Does it seem weird to prepare for a season of preparation? After all, Lent is a time to prepare oneself for the advent of Black Friday and Easter. Yet, I find that if I do not spend an adequate amount of time preparing my heart for Lent I go through the Lenten season just a bit off kilter. So for the last couple weeks I have been praying and searching for direction.
It seems that God has burdened my heart with many things in the last month or so. I have found my mind wandering to situations and people and the prayers escape my lips before I even realize they are forming. Prayer is a focus during Lent as we empty ourselves and search for a closer oneness with God. If God has asked me to intercede for friends and circumstances I want to make more time and space, not only in my day but also in my heart. I am so full of my own hopes and plans and doubts that it can be hard to see past myself to concentrate on others’ needs and really listen to know how to pray well, not to mention listen to that sometimes crashing, sometimes whispering Voice.
And silence. I am in a constant search for silence and quietness. Especially these days which are our busiest and most exhausting of the season. February hits hard, even after the increased pace of January. It is difficult to find enough space for my mind to stop racing, so how can I meditate? My plan is to carve out whatever time I can so that my overall day is less stimulating. For example, the time I spend online or the show Ben and I watch in the evening or the music I blare during meal prep that causes all four of us to have to raise our voices to be heard. I think the Lenten season needs to be a bit quieter this year.
I am reading and cherishing prayers written by various authors as well as the tried and true prayers from the Book of Common Prayer and the psalms and prophets. N. T. Wright once compared these well worn prayers to David’s river stones. David did not go out to fight Goliath with weapons of his own creation; he used stones that had been smoothed and worn down by years in the river currents. Sometimes I have my own words to speak but more often I am at a loss for words. These prayers invite me to take part in an age-old flow of intercession; one that continues as a deep current worldwide even now.
What are you planning for this Lenten season? There is encouragement and joy in sharing our road maps with one another.
Books and Websites –
Guerrillas of Grace, Ted Loder
Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth, Walter Brueggemann
The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer
ESV Daily Office Lectionary
Biola University Lent Project II
Full Homely Divinity – Preparing for Lent