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.