Lenten Toolbox

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Each week during the season of Lent, I will invite us into a new spiritual practice- creating for us a Lenten Toolbox.

Prayer has fallen on hard times. 

For many of us, prayer can feel outdated- even childish. The notion that we are speaking to an unseen deity seems downright embarrassing. (“No, I wasn’t talking to myself!”) 

As modern, enlightened people we tend to prefer more sophisticated forms of faith.

But troubling times call for extreme measures. Sometimes ‘sophisticated’ just doesn’t cut it. 

Prayer begins with a very profound notion: that there is something out there. Prayer, like all communication, presupposes a mouth and an ear. Prayer presupposes one who cries out and one who listens.

To pray takes faith. To believe that God is ‘out there’ and longing to hear from us is either crazy talk or the most important fact in the universe. Either we are talking to the walls, or we are connecting with the creator of the cosmos. By faith, we believe the latter. 

When we pray, we claim that we are not alone, that there is more to this world than what we can see with our eyes. When we pray, we open our minds, our very world, to God.

On this Lenten journey, will you join me in incorporating prayer into our lives?

If praying is intimidating, then perhaps begin by reading a Psalm.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor and theologian, called the Psalms the prayerbook of the Bible. The Psalms are not theology; they are emotional cries to God. In the book of Psalms, we find a wide variety of experiences and emotions. If you read one that doesn’t speak to you in the moment, consider that it may reflect the experience of someone else- pray it on their behalf. 

Some days are, “O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God.” kind of days (Psalm 83). While others are, “Incline your ear, O Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy” kind of days (Psalm 86). Others are, “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts!” (Psalm 84). May the Psalms lead us into prayer.

Perhaps the most radical thing we can do is speak the name ‘God.’

As we continue our journey through the season of Lent, how can we engage (or reengage) the practice of prayer? How can we make the Psalms our prayers?

Next week: Fasting.


Posted by Scott Hovey with


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