Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woollen mittens, not forgetting schnitzel with noodles, words from the song my favourite things as sung by Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music. What is this song have to do with lent. For many people, lent means giving up that favourite something: Your favourite glass of wine, favourite chocolate bar, maybe maybe even go one step further and give up smoking a good. abstaining from some of these things may improve your health, and Lent provides a framework in which you can learn to control your impulses. But as well as these negative resolutions, there’s been a move over the last few years to make more positive resolutions during Lent. Instead of giving up or cutting down take positive action. Think you’re going to start doing for them.
On Sunday we had the reading of the Transfiguration where a voice from heaven said about Jesus “this is my son, who love, listen to him” when I spoke about giving time for reflection, for prayer, to listening to God. So how about starting to learn to pray better. We need to pray that God will give us strength to keep our Lenten discipline; but praying doesn’t come easily.
In Matthew 6.v5-6 Jesus says
“When you pray, you mustn’t be like the play actors. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on street corners, So that people will notice them. I’m telling you the truth: they have received very bored in full. No: when you pray, go into your own room, shut the door, and praise your Father who is there in secret. And your father, who sees in secret, will repay you”
Prayer is meant to be an intimate process an intimate time between you and God, it is about our own yours and mine ,our individual relationship with God, so it must be free from distractions and directed 100% at God and not done to impress others. If possible we should find a quiet place and have a quiet time with God is once-a-day. But that is not always easy, if you work at it it is possible to find quiet moments and places, that moment might not always be in church, the parent it might be when children are in bed when we are walking.
Prayer is not easy especially without about privacy I believe it was Rowan Williams who says even he has time when he finds it hard to pray so maybe this Lent will be a good time start refocus on prayer and seek out Times of absolute quiet perhaps moving to a period of meditation creating a deeper inner stillness so that we can be alone with God. As I said on Sunday,maybe God has something he wishes you do for your church, an idea for outreach into the community.
Let’s just go back to Matthew and the ending of v6 “and your father,who sees in secret,will repay you.not that prayer is done for reward and Jesus doesn’t say what kind of reward we should expect. That,too, is part of the point. Simply knowing God better is reward enough; but there may be other things as well.What is clear is that he is inviting his followers to a life in which inside and out match perfectly because both our focused on the God who sees in secret.