Lent, Prayer, and Keeping it Real


If you’re like me, you start off with a burst of spiritual energy, almost looking forward to the sacrifices and progress you’ll make. I am not proud to admit that sometimes I view Lent as a second chance at forgotten or failed new year’s resolutions. And, while we are certainly encouraged to grow in our personal faith walk, I have to remind myself that these 40 days are, in fact, not about me. Go figure.

Maybe your Lenten plans have gone exactly as planned. I hope that is true. If you’re like me, the plans have fallen short, the negative self-talk is turning up the volume and pointing its shaming finger as Lent marches on toward Calvary.

Thankfully, I had the opportunity to attend a pre-Lenten retreat on prayer with Father Jacques Philippe at the beginning of February. At the advice of a friend, I had been reading his book, Interior Freedom, (deceptively small, but jam-packed with golden nuggets.) I’m so grateful for the timing of her recommendation, or I likely would not have signed up for the retreat, as I had not heard of him before.

I took pages and pages of notes and came away with new insights and new resolve: not for perfection, but for grace. Here are my top TEN takeaways:

  1. When the Word of God lives in your heart, the peace of God will come, because the Word of God IS Peace. (Thursday, February 28, 2019)

  2. What is necessary for today will be given. (Thursday, February 28, 2019)

  3. I am not in competition with others. I just want to be me and answer the call of God in my life. (Thursday, February 28, 2019)

  4. We can’t save ourselves by our own efforts in prayer. No checklist would do it. It is the Lord who builds the house. (Friday, March 1, 2019)

  5. The essential attitude in prayer is to welcome the Lord. I don’t need to be productive. God is productive enough. Just stay and welcome the one who loves me and be transformed by Him. (Friday, March 1, 2019)

  6. Sometimes, we have the DUTY to pray so we won’t put the weight of our difficulties on others. (Saturday, March 2, 2019)

  7. Regarding distractions in prayer: Don’t be discouraged. Just come back to Him. God sees the return, not the departure. (Sunday, March 3, 2019)

  8. Regarding perseverance in prayer: Lean on the essentials. Don’t try to fill in the gap. Simple is best. (Sunday, March 3, 2019)

  9. His mercy will always be greater than my weakness. (Monday, March 4, 2019)

  10. What gives value to the prayer is not the method, but the attitude of faith and love. And to welcome Him. It is good. (Monday, March 4, 2019)

I leave you with these thoughts to ponder. (I know: so much shorter than usual!)

Wishing you a blessed and fruitful Lent.

p.s. If you’d like to see the videos from the retreat, click here! These are all of the videos from the whole 5 day retreat, so I don’t expect that you’ll want to watch them in their entirety. What I can almost guarantee though, is that if you pick any video, click somewhere in the middle, and listen for 5 minutes, you’ll pick up one of the golden nuggets I told you about! If you find one, please share in the comments!

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