On Wednesday at our Ash Wednesday Gathering, we talked about the disciplines of prayer and repentance during the season of Lent.

We shared how different patterns of prayer have helped re-energise our prayer lives from things like journaling,to practicing the Ignatian discipline of The Examen. Both these practices can help us become more aware of how God is at work through the things that give us life and the things we find challenging.  Here is a simple way to practice The Examen at the beginning or end of the day and here is a more detailed one.

In our busy world and lives, Lent provides a great opportunity to reflect upon our patterns, to pray more deeply and
experience sorrow for patterns of relating to God and others. We know as followers of Jesus that prayer is essential in our relationship with God. Jesus was often in prayer. His disciples observed him in prayer, noticed the times when he was away from them in prayer and they also asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus spent time in prayer, listening to and receiving from his Father as well as talking to his Father. He commented on numerous occasions on how deep and necessary his communion with his Father was (e.g. John 5:19; 12:49 14:31). Both aspects of talking and listening to God in prayer are important but in our busy world we find it hard to be still and quieten our minds. One helpful way to be more attentive to listening is to meditate on scripture. Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” is a great way to start and a number of us have found this a helpful practice.

We also talked about about reflective repentance where we  invite the Holy Spirit to shine His light into the dark places in our hearts and lives (1 John 1:5-2:2). These times are not about feeling guilty or ashamed but are instead about turning to the God, who helps us in our weakness and restores us with His love.  Lasting healing needs the practice of reflective repentance.

During this season of Lent, may you experience drawing nearer to God and others.