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lenten prayers: days 1-5

February 23, 2010

[Note: This year, instead of denying myself something for Lent, I am taking something on, something I have never done with any sense of real, committed consistency — write. I will be writing each and every day of Lent, minus the Sabbath. As a way of providing myself a rhythm, I have decided to make it a point to write a prayer every day. These prayers come from what happens in my life each day — a thought, comment, idea or experience provokes and gives flesh to each one. I am grouping the first five days on here in one big post, but will do my best to post each one the day after I write it. Enjoy, friends.]

It begins with a cross of ash. But what was a brand of mortality and death on my forehead is now just a crumpled, damp tissue in my bathroom garbage can. This is the moment when a symbol isn’t just a symbol anymore; its reality, what it truly and actually means, begins to take on flesh. My flesh. This Lenten season, I die to myself — my laziness, my apathy, my self-doubt — and I pick up a pen.

I am allowing the Holy Spirit to take up residency in my imagination and see what becomes of it. My hope is that She (in my head, the Holy Spirit is female) will begin to teach me my own voice, guiding me through my gifts, showing me how to use them so that Her voice becomes indistinguishable from mine.

I am not caging Her in with page counts or quotas. I want to allow us space to move, to breathe, to catch rhythms in the palms of our hands and begin this dance together, stepping on each others’ toes and tripping with joy. For I am not alone in this; I never have been.

DAY 1: Prayer of Imagination

Lord God, thank You for imagination
Allow us room still inside our innocence
To meet with the pain and the questions
Speak to us there and teach us the flexibility of grace
May we reimagine the world through Your eyes
And trust that art is more than beauty
It is love; the same love with which You birthed the whole world
And imagined the reach of the universe
Grant us eyes that we may be students of your vision.
AMEN.

Day 2: Prayer of Earth

Lord God, thank You for earth
Open us to a conscious communion with the dirt that formed us
And You as Creator, You who breathed for us our first breath
Grant us awareness that we come from the dust that touches our feet
Humble us with the intimacy we share with all living things
Startle us with the generosity of the earth
The earth is Yours and everything in it
May we respect and revere what You have called “good.”
And repent for all the ways we have broken it.
AMEN.

Day 3: Prayer of Friendship

Lord God, thank You for friendship
Give us eyes to see You in each other
Especially when it is easier for “us” to identify a “them”
May we grant each other the grace You give so freely
And teach us to love in ways that exercise the boundaries of our hearts
May we listen more than we speak
May we know what it is to grieve and celebrate and live together
May we understand that community is a part of, not a path to, the Good News
Give us courage to pour our whole selves into one another
So we may never stop being Your face, Your hands, Your feet to each other.
AMEN.

Day 4: Prayer of Animals

Lord God, thank You for animals
Thank You for their intuition to love us in the ways we need most
And for teaching us generosity of affection
May we open ourselves as receptacles to the lessons of a simple heart
Whose whole world is to love and be loved
Thank You for companionship, diversity, beauty and creativity
As they manifest themselves in Your creations
May they be a reminder to us that You are a God who wastes nothing
And whose imagination is as endless as the seas, the deserts, the forests and the skies
And all who live in them.
AMEN.

Day 5: Prayer of Fear

Lord God, forgive me in my fear
In the moments where I believe the lies of the darkness
And close my eyes to Your light
Shine all the brighter and humble me, O God
I admit I don’t know where I am going
And I grieve the times that Your way becomes less important than avoidance of pain
I acknowledge You to be right in all Your ways
Especially those I don’t understand
My feet feel so small in Your footsteps
Grant me courage for each next step
Knowing that fear is weak and crumbles in Your hands
Cleanse me from all that allows me to believe that Your love is selective and finite
In the face of all that tells me otherwise, I ask for boldness to proclaim
That I am never alone.
AMEN.

[Photo credit here.]

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 24, 2010 7:30 am

    I hope you learn much during this time of intentional writing. I’m attempting to do a similar thing.

    P.S. If THAT’S (pictured) the pen you’re picking up, that is awesome…

  2. Grandma permalink
    February 24, 2010 9:34 am

    Caroline….I thought my devotions were accomplished for today. Then I read your Lenten Prayers. Now I really have some “meat” to put on the bones of today. You are an amazing woman and a GREAT blessing to me. Love you. Grandma

  3. Frank permalink
    February 24, 2010 4:31 pm

    I hope your “animals” prayer was at least partially inspired by my darling kitty!

  4. Caroline permalink*
    February 24, 2010 10:26 pm

    @ Victor!

    That’s cool that you’re doing a similar thing! You’ll have to tell me about it at our next Leadership Circle.

    (And no, that is not the pen I am using. Mine is plastic and covered in chewing marks. Much classier.)

  5. Caroline permalink*
    February 24, 2010 10:27 pm

    @ Grandma!

    Thanks so much for always believing in me so faithfully. It’s meant so much more than I can express over the years, to have a grandmother who supports me so fully.

    Love you so much!

  6. Caroline permalink*
    February 24, 2010 10:28 pm

    @ Frank!

    Kitty was definitely a part of it — so was the baby gorilla, the pandas and Kirk/Erin’s cats, who jumped all over me all night long.

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