Confession, Sacrifice, and Praying the prayers of incredibly intelligent and spiritual people

24 February 2012

If I were to be honest, I'd say that the words sacrifice, penitence, and confession make me uncomfortable. And even though I am sometimes a cynical person, I prefer the bright, happy clappy side of faith compared to the dark repentance and suffering side.

{a toddler has entered the room... if I type very quietly, he won't know I'm here...}

In the past I've preferred to give up something slightly superficial for Lent (chocolate, Facebook) in lieu of practicing the deeper, soul-searching stuff (fasting, liturgy). While the former did indeed allow me to focus more on Christ and my family during the Lenten season, I think the latter might foster a greater dependence on and knowledge of Christ.

IMG_20120214_094432.jpgAll that to say is, I'm still contemplating what exactly to fast from this go-round (apart from coffeeshops, which is my favourite treat in the whole world, as me and the kiddos have decided to abstain from certain earthly pleasure like lattes and toy-coveting and save that little bit of money to give to IJM), but I'm also trying to actually follow a devotional/prayer/study plan for Lent.

As you know, I am super terrible at follow-through. I like to blame my carefree spirit and fly-by-the-seat-of-our-trousers type of lifestyle, but really it's that I'm a lazy sinner and put my need for sleep and Grey's Anatomy ahead of my need to communicate with and confess before God.

So in an effort to be accountable - and with the ease of technology - I've committed to doing YouVersion's Devotions for Lent from Holy Bible: Mosaic. I've set an alarm on my phone that tells me it's time to read and reflect, and also get emails every morning with that day's prayer and reading.

I'm also investigating the "offices" which is a word some people throw around, obviously knowing that's shorthand for "praying the prayers of incredibly intelligent and spiritual people." It's new to me, but it just so happens that my mom gave me the book "Common Prayer: a Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals" which includes morning and evening prayers, as well as daily meditations from saints of yore.

And then there's the Hello Mornings study, the book our community group is reading, the nightly devotions with Jack... I am literally surrounded by God's word.

Now don't get me wrong: I will fail at this. I've got three kids who occasionally need to be fed, and there's laundry everywhere, and I'm a sinner. I've not woken up early to read and pray one single day this week. But I want to at least try. And then mess up. And then try again. Because I think the idea of this Lent thing is, as we grow closer to Jesus in these tiny acts of suffering and sacrificing (which, compared to His, are indeed minuscule in comparison), we become more and more aware of our desperate need of a Saviour.

And with that, a thought from Thomas Merton:
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

I don't think it's ever too late to start praying, reading, meditating or confessing... I'd love to hear your thoughts, what you're doing this season, or if you want to join me in any of these things.


  1. I've been feeling the same. I don't want to just give up something superficial this year. I'm continuing my 100 day Bible reading with Youversion and it's been good for me. Even the days I fail. I just catch up the next day. I'm still praying & thinking about what (more?)
    I should do for Lent.

  2. Those are some great resources! Especially the Hello Morning thing. I have not heard of it... I will be praying that you will be wide awake when that alarm goes off in the morning :)