Unexpected Impact(s)

Welcome to the third Monday in Lent. We are about half-way through the season and beginning to gear up around the church for Holy Week and then of course Easter Day. My guess is that the spiritual practices you started or the things you have fasted from are beginning to bear fruit in ways expected and unexpected.

My personal Lenten journey has been filled with unexpcted results…some good and some really difficult.

As I shared earlier, I have stopped using my prayer journal during Lent. You can read the full post here, but I felt that the amount of writing was becoming my goal and not my relationship with God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, I am fasting from that practice during Lent.

Ugh…after almost four weeks I continue to struggle to stay focused and connected. Most prayer times begin with a proclamation of Lord and end with a laundry list of to-do items for the day or a meandering of thoughts around issues I am facing. Seemingly each day I regret the decision to fast from writing my prayers. Wow. Didn’t see that coming. It has been very tempting to go back to my old routine. The disconnected feeling from God has been palpable and I don’t like it for one minute.

But I am not feeling compelled to give up my prayer journal fast.

While frustrating, the fascinating part is that the past few weeks have created in me an even deeper hunger for prayer. As bad as it has been, I am more excited to pray and looking forward to the day when I can get back into my routine of writing my prayers and intercessions and more importantly enjoying the communion with God that comes through paying attention.* An anticipation is growing in my heart for Easter Sunday and a renewed sense of desire for spending time with God in prayer. So. Very. Strange. The old adage that absence makes the heart grow fonder is becoming my reality.

When I look at it that way, this Lenten fast couldn’t have been more helpful so far! It could have been easier for sure, but is “easy” the goal of our life with Christ?

*paying attention is a definition of prayer that I love.