Life can get especially busy these days and full of distractions. So much so that we (me included) can frequently experience a lack of spiritual discipline or focus, failing to make time to pray faithfully or even devote serious thought to how we see ourselves and our relationship with God. Lent is a good time to remind ourselves that prayer, even thoughtful reflection is not complicated. Nor does it take an extraordinary effort. I prefer to think of prayer as simply a conversation with God – as detailed or as brief as the opportunity allows.
For many of us, the Season of Lent becomes a perfect time to do this. It is the ideal time to make a well-intentioned effort; to rejuvenate the soul and reclaim a life undone by sin. Through Jesus’ experience in the desert, he models for us that Lent can be a period of self-examination in our quest to understand the meaning of sin, forgiveness and salvation.
In his book, Prayers About Everyday Stuff, John van Bemmel provides this thoughtful prayer for Lent;
I pray this Lent
that You will give me the courage
to do what I should to serve you better
in in my brothers and sisters.
But first grace me with the honesty
to see myself for what I am,
not with the mask I wear for others to see.
Let that be the starting point –
the real me that you see –
of my conversion.
Van Bemmel’s prayer, simple though it is, embodies much of what Lent is for us. The courage to do better, and yes, the honesty and self-awareness that we are sinners, frequently hiding behind a mask, concealing our humanness from others. And there’s hope – we live in the hope of conversion – that somehow the Lenten journey will move us closer to understanding and appreciating Christ’s ultimate sacrifice.