The introit to the Lenten office focuses on those Biblical heroes who also had trials of 40 days and 40 nights. Noah, Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. This tradition is carried through the sacred history of Israel and was given to the whole world by Jesus. The lineage was carried from Moses to Elijah through the Israelite priesthood. It was carried from Elijah to Jesus through John the baptist, who was Elijah returned (see here for more details). It is now carried from Jesus to us through the Church and the Bible. We who follow the pattern join with our ancestors in an ancient tradition.
We have sinned, O Lord, we have sinned: forgive our sins and save us. Hear us, O God Who guided Noah upon the waves of the Flood, and retrieved Jonah from the abyss by Your Word; free us. O God Who offered a hand to Peter as he was sinking; bear us up, O Christ, Son of God. You performed wonders among our fathers, O Lord: stretch forth Your hand from on high to answer our necessities.
You have been our dwelling place throughout all generations.
Before the mountains were born or you brought forth the whole world,
From everlasting to everlasting you are God.
You turn people back to dust, saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,
Or like a watch in the night. Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death.
May the favour of the Lord our God rest on us;
Establish the work of our hands for us—
Yes, establish the work of our hands.
–A prayer of Moses the man of God
Great and Mysterious God,
Who came to Noah in the rainbow,
Who came to Moses in grandeur and fire,
Who came to Elijah in a gentle whisper,
Who came to John in the womb,
Who came to Jesus as a dove,
Who came to the world as Jesus,
Come to me as you will,
for I will listen to any Word you speak.
The world has rejected your ways and silenced your prophets,
Those who live in your name defile it,
Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors,
Hear my voice calling from the wilderness,
Help me to make a straight path for you.
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one
– Jesus Christ