The following is a reprint of a devotion I posted a few years ago:
Today is Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the season of Lent. I always love this time of year. Well, I love it and dread it.
I love it because I recognize that it is a wonderful opportunity to focus on being disciplined – a disciple – for Christ. To take inventory of my life and do some housecleaning: out with the old and ineffective ways of being – those things that are preventing me from being in right relationship with God; in with the new and more intentional ways of being a Christ-ian.
I dread it because it is not something that happens easily or comes naturally. My natural tendency is to schlep away the hours watching reality t.v., eating chocolate and spending too much time on Facebook. Lent challenges me to be aware of those natural tendencies that are keeping me from God, to confess them, and then to practice being disciplined. In doing so, I develop a greater awareness of God’s grace in my life and the ways in which He is calling me to follow him, even to Jerusalem and Golgotha, and to the joyful Easter resurrection that follows.
This week’s prayer bead devotion is focused on that Lenten journey. It begins with confession so that we can understand where we are currently and identify those areas in our life that are keeping us from being fully present with God. It then gives us the opportunity to listen for what God is saying to us – the ways in which He is calling us into a greater relationship with Him, and then to name those disciplines we can take on and practice during Lent. Finally, it reminds us to ask for God’s help, for it is only by His grace that we can take up the cross and follow Him.
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen.
Invitatory Bead: “After this he went out and saw a tax collector named Levi, sitting at the tax booth; and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up, left everything, and followed him.” (Luke 5:27 – 28, NRSV)
1st Cruciform Bead: Lord, forgive me for my sins that keep me from being your true disciple.
1st set of Week Beads: use each bead to confess your sins.
2nd Cruciform Bead: Lord, help me to listen for your call.
2nd set of Week Beads: use each bead to listen to the ways in which God is calling you to discipleship.
3rd Cruciform Bead: Lord, I commit to practicing the following disciplines during this season of Lent.
3rd set of Week Beads: use each bead to consider the discipline(s) you will practice during Lent. Don’t feel pressured to come up with seven different disciplines – one for each bead. Instead, you can use the beads to think about the ways you will practice even one or two disciplines.
4th Cruciform Bead: Lord, grant me the courage and grace to be your disciple and, in doing so, to know you more deeply.
4th set of Week Beads: use each bead to pray for courage and grace throughout this Lenten season.
Invitatory Bead: recite The Lord’s Prayer
Cross: In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen