Lent – Give up or Take up?
“So what are you giving up for Lent?”
As I mentioned in my post last week, often it’s this question that dominates discussions around the season of Lent. Yes, if the season involves “spring cleaning of the soul” (I like that expression), then letting go of our junk makes sense.
Fasting is an important aspect of our walks allowing us to let go of our dependence on certain things (food, TV shows, internet, etc) so we can filled by the Lord whilst relying on Him.
But I wondered for myself what is more important is to actually take up a new practice. Last week, I mentioned there were certain areas in my daily routine that I had become undisciplined over, so was not achieving as much as I should be.
The best way to change a bad habit is to replace it with a good one. Isn’t that what they say?
“The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)
On reflecting some more on Mike Bickle’s video from the other day, the Lord nudged me to suggest I could use some of that wisdom in my own prayer life. In particular, it was the point about specifically scheduling time for prayer.
I find I’m constantly going through my day praying. However, I’ve recently found too many of my days involve this ongoing dialogue-style of prayer. Which is good in one way, but often lacks meaty substance, particularly when it comes to repeatedly bringing the needs of others before the Lord.
I find there are too many times where I’ll pray once or twice about a need and then never again. Now that isn’t very consistent with Paul’s idea of “praying unceasingly” is it?
Further, after going through most of January by starting the day with ten minutes of silence, I’ve stopped doing it. I obviously didn’t do it for the required number of days for it to become a habit. Ha. (I’ve always thought it was 21 or 28 days. But I recently read some research that suggests it 66 days.)
So that’s my plan now. Take up a structured set aside time for silence and prayer each morning as I start my day. In doing this plus being more diligent about planning each day and sticking to the plan, I reckon I’m going to do a reasonable clean out of some of my soul’s junk.
I even downloaded a groovy little iphone app: “Prayer Notebook” to help me. Ann Voskamp recommended it on her blog, and I’m finding it’s pretty neat so far.
Are you giving up or taking up something for Lent this year?