Making the Road: Walking through Lent (Sunday, March 20, Exodus 32:1-6)
This Lent, we make the road by walking prayerfully and mindfully,
attentive to every step that brings us closer to Christ.
Congregations often assume that prayer comes easy for pastoral leaders,
but everyone struggles with this spiritual practice, and it’s important to find
a prayer practice that works for you. We can seek the Spirit through Lectio
Divina or Centering Prayer. We can practice breath prayer, walking prayer,
or wind our way through a labyrinth, feeling that God is with us in our
journey. For years, I practiced a version of fixed-hour prayer, praying in the
morning, at noon, and before bed. Writing, though, is my favorite spiritual
practice and the one I always return to when struggling for inspiration. Free-writing in response to Scripture (or writing a devotional series such as this) is
my surest path to epiphanies.
Essentially, prayer is the practice of attending to the ways God’s Spirit
moves and communicates with us. Sometimes this happens through
words; other times, as our passage from Romans highlights, the Spirit must
intercede for us with “sighs” or, as this Greek word can also be translated,
“groans,” when our words are too shallow and limited.
Simone Weil wrote beautifully about attention as a contemplative
practice through which we are deeply rewarded and by which we can be
transformed. In her book, Gravity and Grace, Weil writes, “Attention,
taken to its highest degree, is the same thing as prayer. … If we turn our
mind toward the good, it is impossible that little by little the whole soul
will not be attracted thereto in spite of itself.” Or, as adrienne maree brown
puts it, “What we pay attention to grows.” This Lent, let us turn our
minds to what is good and what is God, let us grow in prayer through an
intentional practice of attention.
Holy God, we do not know how to pray as we ought. Thank you for
your Spirit’s intercession and this Lenten opportunity to grow in