Preparing for the pilgrimage

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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2 thoughts on “Preparing for the pilgrimage

  1. Alexa! Thank you for your thoughts. The purpose of Lent is such a foreign concept in this age of information, stimulation, and rush. Even in church I feel that there is no time for silence. I long to go on a quiet pilgrimage with the Lord. I long for a place to meet him away from my ever wandering attention span, insecurity, fear. I long to empty myself, to prepare again for the coming resurrection of Christ, which is my anchor and hope in all stages of life. How can I be still? How can I meet him, get beside him, suffer with him, hear him?! I have three children for goodness sakes! I turn off my computer during Lent. It helps a lot. Like cleaning the kitchen before I start baking. Turning off the computer clears a space on my counter so I can get down to the real business of seeking first the kingdom. My kids? I can’t turn them off. But the media is almost louder in my life than the sweet voices of a six, four and one year old. Blessings on your Lenten journey.

    1. Thanks for your thoughts, Cass. It is so hard to shut off the noise – even now my neighbors are yelling at each other over the din of their tv. I think there must be some way to be still in our spirits in spite of all the loudness surrounding us… I don’t know exactly how to find the quiet but I do know that the Lord knows our desires. One of my favorite lines from a Loder prayer says, ‘Calm my longing into trust’… what if longing could be practiced out of a place of calm trust instead of the insecurity and rush we live in? Blessings on your Lenten pilgrimage, sweet friend.

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