Lenten Meditation from our Diocesan Chaplain

As I write this meditation it is only a few days to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. As a child, I dreaded this season. ‘Oh no, not Lent again,’ I would complain as it had a selection of hymns that to my young mind was a wearisome collection of dreary tunes. It did very little for my spiritual wellbeing. My mind was not concentrated on holy thoughts, rather, it was simply a matter of how long I had to endure until I could get tucked into my favourite brand of cheese and onion crisps after a season of deprivation.  I don’t have many particularly positive memories of bygone Lents.

However, the older I get, the more I look forward to the opportunities the season of Lent brings with it.  We are being encouraged more and more to see Lent as a time of doing something positive rather than starving ourselves of some artery blocking foodstuff. So how about addressing the following question this Lent, are we more faithful disciples today than we were this time last year?  If not, what can we do to change this?

I would suggest that most of us have difficulty with our prayers and may even ask why should we pray at all?  None of us will ever know the true results of our prayers this side of heaven, but Jesus reminds us of our duty in the Lord’s prayer and that is to pray that God’s kingdom will come.  Prayer requires us to help God fulfil his plans and through our prayers we should be encouraged into action.

Through prayer we are invited into a relationship with God which is a relationship that involves both talking and listening.  It is talking with God about what we are doing together.  It is the knitting together of our hearts with the heart of God.  Where there is much prayer, there is much love.  G. Ashton Oldham says ‘Prayer does not consist in battering the walls of heaven for personal benefit or the success of our plans.  Rather it is the committing of ourselves to carrying out God’s purposes.  It is a telephone call to headquarters for orders.  It is not bending God’s will to ours, but our will to his.’  Maybe if we thought about prayer in this way, we would not be so disappointed when our prayers don’t get the answers we were hoping for.  

How about being still for five our ten minutes in God’s presence and let him speak to us.  We are not good at dealing with silence in our lives and especially in our prayers.  Could we use this Lent to develop a new skill in our prayer lives – listening to God? Along with that, why not try and follow a study aid?  There are many online guides such as the free UCB daily bible notes or bibleinoneyear@htb.org.uk There are many on-line daily services.  Why not get up a bit earlier and tune in and be spiritually nourished before your breakfast cereal?

I hope you have a holy, happy and spiritually healthy Lent. 

Stephen McBride

Connor Mothers’ Union Diocesan Chaplain

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