The Lenten Prayer Experiment

The Lenten Prayer Experiment April 7, 2015

How was Lent for you?  Did you participate in the Eid.Pray.Love Muslims 4 Lent Interfaith movement at all?  Remember back on March 5th when I told you about my plan to not really give anything up, but to focus on meaningful prayer and dialogue with God?

Well, this is where I tell you how it went.

I noticed a marked difference in my conversations with God.  Instead of praying randomly in the car or in the shower whenever I felt the pull to communicate, I began each morning thanking God for my restful sleep, thanking him for the health and happiness of my family.  I thanked him for the day that I had before and the day that I will have today.

Then I after the thanking was completed, I began the asking.

I asked for Strength, Wisdom, Courage and Patience for the day.  To meet every challenge wisely and to stay centered.  I asked for Peace in my heart and in my mind.  I also asked for the ability to find some Joy in each day.  I wanted to be able to laugh.

Then, I named each of the people on my list.  I asked for God to hold them in a bath of warm, loving light and to give them strength, wisdom, courage and patience.  I asked for them to have peace in their hearts and joy in their lives.

I don’t have active communication with most of the people on my list.  There is only one person who I communicate with on a personal level.  The others are acquaintances.  So, I don’t know how this time has effected them, if at all.  I guess time will tell. I read the responses on the 40 Days of Prayer and they seem so huge, so life-changing.  I don’t know if my prayer is powerful enough to help someone that way.  But, I did this small thing.  Maybe my small thing will join with other people’s small thing and make a bigger difference.  Its still too soon to tell.

I never was able to figure out my Big Ask.  The Big Ask was something that you were afraid to voice out-loud.  Something that was so big, so scary and so huge that you had never been able to tell someone else.  I don’t have something that big.  I have big visions.  Dreams about how I want my life to change, things I want to be able to accomplish someday.  But I’ve not been afraid to tell someone.  I feel like my life is in God’s hands.  I listen very carefully to what I’m being told and make every effort to DO what it is that I’m being told to do.  I feel like, if I do what God is telling me to do…then I must be doing God’s work.  If I’m doing God’s work, then I am fulfilling my purpose here.  I will not stop talking and asking because if I talk and ask…then someone who hears me might be in a position to help me fulfill my purpose.

The thing that I had the most difficulty with was keeping my journal.  I’ve never been very good at keeping a daily journal.  I am not good at keeping a writing schedule.  That’s why my posts here are soo erratic.  I’ve read all the books on how to be a great writer.  They all say you must write something every day.  I cannot.  I go along with my life and when something gets stuck in my head, I can’t let it go until I write about it.  And after 25 or so days, I started skipping the journal entries.  I’d skip a few days and then feel guilty.  Then I’d write a catch-up entry.  After I did this a few times, I realized that this was detracting from the purpose of my commitment.  I was still praying every day.  I was still thanking and asking and focusing and remembering.  I was being deliberate in my praying for those people on my list, but the guilt I was feeling about the journal entries was taking away from the peace and joy that I was working towards during my 40 Days of Prayer.  It was negating my efforts.

So, I let it go.

I’ve not completely given up on the idea of writing prayers down in a journal, in my super-special faux leather Hogwarts journal with the really pretty paper, using my heirloom fountain pen.  But I will continue to approach it much like I do here.  When I get something stuck in my mind.  Something I really need to focus in on and pray about that is more than my usual.  Its more than just a deep heartfelt conversation between me and God, but something that I need to write down to be able to fully communicate, I will write it down and commit it to paper.

I think about this sometimes.  Y’no, when you die and people go through your stuff.  Do I want my kids to read my mental wanderings and my prayers?  I don’t know.  I guess I’ll keep writing and then decide later.

I did this during my highschool years.  I kept journals of my angst.  The tumultuous times of my teenage rollercoaster life filled with big emotions and big decisions; the happiness and the tears.  I wrote and wrote because there was just So Much.  Then at about age 25, I took those journals and shredded them.  Those big emotions were too raw and too painful to keep around.  I never wanted anyone to stumble across them.  Without me there to explain what I was writing about, it was just, well…it was no ones business.  I made peace with all of that stuff that I never wanted to relive and let it all go.

So, maybe my prayer book will be like that.  Maybe it won’t.

I’m glad I participated in Muslims 4 Lent this year.  I’m glad I participated in the 40 Days of Prayer because now it will give me another meaningful way to connect with God.  I don’t know that I will change my prayer now that Easter has come and gone. Easter was the story of Jesus’ death and that is a whole other issue to ponder.  I’m choosing to continue to pray each day just like I have for the last 40. I’m choosing to be quiet and still and listen.

I hope you have learned something new this Lent.  I have.

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