February 22, 2023
And so Lent begins. We will hear sermons now that remind us of our duty to prayer, fasting, and alms giving. Here are some thoughts …
There are folks like me, who for health reasons, can’t fast from food but we can fast from those things we may do routinely – time spent on newsfeeds or puppy/kitten YouTube videos or Face Book or any of the million things we do that are not Christ centric. You give your tithe each week or month or however you schedule that but make this Lent the one you bring an offering to Stations of the Cross each week, over and above your tithe.
But I suspect the ‘prayer’ part is the hardest of the three for us to follow through on. Morning and Evening Prayer are fairly easy for us as it has been our custom for ages; intercessory prayer is common as folks ask us to be remembered for whatever challenge they may be facing, our Missals and Books of Common Prayer have prayers for every want and reason. But going before the Father as a son or a daughter is the one that worries us. We hear about ‘dry seasons’, when our prayers feel like they are simply floating around somewhere somehow and are neither heard nor answered. Sometimes we prepare to pray and we draw a blank and all we can do is chide ourselves and shake our heads at our own laziness or unbelief or sigh a sigh that carries the sorrow of your soul on the wind. “26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. 27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”(Romans 8) And finally, we may do all that we should do in prayer but find we are having trouble focusing; we find that our minds wander as we try to pray. There are many ways to help combat this – and it happens to everyone – saying your prayers out loud focuses your mind; using a different prayer than you commonly use focuses your mind. And, if all else fails, there’s this prayer: Almighty God, Who pourest out in all who desire it, the spirit of grace and of supplication, deliver us, when we draw near to Thee, from coldness of heart and wandering mind, that with steadfast thoughts and kindled affections we may worship Thee in spirit and in truth, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.