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Lenten Spiritual Practices

Back in Advent, I spoke about family traditions in my family during Advent and I thought I would share with you a tradition I’ve picked up in the last five years. For me, Lent has always been a time of deep reflection. Lent forces us to look at our own mortality, our relationship with Christ, and our relationship with one another. In some Christian traditions, it becomes a time of strengthening your relationship with God by fasting, giving things up, using a special devotional, or creating a deeper intentionality of time with God.

With life so busy and time so short, I have become intentional during Lent to create spiritual practices that I can plug into my schedule, keep up with, and with things that will deepen my connection to Christ. Here is a list of a few of my favorite practices and how I implement them into my daily schedule for the forty days of Lent: 

Lent Journal: I am someone who likes to write things down, take notes, and keep track. Journaling has been something that brings me joy and relieves a little stress too! I love looking back at my journals from the past to see my growth, my thoughts, and see if there are spots in my faith that could use a spiritual “boost.” Some prompts I like to use are: 

  • What are three goals I have for my faith during Lent?

  • What is a new spiritual practice I want to try? How did it go? 

  • What are some things I need to forgive myself for?

  • Who are the people that are big parts of my spiritual support system?

  • Is there a marginalized community I want to learn more about so I can better support them?

  • Where have I seen God show up today? 

  • If God could tell me what is in my heart, what would God see and say?

  • Write my favorite scripture in a different way. (This could be listening to a hymn that goes with the scripture, or a song that I think of that reminds me of a scripture, while I write it in a doodle fashion, aimlessly around a page.) How does this make me view this scripture different than I have in the past?

Daily Prayer Challenge: I don’t know about you, but sometimes getting prayer in each day can be a challenge. During Lent, I set a goal that each day, I start with a prayer. It can be a prayer you already know by heart, a prayer for someone different in your life for each of the 40 days, a prayer that is meditative, or you could go all out and use a daily prayer of intercession. Prayer doesn’t have to look one way- what does prayer look like to you? 

Thank You Notes: We often are thankful at Thanksgiving, but Lent can also be an important time to reflect on gratitude. The obvious choice for a thank you note is to Jesus Christ, who gave his life for our sins. However, there are others in our life and in the world that also could use a “thank you” for their support of our faith, our life journey, and for many other things. I write a thank you note each week to someone who has been an important part of my faith journey in the past year, a person who has given me a surprising gift of support, thank you notes to my faith community for the ways in which that community has helped me grow, and to my pastor. 

These are just a few ideas on how implementing a Lenten Spiritual Practice has worked for me, but they may not work for you. Just as our secular needs change and morph, so do our spiritual needs each year. As we grow in faith and in our relationship with God, our spiritual needs become new and different. How do you reflect during Lent? What are some of your traditions? Are you going to start a new spiritual practice this year during Lent? Peace and Blessings, Vicar Sommer

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