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The following process may be used when planning how to enter the passage of Lent more fully.  Give yourself at least 30 minutes.


Light a candle.  Breathe quietly for a minute or two and remember that God is with you and that God loves you just as you are.

Pray: Give me a candle of the Spirit, O God, as I go down into the deeps of my being. Show me the hidden things, the creatures of my dreams, the storehouse of forgotten memories and hurts. Take me down to the spring of my life, and tell me my nature and my name. Give me freedom to grow, so that I may become that self, the seed of which You planted in me at my making. (George Appleton, 20th century Anglican Bishop)

Lord, anoint this moment of prayer and planning for the sake of the world you love, and my part within it. Through him who shares our suffering for the sake of love. Amen.

The traditional call of lent is to Self-Examination, Prayer, Almsgiving, and fasting.  Use the following questions to help you build a plan for this Lent.  Journaling is best.

A) Self-Examination

Franciscan priest Richard Rohr uses this definition for contemplative prayer - it works just as well for Self-Examination: “A Long, Loving Look at the Real.”

  • What is really going on with you right now?
  • In what disposition is your heart right now?

St. Clare of Assisi, who worked with st. Francis, used the picture of the cross on the front as a focus for her meditation.  She called it “The mirror of perfection.”  As she would gaze at this image of Jesus, she would consider what in her life was most Christ-like and what needed work.  You might do the same as a way of self-examination.  Rely on what you know of Jesus already.  Reflect on the image.

1.      Journaling, what qualities of Jesus are freshest in your mind right now?  List them.  Rate yourself (1-5) on each of these qualities.

2.      In further reflection, name those Christ-like qualities in you that:

  • God celebrates
  • bless others
  • need to be challenged
  • Are in development.  

B) Prayer

  • What personal prayer do you do right now?
  • Is it working?
  • If not what do you need?  More Bible reading?  Fewer words and more silence?  More nature?  A small group?

C) Alms-Giving

  • How do you support God’s work in the world?  Giving to the church?  Giving to ministries and charities.
  • Do the work.  Calculate out what percentage of your gross income this constitutes.  Are you happy with this?  What percentage do you wish to give?

D) Fasting

  • What causes you trouble in life?  Is there something that interrupts your relationships?   Interrupts your prayer life?  Interrupts your responsible use of money?  Interrupts the health of your body?
  • How might you fast from that thing?
  • How might you deepen your relationships with others and with God instead?
  • If you are feeling "pressed and stressed" in your life right now, or have had much taken from you already, you might need to consider what healthy habit or regenerative activity you might take up instead.

Gather it all up in prayer before God… What is God raising up for you to work on especially this Lent? Write out a simple plan to guide your journey.

   “If God is for us, who can be against us?”(Romans 8)

Conclude with the Lord's Prayer.