Lent has once again approached us. It seemed like only yesterday we were tacking down the Christmas trees and putting away all the decorations. Advent has come to a close, and we now stand in wait and want of the reminder of why the Child came in the first place. But before we can come to the beauty and grandeur of Easter, we must first pass through 40 days trail, reminder, hope, passion, fear, compassion, and so many other things. Lent, its not just another 4 letter word. It is a word that calls us to give of our selves to receive from God and His never withholding Spirit something deep, something beautiful. Lent provides us with and opportunity to practice disciplines we would otherwise shrug off and say that’s only for the holy.
Most folks give up chocolates, or coffee, or other forms of caffeine, while others certain kinds of food, technology, and things. But how many of us add things to our Lenten practices? When Jesus entered into the desert for his 40 days of trail, he practiced several things, fasting, mediation, scripture reading, solitude, silence and so much more I am sure. He didn’t just give up food and go about his day. And I think there in lies the problem for so many of us, my self included. The practice of Lent is supposed to be a trail of sorts that in the end, middle and beginning edifies us, God and those around us as we deepen our faith.
Note: I’m not saying giving up chocolate and technology won’t be challenging, but what are you adding to it to grow in your faith?
I wanted to take some time share what I am doing and offer some practices each week you to can try. These are incredible practices of discipline that help us draw closer to God, remove many distractions and road blocks and even learn a little about our selves.
I will be giving up Caffeine as well! Caffeine is a stimulant that can wreck havoc on your body, and for most of us it does, we just aren’t aware (you know those headaches when you don’t have that Coke?). So I will be giving up all caffeine so that I can focus more from my own will and less from a substitute chemical.
I will be adding to my lifestyle the discipline of Silence, Solitude, Journaling, Prayer & Intercession.
Each week I’ll share a little more about each one of these practices as well and why I am doing it. To start with I wanted to share about prayer & intercession. Pray is very important as a discipline as it provides us with a pattern and a way to hear from and speak to God through out the day. There are tons of different disciplines in prayer but I specifically wanted to focus on intercession.
Dallas Willard writes in the Divine Conspiracy “Asking is indeed the great law of the spiritual world through which things are accomplished in cooperation with God and yet in harmony with the freedom and worth of every individual”. A request anticipates a response. When we request and seek God it moves us and our spirit and soul closer to that of Gods.
Intercessory prayer invites us into God’s care and concern for us, our families and friends, and the entire world. No concern to trivial for God to recieve with loving attention. It is the desire to turn my concerns and worries into prayer; to enter God’s heart for the world and then pray from there. ~ A.A. Calhoun
Our church is in a time of request as we are seeking an Associate Youth Director in our church. God has been and is doing some incredible things and I am convinced that Satan will fight us all the way. So as of this weekend I have been very moved to pray in a way that will stretch me and invite my soul into a place of beseeching God and His will in our ministry and church. Join me tomorrow as I explain a little more about this practice, the questions and prayers I will be praying, and how you too can be an intercessor in prayer.
So what practices are you thinking of adding to your Lenten devotion this year?