This year I have decided to take part in the (new for me) practice of Lent. It supposedly started on Wednesday, but I have been thinking through what I should do and have started today.
Lent as described on Wikipedia is: "Lent in the Christian tradition, is the period of the liturgical year from Ash Wednesday to Easter. Lent is a time of sacrifice for Jesus. The traditional purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer — through prayer, repentance, almsgiving and self-denial — for the annual commemoration during Holy Week of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus, which recalls the events linked to the Passion of Christ and culminates in Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lent
Some believe that Lent is a practice that helps earn favor with the Lord. I in no way am doing this to earn any favor with the Lord, but to draw nearer to Him and grow more in my relationship with Him. The Lord is doing some amazing things around us and I want to be a spilled out vessel for Him to use.
In my own form of Lent I want to develop a deep rooted passion for prayer and expand my prayer life to new depths. I want a life of continual and purposeful prayer. I want to be so in tune with the Lord that I know how and what I should pray for. I have a goal to study the subject of prayer daily in my quiet time, read books on prayer in my free time, plan weekly prayer walks, and keep a prayer journal. Here are a couple books on prayer that I plan on reading in my free time:
A Hunger For God by John Piper
Praying Hyde (my favorite book ever...as of now)
E.M. Bounds collection on prayer
The Prayer Life by Andrew Murray
It has been so neat to see the Lord working the last few weeks. He has answered so many prayers and brought many people to Himself. I want to share a couple quick testimonies as a result of God working.
A couple weeks ago right before dinner a gentleman came to the door and asked for the Pastor. To our surprise the man was here to get His life right with the Lord and get back into church. I was totally having a hallelujah breakdown. :) This might be the norm for some, but we have never had a stranger show up at the door seeking to get right with the Lord.
The other day we had a nurse come to the house for an insurance health exam and she was talking about God, but we quickly realized she was not saved. While she was taking our blood she started talking about baptism. She told us she thought it was crazy that Baptists believe you need to be dunked. One thing led to another and she basically asked us how we believe a person gets saved. One minute we are talking about shots the next salvation. Mark was able to share the Gospel with her, and while she did not accept Christ she sure had a lot to think about on the way back home.
I am thrilled to see the Lord working around us, and cannot wait to see all that He has in store for our town. In saying that I know there is no way that apart from Him we can do anything. If anything good will come out of our lives it has to be the work of Christ. So by His power and my willingness I surrender for Him to use me.