On March 5, 2019, Christians begin 40 days of reflection and preparation of the Easter celebration. It is a time where Christians replicate Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and withdrawal into the wilderness.
In the words of Pope Francis, “Do you want to fast this Lent?”
• Fast from hurting words and say kind words.
• Fast from sadness and be filled with gratitude.
• Fast from anger and be filled with patience.
• Fast from pessimism and be filled with hope.
• Fast from worries and have trust in God.
• Fast from complaints and contemplate simplicity.
• Fast from pressures and be prayerful.
• Fast from bitterness and fill your hearts with joy.
• Fast from selfishness and be compassionate to others.
• Fast from grudges and be reconciled.
• Fast from words and be silent so you can listen.
Preparing for the fast
Early last fall during a decluttering and minimalizing phase, I moved and ultimately misplaced my personal journals that date several years of writing including my poetry journals. I searched everywhere for weeks for my journals. Devastated and depressed, I succumbed to the realization that my private thoughts and prayers had been taken away in the donation truck.
For months I could not even bring myself to think about my lost journals. I was sure God was speaking to me, but I was still angry and heartbroken over my journals. Then just at the point of acceptance that I would never see my journals again, a miracle happened. A few days before Christmas I was downstairs in the basement and I saw one of the cardboard storage boxes had tipped over. And there inside the box were all my journals! I literally cried tears of joy and I went immediately to my prayer journal to write my feelings of gratitude and repentance of whom and how my journals could have been lost.
My prayer journals were precious to me. However, I believe God was teaching me that I must not look backward but forward. And by giving me back those journals in a sense, I was to take what I had learned from my answered prayers, not just in the return of my journals, but from all of my prayers for a more important future service.
The Temptation of Jesus
Matthew Chapter 4: 1 Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. 2 Jesus did not eat anything for 40 days and 40 nights. At the end of that time, he was hungry.
3 The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
4 Jesus answered, “Scripture says, ‘A person cannot live on bread alone but on every word that God speaks.’”
5 Then the devil took him into the holy city and had him stand on the highest part of the temple. 6 He said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, jump! Scripture says, ‘He will put his angels in charge of you. They will carry you in their hands so that you never hit your foot against a rock.’”
7 Jesus said to him, “Again, Scripture says, ‘Never tempt the Lord your God.’”[a]
8 Once more the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms in the world and their glory. 9 The devil said to him, “I will give you all this if you will bow down and worship me.”
10 Jesus said to him, “Go away, Satan! Scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
11 Then the devil left him, and angels came to take care of him.
(GOD’s Word Translation)
“Worship the Lord your God and serve only him.”
In January, elated that my journals had been found, I knew without a doubt God was preparing for a greater purpose. As I look back during all those many weeks of sadness and bitterness over my lost journals, I had also been placed in situations to see what God wanted me to see – a need to help others understand and grow beyond their own place of hurt.
Preparing for the journey
In order to be the best in God’s service in mind, body, and spirit, I knew in my mind what God was asking of me and I also knew my body was miserably overweight and out of shape. On January 2nd, I converted to an intermittent fasting lifestyle. Enjoying almost immediate benefits in clarity, weight loss, and boosts of energy, God is helping me get into optimal physical condition. He is preparing me for a purpose-filled journey.
Preparing for God’s service in mind, body, and spirit
Now I must prepare my spirit for God’s service during the Lenten season. Lent is a time of abstinence and giving things up. I will be eating one meal a day (OMAD) and fasting the remaining 23 hours during the 40 days of Lent. My desire to fast in this way is bringing clarity into my life of service to God, for the benefit of others and not myself. I am asking for prayers that I do not give into temptation while I meditate and pray upon the bulletin points at the beginning of this post.
From the prayer journal
Lord, bring me close to Your cross that I might know how you loved me and gave Yourself for me. As I follow You from the garden to Calvary, help me watch and pray with You that I may not fall into temptations. Enlighten me that I may see by faith that You knelt in prayer for me, that You, the Holy One, were judged a criminal by unholy men for me, that You suffered the whiplashes of angry sinners as my sinless Savior, that You stumbled under the cross as my Suffering Servant, that you died as the Lamb of God in my stead and for my sake. Lord Jesus, through it all help me hear in Your prayer the single purpose for which You endured pain and death. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Make me into Your disciple, Lord, so I may help others know God’s promises through faith in Him. In Your service, and in Jesus Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
(This prayer was adapted from the Lutheran Book of Prayer.)
Is God preparing you for a journey?
I am praying for you.
May I pray for you?
The Prayer Journal’s blog is my personal spiritual journey in conjunction with writing my spiritual memoir.
Please reach out to The Prayer Journals if I can answer any questions about keeping a prayer journal of your own. A prayer journal is an intimate communication between you and God. You don’t have to be an articulate writer. Use your gifts to communicate with God by perhaps with your talent as an illustrator, a painter, a poet, a lyricist or creator of scrapbooks. God enjoys hearing from you. I know you will be blessed! I know I am!
I enjoy hearing from you too! I’m praying for you.
Blessings on your day,
Connect with The Prayer Journals
© 2016-2019 All Rights Reserved