Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Different Kind of List

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Many of us are contemplating beginning a Lenten discipline of some kind. Celeste has a long list -- she's at home with a baby, making art, and has already learned that without intentionality, the days fly by too fast. Diane has resolved -- well, her post is so good you should read it yourselves, especially the knitters! Cathy is Loving Life, Loving Lent, and Kathryn is learning to let herself be taken care of -- her post on RevGalBlogPals (scroll back to Tuesday) has much wisdom for all of us. All these plans have something in common -- being intentional about making a change. Without mindful intention, it's too easy to go on doing what we've always done, and not doing what we've always not done, and then wondering why nothing changes.

So what's my Lenten discipline going to be? I am doing one traditional "giving up" -- no computer solitaire! "Just one more game" too often turns into a late night, a book unread, a blog unblogged. There are better ways to spend my time.

More importantly, and far more difficult, I am going to be intentional about intercessory prayer, and do some thinking about how to do it.

Reading a blog, an email, a letter, or even the newspaper, it's easy to say "I'll keep you in my prayers." Too often in my case, those prayers are limited to the few seconds of silent prayer at church on Sunday. Even then, I tend to bring forward the two or three people who are uppermost in my mind and realize later that I've left out several more. Another time I pray is before falling asleep at night; in the quiet, it's easier to recall the people, but sleep too often cuts short the prayer time.

My plan in brief: to keep a written prayer list; to pray each day; to try using the prayer beads I made a few years ago; and to learn more about intercessory prayer.

Here are the prayer beads:
This part has symbols of several faiths, so be sure I can pray for you whether you are a Christian or not!

About the last part of the plan: I always have a feeling that it may be a little selfish just to be praying for specific people I know, when so many people I don't know may be in need of prayer for the same trouble. So quite often I will pray for "X and all others struggling with addiction," "Y and all others dealing with mental illness," and so on. I invite your thoughts on whether this is a useful practice.

May all who keep it have a blessed and fruitful Lent.

5 comments:

Mrs. M said...

Auntie Knickers, this is so timely for me. I was praying about intercessory prayer just last night. It's time for more focus on this for me, too, I think.

Would that we could do it together...

Diane said...

I love love love your prayer beads. been thinking about these things, myself...

Crimson Rambler said...

I hear you about the solitaire. "I will if you will" -- at least, I'll try...
and a good and happy and holy Lent to you also, auntie!

Sophia said...

What a wonderful practice to take on, and what a wonderful set of prayer beads to do it with.

I love the idea of praying for those we know of and those struggling with the same things....that will influence my own intercession. Thank you.

Many blessings on your Lent!

Sisterfilms said...

I always find it interesting at Ash Wednesday Service when we have a time to lift up our prayers, both silently and out loud, that some people are more inclined to use names and facts and others (like myself) tend towards more overarching prayers. Nothing wrong with either of course, just interesting... I lifted prayers for "those who find it so difficult to respect themselves that they end up disrespecting others" as well as for people living with Autism - that they may find communities to feel safe in and that others may find the ability to be comfortable with them... if you wanted to add those to your prayers, I would appreciate it!