Friday pray along: thoughts on Lent

Have I told you how much I love Lent? I know it's kind of odd, seeing as it's the most solemn time in the church year and tends to be rather depressing. Lent calls for us to cast off all our distractions and focus on preparing for the death and rising of Our Lord, Jesus. It is a time when we are given the opportunity to discern what it is we can sacrifice that will best allow us to draw closer to Him--by stripping away what is unnecessary.

But Lent isn't just about sacrifice and giving things up. It's also an opportunity to add something to our lives that will deepen our relationships with God. A goal I have every year during Lent is to improve my prayer life. I've shared before about how easily I can get into a prayer rut: these are the things I am thankful for, these are the petitions I have, Amen. When I'm pressed for time or I'm not exactly "feeling The Spirit" that is always the routine I fall back into.

Several people who I consider to be wise and spiritually focused have recommended that in times such as those, it can be helpful to begin a prayer with a Psalm or the heartfelt prayer of another that speaks to me and can refocus my heart on beginning a conversation with God. With that in mind, I have chosen the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi to lead me through my prayers this Lenten season. It has always been one of my favorites (we sang the song as part of our wedding) and lifts my soul no matter what is going on in my life.

And so I share it with you here today in the hopes that it may lead you toward a place of peace and find along with that clarity, inspiration and devotion in your prayers as well.

Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

What prayers are you carrying this Lenten season? Let us hold them with you.

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

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