I grew up Catholic; went to Catholic school from 1st-12th grade; went to communion, confession and did the Stations of the Cross. And though I’m not a practicing Catholic now (we attend a Christian non-denominational church) there are practices that I still hold to and respect from the traditions I was brought up in, for example observing Lent. Though Lent isn’t just for Catholics, different denominations observe the season as well.
But even if you don’t officially observe the Lenten season, it can still be a time of quiet reflection and letting go of some of the distractions that get in the way of communing with God.
With Lent starting this Wednesday, I thought I would share some of the ways I plan on simplifying during this time of reflection to quiet my heart and prepare for the celebration of the death and resurrection of my Lord.
Over the next few weeks as part of Life Simplified I’ll be focusing on a few spiritual practices that I will be implementing in order to simplify during Lent. These practices are not necessarily “simple” in and of themselves but they don’t have to be complicated either, they just have to be done from the heart.
Many people celebrate Lent by “giving something up” a sacrifice or fast in some way. I’ve done that before; given up soda, chocolate, coffee, spending, etc. This year I plan on being more intentional about giving up my time.
The truth is that though my life is often spent caring for and about others; my kids, husband, friends, family, etc., I can still be pretty self-absorbed. This world offers me opportunities to be all about me so much of the time. And that’s not simple. Thinking about ME and all my stuff, all the time. Is complicated; it’s even overwhelming at times. Listening to all the noise and the things I “should” be doing keeps my mind busy and preoccupied. But I believe Lent is an ideal time to really focus on the giver of ALL things so I want Him to be with me and I want my life to be about HIM. I want to seek Him intentionally with my time.
Simplifying during Lent can take many forms. There is fasting, spending more time in the word or serving others. Whatever you need to do to get rid of mind and soul clutter that can wear one down.
Starting Wednesday I’m going to commit to praying every day for others. The last couple of years I decided to pray for all of my friends on Facebook during Lent, I just went alphabetically and did about 8-10 names per day. It was such a blessing. This year I want to also focus on YOU, my blog readers. I want to pray for you.
So please either leave a comment with a prayer request or send me a private message, otherwise I will just pray a general blessing over you which is OK too but I’d love to be able to pray for a specific request if you have one.
I believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it in action, I have been prayed for by others and I honestly think there have been times when it has been absolutely life-saving.
Here are my directions: Pray much for others; plead for God’s mercy upon them; give thanks for all he is going to do for them. Pray in this way for kings and all others who are in authority over us, or are in places of high responsibility, so that we can live in peace and quietness, spending our time in godly living and thinking much about the Lord. This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he longs for all to be saved and to understand this truth: That God is on one side and all the people on the other side, and Christ Jesus, himself man, is between them to bring them together, by giving his life for all mankind. This is the message that at the proper time God gave to the world. 1 Timothy 2:1-6 (TLB)
*One simple way I recommend to keep prayer requests is just to have a notebook or journal and write down names and prayers or praise reports if there has been a prayer answered. Then you can look back and have a record of what God has done in your life and the lives of those you’ve been praying for…