Praying 10 minutes today: FRIDAY 2/15

Find a quiet time and place to pray... take a few deep breaths...
be still... and know that God is near...

A word to reflect on:   
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting...- Joel 2

(Before moving on to the reflection below,
   spend some quiet time with the scripture verse above...)

To help us ponder Joel's call above, let's consider these words of 17th century poet, Robert Herrick:

To Keep A True Lent

Image: MonterreyGourmet

Is this a fast, 
to keep the larder lean
and clean from fat of veal and sheep?

Is it to quit the dish of flesh, 
yet still to fill 
the platter high with fish?

Is it to fast an hour, or ragged to go,
or show a downcast look
and sour?

No: 'tis a fast
to dole thy sheaf of wheat and meat
unto the hungry soul.

It is to fast from strife, 
from old debate and hate;
to circumcise thy life.

To show a heart grief-rent; 
to starve thy sin, not bin;
and that's to keep thy Lent.

Lord, its the third day of Lent
   and for these 40 days I'm giving up ___________

Whatever food or drink, whatever pleasure or activity
   I've given up, I want to do that for good reason, good cause...

Through my giving up something that has its grasp on me,
   I want to be freer to be held by your word...

May my fasting unsettle my comfort, contentment,
   my unobserved self-serving habits...

Through my going without, I want to grow closer to you
   and to those around me, especially those in need...

May my fasting not feed my pride
   but rather make me more humble
      before you and my neighbor...

Let me not make a scene of what I'm doing:
   as much as possible let my sacrifice be quiet,
       between you and me, not something for others to see...

In the void my fasting creates, keep me from looking for,
    keep me from finding other creature comforts
      to fill the emptiness...

May my "fasting from" give me "freedom for"
   praying, sharing, helping, reaching out, discerning,
      refocusing, repenting and reconciling...

Let my fasting heighten my senses 
   and make me more aware of what’s going on around me...

Let my fasting sharpen my awareness
    that I might see temptation for what it is
and learn to recognize it when it comes,
   in any shape and form...

And if my fasting saves me money,
   open my heart to those in need
to share with them the fruits of my fast:
   let my hunger and thirst and emptiness
      fill them with good food and drink
         and shelter them from the cold and snow...

Help me bring my fast to prayer, Lord,
   that you fill the empty place within me
      with the bounty of your presence and peace...

In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
   help me ponder the emptiness fasting brings
      and open my mind, my heart and my soul
         to all you offer to fill me with your love... 

Note: Individual, personal health concerns and "doctor's orders" always take precedence over fast and abstinence!

To ponder and pray over...
What's my Lenten fast? Do I still need to decide?
Why do I give something up?  What do I hope for in fasting?
Do I fast or give something up until I feel, until I know,
   the emptiness it can bring?   
How can my fasting, my giving up, help those in need? 
What will I ask of the Lord today?
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me
   to carry through the rest of my day?

(After you spend some time with these questions,
   pray the reflection above one more time...)

Here are some tips for praying 10 minutes a day.  If you find these daily prayer reminders helpful, please let me know - and share them with others. 

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1 comment:

  1. Someone gave me a Lenten tip several years ago which was to make my fast realisitc, so that it would not overwhelm me; this had been my challenge in years past...to decide to fast from one thing per day/week. I have found it to be effective because as I fast from somethng different each day or week, it seems to raise my awareness and keep me better focused.It keeps me aware not only what I am fasting from, but what I should be feasting on in it's place.


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