions respectively.

An urgency remains in this present moment politically, culturally, and even spiritually. Violence and intolerance seem to rule the day. Yet God calls us to a justice-seeking faith that shows compassion for the other and bears witness to the saving, liberating, and reconciling power of Jesus for the lost. Our prayer is that these 2024 daily meditations may help us all examine ourselves as we seek and work to follow daily our Crucified and Risen Savior, partnering in the crucial work of liberation, unity, and reconciliation as he so calls and leads.

Garland F. Pierce

The Kindle version of the devotional is available at amazon.com. 


February 14, 2024

Ash Wednesday


JOHN 14:1-11

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life…” John 14:6a

This past Christmas, I left the security and comfort of family and home to celebrate the birth of Christ, the Prince of Peace, amidst the rubble in solidarity with the Palestinian people in occupied Bethlehem on the West Bank.

As Black Methodists birthed out of the struggle against Empire and racism, we must examine our faith and actions or inaction during this Lenten period in the light of the war which bleeds the life out of Gaza like the crown of thorns placed on Jesus’ head, the nails through his hands and the spear that pierced his side. We must remind ourselves that Christ is the way of peace.

Peace-making is not a passive activity. We must actively share in the mission of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace. Before his crucifixion, Jesus told his disciple; “Peace is what I leave with you. My peace I give to you…do not let your hearts be troubled or be afraid. (John 14:27)

The first words to his fearful band of disciples after the resurrection was, “Peace be with you.”

Peace never happens by chance; we make peace. Peacemakers take the initiative; they seek justice and harmonious relationships in all spheres of life.

As a South African, I am a witness to the incredible potential of soft power and can testify that no situation is irredeemable when we are touched by Almighty God.

In his Christmas sermon preached at the Lutheran Church in Bethlehem, Rev. Munther Isaac challenged all of us to look in the mirror and ask, “Where was I when Gaza was going through genocide?”

We are called to be people of action, peacemakers, and harbingers of hope in a world pregnant with possibilities. A different world is possible. Let us march to the drumbeat of Jesus our Lord in solidarity with Christians in Palestine by joining the Gaza Ceasefire Pilgrimage. http://www.gazaceasefirepilgrimage.com/

As Methodists, we know how to sing at midnight.

PRAYER: O God of Peace, give us faith and courage to keep on working, speaking, and praying for peace. AMEN

Bishop Ivan Abrahams serves as the General Secretary of the World Methodist Council.

Thursday, February 15, 2024


JOHN 19:1-11

Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore, the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” John 19: 11

Power is often associated with control, dominance, and authority. It is frequently misused and abused, elevated by those who wield it for personal gain rather than for good. However, the Gospel of John offers a contrasting view of power rooted in divine providence and purpose. Jesus tells Pilate, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.” Amazingly, while facing the ultimate betrayal and injustice, Jesus acknowledges a higher, divine power source.

This acknowledgment is a powerful testament to the nature of true power. He, being betrayed by one of his own, handed over to authorities and facing imminent death, understands and declares the source of absolute control. Yet, his betrayal and journey to the cross identifies the source of real power for the Christian faith. In moments like these, we see real power –not in exerting force or instilling fear but by aligning with God’s will. With faith from above, even in the face of adversity and moments like this suffering, we can know real power.

As we reflect on these truths, let us seek to understand and embrace the nature of divine power. May we learn from Jesus’ example of humility and faithful submission to the Father’s will. Let this knowledge guide our interactions, decisions, and sense of leadership and authority.

PRAYER: Father, we pray that you would help us to seek real power in humility and alignment with God’s purpose. Help us to always remember that the most significant strength is found in surrendering to your divine will. AMEN.

Rev. Lelar Hodges Johnson is the presiding elder of the Augusta District of the Georgia Conference and is the pastor of the Mount Zion AME Zion Church.

Friday, February 16, 2024



Through Silvanus, whom I consider a faithful brother, I have written this short letter to encourage you and to testify that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it. 1 Peter 5:12

Have you ever had the occasion to work without pay? I once was the pastor of a church without pay for an entire year. This was not because of a noble act on my part but because the money was not there for salary.

That is not the end of the story. Every year after the first one, I was paid, receiving an increase each year. Leading and following go hand in hand. Both the leader and follower are called to be in the business of loving like Jesus.

Both the leader and follower are called to protect, guide, nurture, and care for one another. The most important trait leaders and followers have is a heart like the heart of Jesus, one that is willing to give one’s life for another.

Leaders are called to do their job not by compulsion but by serving God and God’s people with a willing heart. In doing so, leaders develop followers who do likewise.

Pastors are the main leaders in the church. The sobering fact is that pastors are examples to those they serve in congregations whether they intend to be or not. It is interesting to see how a congregation takes on the personality of its pastor in both good ways and bad. Humility is at the front line of characteristics of leaders. The opposite is pride.

Grace and pride are eternal enemies. Pride demands that God bless me in light of what I think I deserve. Grace deals with me on the basis of what is in God, not on the basis of anything in me.

So, Peter ends this fifth chapter by reminding the listeners of true grace. God cares for us!

PRAYER: O Lord of Grace, bless now the leaders/pastors of congregations to be those who develop humble followers. AMEN

Rev. Dr. Carmichael D. Crutchfield is general secretary, Department of Christian Education and Formation of the CME Church; interim vice president of academic affairs and academic dean at Memphis Theological Seminary; and pastor of Mother Liberty CME Church, Jackson, TN.

Saturday, February 17, 2024


DANIEL 6:1-15

“When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him.”
Daniel 6:14

In Babylon, the king’s word was the law. Despite the law, Daniel prayed to God three times a day. Daniel was so disciplined in his daily prayer life that he believed prayer was more important than life itself. Daniel worked with people who did not believe in his God; but, he worked more efficiently than all the rest. He did so well that he attracted the attention of the pagan king and earned a place of respect. The jealous officials could not find anything about Daniel’s life to criticize so they attacked his faith. These men talked Darius into signing a law that would make him god for 30 days. But Daniel stood alone; and, he never allowed anyone to stand in the way of him and God. He was willing to die so that he could pray!

King Darius was sorely displeased with himself for having signed such a decree in haste and thought of ways to rescue Daniel. So, while throwing Daniel in the lion’s den, King Darius said these words, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

Just know that when you begin to excel, people will find ways to hold you back and tear you down. Conduct yourself above reproach. This will not always save you from the attacks; but, God will certainly fight for you.

PRAYER: Almighty God, thank you for protecting me from my enemies. Help me to remain focused on you whenever the weapons form. Because I know you are fighting for me, I know they will not prosper. In Jesus’ name, AMEN

Rev. Dr. Garland D. Higgins is the executive pastor at Antioch AME Church in Stone Mountain, GA, and the Sixth Episcopal District Christian Education director.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

First Sunday in Lent


DANIEL 6:10-11, 14, 16, 19-23, 26-27

Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions… Daniel 6:16a

Daniel 6:10–11 describes Daniel as faithful in every act, kneeling to his God in prayer thrice daily. Evil officials use his devotion as a weapon. When it comes to our espoused faith, we readily declare it. But can faith remain confined to pronouncements, untouched by life’s challenges? Despite his affection for Daniel, the king is bound by an unyielding law (vv.14-16). The den of lions awaits, ready to kill Daniel. At that moment, rhetoric is stripped bare. What remains is the raw essence of faith in action. Here, we find the roar of the lion echoing within each of us. It’s the roar of fear and doubt… Will our professed faith crumble under temptation and real-world challenges? But then, amidst the roar, comes a whisper: Daniel’s prayer in verse 10. In the face of death, his faith is not a shield but a bridge connecting him to his God. This is the essence of faith in action. It is not simply believing but living that belief.

The den of lions awaits us all. It comes in different forms: illness and injustice. What will we find at the core of our being when those flames lick at our feet? Will our faith roar with the conviction of Daniel’s prayer? Let us examine our hearts. Do we compartmentalize our faith, or does it infuse every corner of our lives? Remember, faith in action is not about perfection but about choices. It’s about choosing forgiveness over bitterness. It’s about stepping into the den, not with defiance, but with the quiet confidence of a prayer etched in our soul. Go forth; don’t just proclaim your faith; embody it.

PRAYER: Lord, let my actions be a testament to my prayers and the light that guides me through the lion’s den into your radiant presence. AMEN

Rev. Dr. Richard M. Gadzekpo is the AME Zion Church international prayer coordinator, presiding elder of the Chattanooga District, and the pastor of Cleages & Thompkin Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church.

Monday, February 19, 2024


JEREMIAH 29:8-14

When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Do you ever feel that God is hiding from you? How do you know you will find God when you search for Him? We find the answer to both these questions in this promise.

Have you ever played hide and seek? When my children were young, they loved playing it. I would hide, then they would try and find me. Sometimes I would hide too well. I would have to give a few hints, cough or make a sound. Hearing, they would search with renewed energy. When they found me, we would all hug. My goal was that they find me. God does not hide from us. He wants us to find him.

Seeking God results in finding him. More is to be discovered no matter where we are in our relationship with God. We can never lower the depths of his love, power, or compassion for us. As we seek him, he reveals more of himself. The more we seek him, the more we will come to know him; and, the more we know him, the greater his power and presence are released in us.

We must seek the Lord with all our heart. Half-hearted or part-time seeking will not bring us much success. Only as we seek God with all our heart will this promise stand. When seeking after God’s heart becomes our priority, we will find him. When we find him, we will find everything we need.

PRAYER: God, we know that you are not hiding from us. Thank you for the assurance that when we seek you, we will find you. For that reason, O God, today, we seek you with all our heart. AMEN.

Rev. Dr. Roderick D. Lewis, Sr. is the general secretary of the Department of Publication of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and pastor of Bates Chapel CME Church.

Tuesday, February 20, 2024



For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell… Colossians 1:19

“The Greatest of All Time” is a phrase that is frequently employed in popular lists of superlatives to describe something or someone that is thought to be the best in a particular category. Usually, it’s abbreviated as G.O.A.T. We frequently argue over who the greatest basketball player of all time is—Michael Jordan, LeBron James, etc. We even argue over which football teams—the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers, etc.—are the greatest in the league. All fans are entitled to their opinions in the above-mentioned categories.

Paul’s letter to the Colossians presents the ultimate G.O.A.T. in history, who is superior to all categories or superlatives. It reveals that Jesus the Christ is the greatest of all time! This poetic liturgy is written to address confusion within the Colossian church about Christ’s identity and work. Paul’s letter instructs the church that Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (1:15), “the Creator” (1:16), “the head of the body, the church” (1:18), and “the firstborn of the dead” (1:18). Jesus the Christ is the fullness of God and the only source for victorious living. He is Lord! He is so great that he died on a cross and rose from the dead for all of us to experience salvation and hope.

Throughout Lent, we will be examining our faith, cultivating our walk with Christ, and exploring new ways to apply Christ’s teaching to our daily lives. Let us make Jesus our top priority and experience God’s best for our lives. Jesus is the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.)!

PRAYER: Almighty and Sovereign God, help us to remember that Jesus the Christ is the greatest of all time. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer. AMEN

Rev. Fedrick Allen Wilson is the pastor of Live Oak AME Church in Vance, South Carolina. He is happily married to Tenessa Wilson; and, they have three children.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024



I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work among you will bring it to completion by the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6

This verse is my assurance that God is not finished with me. It is encouragement to keep pressing on. No matter what the world does or says, no matter how many times I get in my own way, I know God is still working on me. Though trials and tribulations may rise and try to block my path, I’ve learned to treat them as stepping stones to rise higher and glorify our Father in heaven. The Christian journey is all about making God known and about him getting the glory out of my life. In the good and the bad times, they all should lead us straight to his arms.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, I thank you for creating me in your image and breathing your breath of life in me. You said in your word you knew me before I was knitted in my mother’s womb. You started a good work; and, I thank you for staying with me in spite of my mistakes to see it to completion. May my life point others to you and bring glory to your name. In Jesus’ name. AMEN

Ms. Beverly Avant is a member of Bickham A.M.E. Zion Church and serves as the local Superintendent of Sunday School.

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