Ten tips for Lent 2015
10 tips for hearing God in Lent
People often see Lent as a time for giving up things because Jesus gave up everything as he fasted in the desert for 40 days. But Jesus’ fasting was not for its own sake. Jesus was creating space to be alone with his Father in prayer. So what can we do in these forty days of Lent to connect with our heavenly Father? Here’s a few suggestions.
1) Build more silence in your day
I don’t literally mean silence. Some find silence more helpful than others. What I mean is try to reduce the things that are competing for your attention. Which may mean turning off the TV or radio, but for you it may be something else that needs to give way to God.
2) Reflective Bible reading
Don’t try to read large chunks of the Bible. Just give yourself a couple of paragraphs to read, and then spend more time prayerfully reflecting on those paragraphs.
3) Go to church to meet with God not your friends
It’s so easy to go to church to meet up with friends rather than with God. Try sitting near the front of the church so you can’t see who’s behind you, and you can focus on God. Why not take a one week off from your church and go to a different church where nobody knows you.
4) Ask God to give you someone to pray for each day
These are not the regular people you pray for. They are people God will bring to your attention during the day. You can pray for them silently in your head, or, if you’re brave and the circumstances seem right, you can ask them if you can pray for them there and then!
5) Read a book that will challenge you
Think about the books you read. Are they really challenging what you have learnt so far on your spiritual journey or are they simply reinforcing what you already believe? Find a book that will challenge you…perhaps written by someone from a different church background to yourself.
6) Slow down. Spend more time listening to others
It’s about creating space for others, which in turn creates space for God. Give those who want to talk to you more time to listen. They may be easy to listen to or they may be hard, but give them the gift of your time and attention. By giving them that gift you will be giving it to God as well.
7) Do some good deeds that go entirely unnoticed by anyone (other than God of course).
Our natural inclination is to want the praise of others for the good things that we do. Defy that inclination by deliberately doing good deeds that no one will know about, or know who did them. You will be doing them for God, “Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” Matthew 6 : 4
8) Find someone you can have at least one significant conversation with about your spiritual journey.
Find someone who’s good at listening, slow to advise and happy to pray with you.
9) Do a prayer walk around your neighborhood
Or even better…do one each week for Lent, and let God show you what he wants you to see; the things that are on his heart for those who live near to you.
Click here for more information about prayer walking.
10) Have a conversation with a Christian who has different views to you.
Don’t force your views on them, but allow them to explain why they think the way they do. God is able to speak to you even through those you disagree with!
I wouldn’t recommend that you try to do all of the above, but see which ones particularly resonate with you and give them a go.