Today is Ash Wednesday, the inaugural day for the Christian season of Lent. In many ways, Lent is not much of a thought for most people, and in many churches, its significance is not discussed too much. Some people may go to church and have ashes put on their foreheads, others will not give it a second thought.
Lent is supposed to be a time of repentance, prayer, and self-denial, and the ashes signify mortality and repentance.
I've never really felt a connection to this season. I have some memories of not being able to eat meat on Fridays when I was a kid, and I probably gave something up, but nothing really sticks out to me. In the last few years, I did give up a couple of things for Lent. One year, it was chocolate. Another year, it was Starbucks. It definitely was not easy, and I guess that is the point of Lent--to understand that the things we give up, no matter how difficult, is really nothing compared to Jesus giving up his life. But I have a difficult time connecting a minor sacrifice like giving up chocolate with that.
So perhaps this year I will try to focus on prayer. I often fluctuate between spending a decent amount of time in prayer and forgetting all about it. I did try it once--I thought I'd get up and pray for the first fifteen minutes each morning. Not being a morning person, this did not work out very well at all. I'll have to do something different this time, but the details may have to be worked out as I go. It sounds like a good idea though--there can't be anything wrong with prayer, and who wouldn't want to benefit from spending more time with God?
"Regard your servant's prayer and his plea, O LORD my God, heeding the cry and the prayer that your servant prays to you today"--1 Kings 8:28