A lot of people are walking through the Lenten season. 40 days and 40 nights of reflection and review, of sacrifice and sacrament, of prayer and more prayer. I am not formally following the Lent season. I don't think I've ever done so. I've never looked at this season as a time to stop doing something. I look at Lent as a season to start excavating my spirit.
This season I'm mining the depths of my soul and pouring the results onto the pages I am writing.
The only way I know how to go into the caverns is through prayer and meditation. My prayers are focused in the morning, but they're also wrenched from the pit of despair within my heart during odd times of the day.
I believe in the power of prayer, but not because I think praying is a way to get answers to questions and riddles we can't ever solve. I don't believe I guide my prayers. I believe God guides my prayers. And when I listen to God, the direction often goes into territory I hadn't expected, nor wanted. Often times I go there kicking and screaming and fighting. But in the end I yield to His leading and I bow down in acceptance.
I I continue to pray even when the woods become dark and scary and frightening. I continue to pray even when my faith is faltering. I continue to pray even when I know deep, deep, deep down the answer isn't what I wanted to hear.
Why? Why do I kneel and pray even when I know I won't like the answer? Because I have to believe that in praying I am coming closer to God and that He will guide me through the darkest hours. He will pull me out of the depths of despair. He will give me comfort.
My prayers aren't necessary for God. They are necessary for me. Prayer is His gift to me. Prayer is His way of drawing me near, covering my shoulders with his love, sheltering me from the storms, and bringing me peace if only for that moment.
And for that I give thanks. And for that I go back to my knees and pray again.
All faiths have their rituals and prayers. What are your rituals? Did you give something up for Lent? Do you believe in the power of prayer? If so where do your prayers lead you?