NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 2/5

Unlike Advent, when so much reminds us that Christmas is approaching, there's little to put us in a Lenten frame of mind-and-heart each year before Easter.  Of a sudden and without warning, you wake up one day and it's Ash Wednesday!  This year, February 14 will be the day for ashes (as well as Valentine hearts and flowers). That's still over a week away  -  but in anticipation (and for better preparation) I'm writing some Here Comes Lent! posts to help us get ready.  This is the second in that series...

It's almost Ash Wednesday, Lord, 
just 9 days away,
so tonight I'm praying you'll help me get a head start
on preparing and planning, getting ready for and deciding
what I'll do for Lent this year...

Or maybe what I really need to do 
is to sit down, be quiet 
and give you some room in my soul,
so you can get a head start on preparing me 
for what what you've got planned,
what you want to do 
in my mind and heart, 
in my life this Lent...

After all, Lord,
who knows better than you 
what needs to change in me,
    in my words and my deeds,
    my thoughts and desires,
    my appetites and habits,
    my relationships and affections,
    my prejudice and bias,
    my honesty and fairness,
    my selfishness and pride
    my integrity and loyalty...
Who knows better than you how
    my heart needs rebooting,
    my path needs rerouting,
    my prayer needs deepening,
    my generosity needs stretching,
    my honesty needs honing,
    my passions need taming,
    my ego needs humbling,
    and my conscience needs fine tuning...
Who knows better than you, Lord,
    what things I should give up, let go,
        leave behind, sacrifice, give away 
            and learn to live without?

Who knows better than you, Lord,
    all the time I might spend in prayer with you
        but waste, instead, in foolish, empty ways?

Who knows better than you, Lord,
    all I have - and all that I could share -
        with those who have much less than I?

Who knows better than you, Lord,
    how my heart might heal this Lent?
    how my faith might grow this Lent?
    how my ways might change this Lent? 
    how my hope and trust in you might change
        this Lent - and in my life...
You have a plan, Lord,
    a plan for me for Lent,
a plan for what you want to do
    in my heart and in my life 
        in the 40 days ahead...
Help me see and know your plan,
    your Lenten plan for me, Lord,
and open wide my heart and soul
    with gracious, healing mercy...
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
    and watch over me while I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
    and asleep, rest in your peace...
Spirit of the Living God by Daniel Iverson

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