At the beginning of Lent, many of us decide to give up something that we really enjoy, like our favourite treats of sweets, crisps and chocolates.In recent years more and more people are choosing to give up things like watching television, playing games on the computer or trying to live without their iphones for 40 days! The reason is that these days we are bombarded with massive amounts of information, personal news and irrelevant ephemera via email, Facebook, twitter etc. Trying to find time for God is crowded out by the demands of modern life.
Lent is the perfect time to reassess our relationship with God and to try to improve the quality of our prayer life. This is not easy, but it is rewarding. Remember prayer is not a monologue but a dialogue which requires us to develop the habit of spending time with God that is undisturbed, focused and determined.Some of us find this very difficult to achieve.
Joyce Huggett, in her book, “Listening to God”, provides us with some excellent and useful advice. She suggests these seven steps to help us grow closer to God in prayer: physical relaxation and silence; becoming aware of God’s presence; surrendering to Him in obedience; acceptance of ourselves as He sees us; repenting and receiving forgiveness; spending time in contemplation; receiving grace and expressing gratitude; listening to specific instructions; and moving to action. If we are able to follow this advice, I’m sure our prayer lives will be greatly enriched.
We are also learningabout the ‘Five Rhythms of Grace’ through our weekly Lent course. If we practise Joyce Huggets’ suggestions and we embrace the ‘Five Rhythms of Grace’, I am sure that each of us will grow closer to God this Lent.Together may they help us to discern what God is saying to us,individually, and show us what His plans are for us, collectively, as His church here at St. Martin’s.
God bless, Jackie