Lent is often considered a time to give something up - though it can be a time, instead, to take something up, to start or do something.
Last year I was encouraged and inspired to take up praying for my friends more intentionally during Lent. I contacted a group of 40 guys, who had been brought particularly to my mind. I let them know what I'd be doing and simply asked them what I could pray for them. A short explanation or even a single word can help bring focus but, even if there is nothing in particular, I can pray as I feel led by God. I let them know that anything shared would be completely confidential.
During the Lent period I spend time each day remembering one of the group, what they bring, or have brought to my life, being grateful to God for them, but also praying that they will celebrate life as God intended in the days to come.
For some, prayer - let alone Lent - is perceived as foolishness, for others prayer is an integral part of their lives. But we know that most people pray at some point in their lives so I don't limit my list to my Christian friends. This has had the unintended but very welcome consequence of opening up new conversations about faith that could otherwise have been more awkward.
I've felt humbled by the honesty and openness from my first group of ‘40 Friends’ who were willing to share what was happening in their lives; what they wanted prayer for and to trust me with this. In truth, I felt honoured.
I'm looking forward to more the of the same this Lent. It is far more enjoyable that giving up chocolate!
Thanks Andy for a very timely #52WTP right at the start of Lent!
Andy is a regular at Scrum and the whole family enjoy summers at Framlingham 1. He's obviously a popular man with at least '40 friends' and, if you know him, it's easy to see why.