by Rev. John DeBevoise
On Wednesday, February 17th, the church enters the season of Lent, a time for increasing our attention to practices of Christian faith as a way of nurturing and strengthening our faith. Chronologically, Lent takes the faithful on the journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday (April 4th). I think of it as a kind of Spring Training for Christian faith.
Two practices we can work on that are at the heart of the Christian faith are intentional daily scripture reading and prayer.
Be attentive to the Lenten call to prayer and scripture reading.
This Lent, you are encouraged to join the pastors in praying everyday at 7:30am or 5pm for the church, the community, and the needs of the world. To commit even two minutes to prayer at that time is, for many, an act of unity and a practice of faithfulness.
During Lent, consider surrendering those minutes to prayer. If you don’t start right on February 17th, come along on the day you can. If you fall off for several days, climb back on.
The content of one’s prayer is personal and free. But, as a pattern is often helpful, here is a template that can be used, supplementing it with silence, and the simple repetition “The Lord is my Shepherd.”
A pattern for a reoccurring Lenten prayer:
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Thank you for the way, the truth, and the life, made known to is in Jesus Christ.
Father, forgive my sins as I try to forgive those who have sinned against me. Pour out the mercy you have revealed to us in Jesus Christ. Help me to love you, O Lord, with all my heart, soul, and mind, and teach me how to love my neighbor as myself. I lift my heart in gratitude for the blessings so generously poured out from your creation and providence, Creator. Hear my prayer for these specific friends, those in need, and this hurting world. (Silence is kept as specific names and places are lifted up).
You are my Shepherd, Loving God, so I give you my worries, challenges, needs, and ask you to guide me as I walk forward. Take the hours in my life ahead and lead me to use them in ways that fulfill your purposes and intentions.
I lift up before you the poor, the hungry, the sick, the grieving, the oppressed, the discouraged, those working for justice, and all those you love.
I pray as Jesus taught us, saying;
‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever, Amen.’”
Across Lent, you are invited to join the pastors from PCPC in praying for the prayer requests sent to firstname.lastname@example.org and printed on the Intercessory Prayer Sheet found in the sanctuary entrance table or at www.palmaceia.org/prayer-list.