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Experience the Sweetness of Lent

Lent offers Christians a wonderful opportunity to experience in greater depth the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the immeasurable love of the Lord.

Lent offers Christians a wonderful opportunity to experience in greater depth the sacrifice of Jesus Christ and the immeasurable love of the Lord. Click To Tweet

Growing up, I duteously gave up something for Lent. Often it was candy or specifically, chocolate. However, in the latter years, I’ve tried to make it a bit more spiritual, such as spending extra time in the Bible, memorizing Scripture, or reading a devotional.

Lent and prayer

This year, though, I didn’t want it to be so dutiful. I wanted, actually needed, something more than just another item to check off each day. After mulling it over for a while, I decided I needed more intimacy with God. And the best way I could see to do that was by spending time with Him in extended prayer. 

My Weakness

However, there was a problem with that idea: I am not good at prayer. Not that I don’t find it important or don’t pray regularly. In fact, as I’ve stated in the following post, prayer is critical to a Christian’s life: Experience the Joy and Peace of Prayer

I simply find myself too distracted to pray in a focused manner for an extended period of time. A minute after beginning my prayer, my entire to-do list leaps into the forefront of my thoughts. This is quickly followed by video replays of my morning conversations, with mini-anxiety attacks about who I forgot to call and what I forgot to tell my husband. 

I usually manage to get in a little praise, a word of repentance, a thanksgiving sentiment, and a please help so and so. After that, I’m off to the day’s tasks. I’m a dedicated “popcorn” or “flash” pray-er but not so good with “meatier” prayers.

Not good, I know. Quick, short prayers have their place but not as a substitute to a more dedicated, intentional prayer time. 

Recently I shared with my blog subscribers (I’d love to have you as a subscriber too [sign up below]) how chaotic my life feels right now. I need the peace only God can provide. Oh, how I need that peace! 

I knew such peace would be best found in prayer. this time, I determined it’d be different. I set a timer for 5 minutes of dedicated prayer, giving myself permission to let my mind wander after that. So far, I’ve found I easily remain focused for more than those 5. And after only two days of extended prayer time, I’m already experiencing a great deal more peace as well as increased focus in other tasks. 

The Sweetness of Lent

As I’ve matured in my faith and my understanding of the freedom we have in Christ, I no longer feel I have to do something special for Lent. Yet I’ve discovered a sweetness in the practice. 

As I sacrifice something I value (this year, it’s my time in prayer), I’m reminded of “the depth of Jesus’ obedience and the great love of God to redeem a world so desperately in need of salvation” —Jonathan A. Swett. I feel a closeness to my Savior not always apparent during the rest of the year. 

Let Lent remind you of 'the depth of Jesus’ obedience and the great love of God to redeem a world so desperately in need of salvation.' —Jonathan A. Swett Click To Tweet

I often drop the extra Lenten practice following Easter Sunday. But this year, I think I may continue the practice of a dedicated prayer time, cultivating the sweetness of Lent and the intimacy with God year-round.

“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” Philippians 3:10-11 NIV

What about you? Do you incorporate a practice of sacrifice during Lent? If so, tell us about it. If not, is there a specific reason you don’t? 

By His grace ≈

Julie

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

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