Lent is a time when we embark on a wilderness journey toward reconciliation and wholeness. It is a time when we let go of what is distracting us in our relationship with God through Jesus Christ; a time when we get back to the basics, both individually and corporately. For me, Lent is a time for renewed commitment to prayer. As a pastor, I often pray for the members of my congregation, but as part of my personal Lenten observance this year, I decided to pray for the people in my church in a more intentional and deliberate way. After distributing a prayer calendar listing individuals and families to be prayed for by name on a particular day, I invited the members to share specific needs or concerns with me as they felt comfortable. I know my congregation pretty well and honestly thought I could predict the requests they would share with me – like family members with grave illnesses, employment needs, etc. Yet I was surprised and humbled when I received e-mails from some of them requesting prayer for daily life – for courage to face addictions, and strength and wisdom in dealing with teenagers and other relationship issues. One member said she would pray for me and told me not to be afraid to ask the congregation for prayers for me, too. This has turned into so much more than I imagined and I am looking forward to deepened relationships within my congregation. I would encourage you to consider this discipline if you have not already tried it. If you have done it, please share your experiences. Being in community gives us great opportunities to learn from each other.
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