Reflecting on my experience of Lent this year, I wanted to record here some updates and thoughts...
Prayer - As mentioned in my previous post, I undertook an eight week practice of focused prayer, devotions and contemplation using Paul Wesley Chilcote's wonderful book, "Changed from Glory into Glory" as my guide. What a wonderful experience! Until only recently, when I decided to give the church another look, it had probably been years and years since I actually prayed. And, I don't think I've ever before undertaken such a structured and focused practice of prayer. It wasn't always easy. Life being life, there were many times throughout the period when I felt too tired, or simply just "didn't feel like it" that day. But, I persevered and the rewards have been great. I sometimes say, half-jokingly, that "I have a brain like a sieve.' Sometimes I just have difficulty retaining information, especially information I've read on a printed page. But, "Changed from Glory into Glory" is blessedly focused and succinct; I don't think any of the chapters are more than 10-12, or so, pages long. It's been easy enough to go back and find any point about which my mind needed to be refreshed. Having seen this practice through, my prayer-life is in a much better place than it has ever been. While I still have moments of fatigue and dispassion, I, for the most part, truly look forward to and enjoy my time in prayer.
Fasting - The reduced meals and the abstention from drinking coffee proved less trying than I expected. That is not to say there weren't times when I really craved a nice cup 'o Joe; there were many! I really think, though, that allowing myself an extra cup of tea each morning to stave-off any impending caffeine withdrawal was a tremendous help. I don't know that I could've endured otherwise. I never intended my abstention from coffee to be permanent, and now that the season of Lent is passed, I'm again enjoying my morning coffee. However, my coffee consumption remains greatly lessened. This is surely healthier, so, an unanticipated benefit!
Almsgiving - I stated in my pre-Lenten post that any monies saved due to my fasting would be given to charity. I was actually quite surprised at the savings this fasting produced. I am very happy and feel blessed to have fulfilled this pledge by making donations to both First Church of Winthrop and Radio Methos ( http://www.amplifyhope.org )!
To God be the glory, great things he hath done!
Small fish, big pond
- Prayer, fasting and almsgiving - The Reprise