During this year’s season of Lent our worship and sermons have been focused on deepening our prayer life and trying new types of prayer. Here are some of our highlights:
Moses didn’t realize that the skin of his face shone brightly because he had been talking with God — Exodus 34:29
Lent 1: Prayer changes our faces because we look into Jesus’ face in prayer, and especially as we gather around the communion table for the prayer of the Lord’s supper.
Celebrate all the good things the Lord your God has done for you and your family–each one of you along with the Levites and the immigrants who are among you — Deuteronomy 26:11
Lent 2: Gift-giving and the Sunday offering as a form of prayer and joyful thanksgiving to God
He brought Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you think you can count them.” He continued, “This is how many children you will have.” Abram trusted the Lord, and the Lord recognized Abram’s high moral character. — Genesis 15:5-6
Lent 3: Waiting as prayer and breath prayers. Abram waited prayerfully for a long time for the fulfillment of God’s promises, and he also tried to take matters into his own hands during all that waiting. Perhaps we could avoid some of our own sins and missteps if we treat all times of waiting as times of prayer and leaning closer to the Lord. Breath prayers are a practice of praying a simple phrase with one’s cycle of breathing. They can be done anywhere and in any situation, even while in a crowded waiting room or while on hold or in line. Click for some examples of breath prayers from phrases in the scriptures.
God awakens my ear in the morning to listen — Isaiah 50:4
Lent 4: Praying the hours. The early church under the Roman Empire developed a schedule of praying at 7 specific hours of the day, following the ordinary schedule of the business day. Setting aside 7 moments of prayer throughout our day can help us move toward praying “without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). As we approach Holy Week, praying phrases of Jesus and about Jesus at the cross will draw us into the loving offering of his life that Christ offers us and the whole world:
- My God, my God 2. Truly, this man was God’s Son 3. Father forgive them
4. Truly, today you will be with me in paradise 5. Into your hands I commend my spirit 6. I thirst 7. It is finished
Click for more description on these phrases of prayer
The Lord says–who makes a path in the sea and a path in the mighty waters… a way in the desert, paths in the wilderness — Isaiah 43:16, 19
Lent 5: Prayer walks and labyrinths. There is a lot of movement with God in the scriptures–a generation of wandering through the wilderness, exploring and building on the promised land, the march into exile and back home again, walks with Jesus from town to town, Jesus’ celebrated parade into Jerusalem, his painful walk to the cross, and the curious and joyful walks of the disciples looking for a body that they would not find in the tomb. Labyrinths are a form of prayer walk that invite us on a journey with God. Many Christians take time to walk labyrinths during Lent and Holy Week, remembering the winding path of the cross and the resurrection. Click for more info on prayer labyrinths.
God! My God! It’s you—I search for you! My whole being thirsts for you! My body desires you in a dry and tired land, no water anywhere — Psalm 63:1
Lent 6: Praying the Psalms. The Psalms are frequently quoted in the Gospels, and especially in the accounts of Jesus’ Passion. When we pray the Psalms, we pray words Jesus prayed and come to know his constant presence with us and ministry for us.
Click for a Bible study resource on the Passion Psalms