I started Lent saying I would write a prayer for every day of Lent. Well, I missed a day. There was no prayer yesterday for those of you keeping score. Technically, Sundays are feast days and not included in the 40 days of Lent, but in my mind I was always going to write a prayer for every day beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending on Easter Sunday. The best laid plans, yada, yada, yada.
I'll be honest, I knew trying to write something every day was going to be difficult, but I underestimated how difficult it would actually be. You can probably tell which days involved me throwing random Christian words together minutes before bedtime. Too often I convinced myself that I needed to say something deep and meaningful, which is pretty much garbage. I only need to be honest, and the honest answer is that I often don't have the words to pray.
I still try to pray though, because there is beauty in having the discipline to do something over and over because you know it's right even if it isn't fun. There is also beauty in knowing that my discipline will earn me nothing. Writing the prayers was never about me; it was always about reminding myself to pray for those in my life. If someone happens to be inspired by one of the prayers, then it's an added bonus. The exercise fell apart on the days that I forgot that and tried to create something profound.
I'll have more thoughts after Easter, but I do think this little exercise has made me more mindful of prayer and praying for the needs of others. I often don't have the words to pray, but there is something important about trying anyway.
So, Lenten daily prayers take two...
A Prayer For The Twenty-Ninth Day Of Lent
Lord, we never seem to have the words to express the thoughts of our hearts. If we are honest, we too often have trouble making sense of those same thoughts. Help us make sense of the tangle of emotions and ideas racing through our heads, and give us the words to express those to you. Even though you know our hearts, help us to pray so that we might grow closer to you. Transform the desires of our hearts into the desires of your heart.
Lord, in your mercy
Hear our prayer
-Ben Reed, March 22, 2010