For over fifteen I have been adopting a spiritual discipline for Lent. These disciplines have varied widely from traditional spiritual practices revolving around prayer and bible study to more creative hands-on practices. For example, one year I went green and gave up my car, opting for bicycling, public transportation and walking. Another year I sewed baby blankets and prayed for the children who would receive them. And yet another, I did random acts of kindness daily. I can honestly say that nearly every year has been transformational.
This year’s discipline will involve a combination of prayerful meditation and writing. Plus, it will benefit YOU. Specifically, I am sitting outside each day and publishing a devotional on the experience. Each devotional will end in a one sentence prayer, know as a collect. A collect is an old form of prayer that has five elements. To learn more about this form of prayer CLICK HERE.
What my daily practice will look like for Lent
Here are the core elements I will to start with.
- Sit outside
- Get still and quiet
- Offer thanks (click here for a podcast episode of exactly how I give thanks)
- Move into my senses for at least ten minutes
- Immediately capture in writing my observations afterwards
- Note in my observations when my attention wandered
- Record at least three questions prompted by my experience
- Lastly, publish a devotional based upon the experience
I will adjust the practice if I think modifications will help me experience a deeper connection to God.
Plus, a weekly review
Once a week, I will shoot a video reflection. I will share with you how the practice is going, adjustments needed, and lessons learned. I will also be more than happy to answer questions.
Reflecting weekly is one of the most important habits to develop around any spiritual discipline. Reviewing your process will help you:
- Celebrate wins, so you stay motivated
- Identify struggles, so your practice doesn’t fail
- Glean and digest your most important lessons, for deeper learning and growth
Where can you find these daily devotions during Lent?
Starting Ash Wednesday, I will publish the devotions daily on this blog. I’m also excited to announce that I have enabled push notifications which you can opt for when you visit my site and you will receive a notification immediately when post become available.
Links to the daily devotion will also appear on The Practical Disciple facebook page, my church’s Facebook page, and a private Facebook Group I have for Christian Yogi’s called Christ, Yoga, and You.
For those of you who are not aware, I am also a certified yoga instructor. If you enjoy yoga and would like connect with other Christian Yogi’s, feel free to come join that group. In that group, I share practices and principles to help you live a more fit, faithful, and abundant life.
Lastly, I intend on releasing these devotionals as short podcast episodes. We’ll see how that goes. If I find that this is not sustainable, I will just stick to a written format, but I want to at least give it a try. To subscribe to my podcast go here.
A sample devotional
I made a trial run at this spiritual discipline yesterday to work out any kinks before Lent begins tomorrow, Ash Wednesday. Here is an example of what the devotionals will look like:
As I went to sit on my patio, I almost sat in a small patch of melting ice in one of the patio chairs. This caught me off guard. You don’t expect an icy chair on a sunny day, especially when it’s 58 degrees outside. The patch was an echo from a winter storm that came through several days prior.
How had that little icy patch no bigger than my palm survive this long? I realized two things. First, the chair was positioned just right so that a micro-climate was formed. As a result, the chair captured excessive snow and ice. Second, this same micro-climate was keeping the accumulated snow shaded, so that it was some of the last snow to go.
As I looked around the yard I noticed other “echoes” from weather past. Numerous small limbs littered our yard – echoes from the ice storm. Wavy berms of mulch, like tiny speed bumps littered the slope of our yard – echoes of an intense rain storm washing down the hillside weeks prior. The mulch ridges – an echo of me mowing months prior. And mowing – an echo of leaves dropping. So many signs of past events on the land.
In that moment, I realized the afterlife, the echoes, of events linger longer tha pay attention to. If we aren’t mindful, we blunder right into the echoes. For me, this would have meant sitting on a cold wet chair unexpectedly on a sunny day. Unpleasant, but not with much consequence other than a soggy bottom.
Some echoes are not so forgiving. For example, you inadvertently, step into the echo of an old hurt and find yourselves responding harshly to someone you love. You are not even sure why. Or, perhaps, someone told you, you weren’t creative and the echo keeps you from painting, or singing, or another artistic expression you would love to try. Or perhaps, you failed on a professional front and now the echo of embarrassment keeps you playing small.
If you don’t recognize echoes, they sneak up and bite you. They hold you captive, inexplicably stress you, and limit the beauty of who God intended you to be.
What storms have you had in the past? And, what are the possible echoes that blindside you, or silently control you?
A Collect for Healing of Echoes
Gracious God, the great I AM, who was, is, and will always be, grant us awareness of echoes of storms past, so we recognize their undue influence today, and can respond in ways that free us from their grip in the future, through Jesus we pray. Amen.
PS: If this devotional was a blessing to you. Please share it with a friend or on your favorite social media. Thank you and blessings.