Have you chosen to give up something for Lent? Many people do, and for various reasons, but the reasons are not what I want to talk about today. This post is to encourage you to take up something — something you may already do, but which you may understand you need to do even more.
In Luke 21, Jesus told His followers about some pretty scary things having to do with the coming fall of Jerusalem as well as the difficulties of the times before He would return. He ended the discourse saying, “But keep on the alert at all times, praying in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” We know that Jesus also pressed His disciples to pray with Him in the Garden before His arrest, telling them to pray so that they wouldn’t fall into temptation. They slept instead, and the result was that they ran away in fear and Peter even denied Jesus publicly.
It was while in prayer that God called Paul and Barnabas to set out on their missionary journeys. It was during a gathering for prayer during a fearful time that the Holy Spirit filled the believers with courage and power. There are countless stories in the Old and New Testaments where things happened because people prayed. You see, we need to pray because we need God. All too often we worry rather than pray, or we set out to deal with something rather than kneel before the One who has the battle plan in hand. And the days we live in are dark and they are difficult; we must pray so that we remain true to our God. Many things will pull at our time and our hearts to distract us from pursuing God’s Kingdom and lead us, instead, to indulge in worthless things. It is through talking with our Father that we can avoid the trappings, that we can find what we need for each moment, that we can be empowered by His Spirit to live courageously and victoriously in this world.
During this Lent season, pray. And if you give up something, let what you’ve given up remind you to pray. When the stomach rumbles, or the blank screen of the T.V. woos you to turn it on, or that piece of candy keeps calling out to you — whatever it is that you give up, let it lead you to take up prayer.