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Lent, A Season of Prayer: Why Do We Resist Renewal?

We’ve all had those conversations before, the ones where it is so evident that we have wronged someone or they have wronged us. The problem is that no one wants to be wrong, despite what they tell you.

Can you imagine a world in which we never own our mistakes or shortcomings? That kind of world would not need Jesus, for it was his purpose to show us that there is a better way for all of us.

But despite the overwhelming love and grace of God that desires to guide us in the right direction, we too often don’t want to change our way of thinking and living. I’ll put myself at the front of that line and wave the banner.

Why do we resist the invitation of Jesus to daily renew our minds, refresh our hearts, and reframe our soul’s desires? Why does it seem so hard to admit that we don’t know it all, that maybe we have been wrong about certain things, and, just maybe, God might know a thing or two about what is best for us and the world?

We are in the season of Lent, a 40-day journey with Jesus to Jerusalem and his gruesome death for our sake. In this season, participants are invited to prayer and repentance, fasting and contemplation, and sacrifice and giving. Lent is the ultimate season of renewal as we are transformed by drawing closer to Jesus.

Are you on this intentional journey? If not, are you not sure where to begin?

The journey of Lent begins with prayer. Maybe consider this powerful prayer penned by the great Henri Nouwen from his book “From A Cry of Mercy”:

How often have I lived through these weeks without paying much attention to penance, fasting, and prayer? How often have I missed the spiritual fruits of the season without even being aware of it? But how can I ever really celebrate Easter without observing Lent? How can I rejoice fully in your Resurrection when I have avoided participating in your death?

Yes, Lord, I have to die—with you, through you, and in you—and thus become ready to recognize you when you appear to me in your Resurrection. There is so much in me that needs to die: false attachments, greed and anger, impatience and stinginess…. I see clearly now how little I have died with you, really gone your way and been faithful to it. O Lord, make this Lenten season different from the other ones. Let me find you again. Amen


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