The season of Lent begins next week…as Christine says, Lent is the time we get to prepare our hearts for Easter and the Resurrection. As Father Ed Hays says, it’s the opportunity to fall more in love with Jesus over the next forty plus days. The Season of Lent has three traditional areas of focus: Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving or Prayer, Fasting and Acts of Service and Justice.
How can we put these three areas into practice between now and Easter?
Too often we think only of fasting from foods…but food is just one thing we can fast. I have low blood sugar, so I’m not a good food faster. My plan is to FAST from the news again this year. I can read the headlines once a day, but not listen to it! I get too caught up in all the political drama and it distracts me from being present to my neighborhood and loving other people right where I am. I’m also going to fast from busyness, and I’ll be adding in more rest and practicing sabbath. These might be a great choice for many of us!
May it Be So Forty Days with the Lord’s Prayer: It’s a great way to engage God each day with a short prayer by Justin, and a beautiful visual created by Scott helping us engage the Lord’s Prayer in a new way. Justin says “When I pray “Our Father,” I join countless family members who share the same entanglements, frustrations, joys, dreams, and hopes that often lead me to pray. I am not alone. Neither are you.”
They have another book on prayer that would also be a great devotion to use during Lent, called Prayer: Forty Days of Practice. Both of these books can help us to be present with Jesus and grow closer to him between now and Easter. And all ages will enjoy them.
These books might even inspire you to create your own visual prayers or seek other art to pray with during Lent. You might also check out the Lenten Photo a day challenge by Rethinkchurch as another way to practice prayer visually.
Pope Francis says,
“Fasting, that is, learning to change our attitude towards others and all of creation, turning away from the temptation to “devour” everything to satisfy our voracity and being ready to suffer for love, which can fill the emptiness of our hearts. Prayer, which teaches us to abandon idolatry and the self-sufficiency of our ego, and to acknowledge our need of the Lord and his mercy. Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.”
Take some time to consider what practice you might ADD or what things you might need to subtract from your life in order to grow closer to Jesus between now an Easter. Ask Jesus to show you and allow this to blossom and grow!
Check out Scott Erickson’s Stations in the Street for more inspiration for prayer this season. you might want to download them for your entire church community to experience visual liturgy and prayer!