Resources for Lent
A Message from the Rector:
How can I keep a holy Lent this year? Let’s start with what the Church invites us to do (BCP p. 265):
- Self-examination and repentance
- Prayer, fasting, and self-denial
- Reading and meditating on God’s holy Word
Self-examination and repentance: The two most popular words in the Ash Wednesday liturgy (not). Here’s a “life hack” that will help you in this process:
Before you say or do anything, ask yourself, “How does what I intend to say or do give glory to God?” It doesn’t have to be anything grand or life-changing that you’re planning to say or do. It’s a question you can return to throughout the day. And, at the end of each day you can ask yourself, “How did I give glory to God today?” “What can I do better tomorrow?”
Prayer, fasting, and self-denial: Of what do I need to let go, at least for a time, so that I can more intentionally practice the presence of God in my life? What are my daily habits? What are the things that I just can’t live without? Is there something that you’re holding on to that you can entrust to God, so that you don’t have to be possessed by it anymore? If you can risk letting go of something (whether it’s a desire for a new car, anxiety, too much screen time, or even despair) then you will have opened up a space in your life for God’s purposes. Ever wonder what those might be?
Reading and meditating on God’s holy Word: Pick a Gospel, any Gospel, and make time to read a chunk of it each day. It can be a little chunk or a big chunk, depending on your schedule, but keep at it, even if you need to keep reading after Easter. Write it into your schedule. Oh, by the way, another way to read and meditate on God’s holy Word is to come to church on Sunday. You can read the Scripture in your bulletin as the lector is reading it aloud, and then you might hear something in the sermon that’s worth meditating on. Or not. Do your own meditating, use your own wisdom and intellect as you approach the Scriptures. You don’t need a theological degree or advanced training in order to read Scripture. Your own imagination will do just fine.
Be prepared for hiccups and monkey wrenches and feelings of failure if you miss a day. Don’t let that stop you. Pick yourself up and keep on going with your plan for Lent. And, by all means, keep checking the additional resources for Lent listed below–you might find something worth pursuing. And know that God is pleased with your efforts.
from the E-News, March 6-12, 2022, slightly edited for use here.
The Rector’s recommendations are highlighted below
Self Examination and Repentance
- Throughout the day: before you say or do anything, ask yourself, “How does what I intend to say or do give glory to God?” And, at the end of each day you can ask yourself, “How did I give glory to God today?” “What can I do better tomorrow?”
- Pray the Confession from the Daily Office (BCP 79, 116-7, 127 or Enriching our Worship I 19)
- Pray the Litany of Penitence from the Ash Wednesday service (BCP 267-9)
- Pray through Psalm 51 (BCP 656-7)
- Practice the Daily Examen
Prayer, Fasting, and Self-Denial
Pray by Listening:
Prayer through Motion:
- Contemplative writing or journaling your prayers
- Pray by coloring
- Pray using prayer beads
- Walking prayers (prayer walks, including praying a labyrinth)
- use prayer postures
- Dance your prayers (motio divina)
- Ignatian prayer
- visio divina (see the E-News for an artwork or an icon that is related to the Gospel reading)
Pray using set prayers and liturgies
- Singing hymns and spiritual songs
- Pray the Collect of the Day (from the weekly bulletin or weekly meditation on the Collect)
- Pray the Prayers of the People from Sunday (in the bulletin or any of the forms found in the BCP 383-393)
- Pray one of our parish litanies
- Pray the Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families (BCP 136-140)
- Pray using Daily Prayer for all Seasons
- Pray one or more hours of the Daily Office (apps, podcasts, and online groups are available)
Pray using Scripture
- Prayerfully read Scripture
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer as an intercessory prayer
- Pray using the Psalms (especially consider chanting or singing the Psalms)
Prayer Apps and Websites
Centering Prayer/Contemplative Silence: Contemplative Outreach’s app (Apple and Android)
BCP Daily Office
The readings and Collect of the Day are found here on our website
Fasting and Self-Denial
- So that I can more intentionally practice the presence of God in my life, of what do I need to let go, at least for a time? What are my daily habits? What are the things that I just can’t live without? Is there something that you’re holding on to that you can entrust to God, so that you don’t have to be possessed by it anymore?
- Consider fasting from social media
Reading and Meditating on God’s Holy Word
- Pick a Gospel, any Gospel, and make time to read a chunk of it each day. It can be a little chunk or a big chunk, depending on your schedule, but keep at it, even if you need to keep reading after Easter.
- Read the scriptures from the Daily Office Lectionary (BCP 934 ff; this week’s readings are found on our website here)
- Take up a Bible reading plan (such as those found at Bible Gateway or other sources)
- Read a scripturally-based daily devotional (such as Forward Day by Day which is available online and in booklet form at church)
- Practice Lectio Divina
- Practice visio divina (see the E-News for an artwork or an icon that is related to the Gospel reading)
From and with our Parish
Join us in Prayer on Tuesdays and Fridays at Noon or use An Order of Worship for the Evening in Lent at home
From the Society of
St John the Evangelist
SSJE offers a daily meditation and Sunday sermons and sermons during Holy Week
From The Mercy Center
The Mercy Center offers a variety of resources: online resources, scheduled Lenten retreat programs, a place to pray walk a labyrinth, personal quiet days, and personal or guided overnight retreats
From the National Church
A journal for practicing gratitude is offered by the United Thank Offering.
The Episcopal Relief & Development provides daily meditations.
Many other resources are available.
From the Diocese of Missouri
Book Discussion with Bishop Deon Johnson and Canon Doris Westfall: Tuesdays, March 8 – April 5, 7 p.m. Book: Hospitable Planet: Faith, Action and Climate Change by Stephen A. Jurovics. Learn more and get the Zoom link.
For more resources from the Diocese, see the Diocesan website