Practicing the art of meditative prayer
I look forward to Lent every year. If you’re not familiar with Lent, it’s a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. The forty days represent the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.
Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. Many people choose to sacrifice something for Lent, like coffee, television, chocolate, alcohol, social media, etc. If you’re looking for ideas of something to “give up” this Lent season, HERE is a helpful list.
I have always approached Lent a little differently, though. Instead of sacrificing something, I usually focus on a discipline that I want to strengthen. One year, I committed to physically playing with my kids for 15 minutes each day. That one was a hard one to share with the world since I was basically admitting that I have a hard time engaging with my kids physically. The next year, I chose to concentrate on only using uplifting words with my kids. That was another challenge! In 2014, I committed to getting up at 4:30 each morning specifically to pray for my relationship with my kids as well as their futures. Then, last year, I focused on the Fruits of the Spirit, and emphasized putting a different one into action each day.
This year, as I prayed about what I should center my attention on, I felt strongly that I should work on just being quiet.
So, my 2016 Lent commitment is this: To practice the art of meditative prayer.
I think I have a pretty good prayer life: I spend time with God each morning, I talk to Him throughout the day, and I find great comfort and power in prayer. However, I have a very difficult time just listening. I can bring my requests to God, pray fervently for a friend or family member, and talk “at” God pretty darn well. But I’ve realized that I sure don’t treat him like I would a friend. I barely let Him get a word in edgewise.
For the month of February, I am going to spend 15 minutes a day just being quiet and listening to God, meditating on His promises. I know this doesn’t seem like a lot, but I’m being realistic here. 15 minutes is a very long time when you’re not used to just sitting and being quiet. I’m not going to ask Him questions. I’m not going to thank Him (that’s for another time). I’m not going to speak to Him at all. I am just going to sit and be quiet. This is a challenge for me, friends.
For the month of March, I am committing to 30 minutes per day of meditative prayer.
I’m excited and anticipatory of how God is going to speak to me in these next 40 days. Do you practice Lent? What are you doing this year? If you haven’t already committed to something (or if you want to add another discipline to your list), you can join me! Download my free calendar PDF to keep track of your commitment, crossing off each day as you complete it. Just click the image below to download it for free!