Praying For A Fruitful Lent
The Lord, your God, will bless you in the land you are entering to occupy. (Deuteronomy 30:16)
What is it to be alive? Here’s how Welsh poet Waldo Williams answered this age-old question: to truly live is to find ourselves dwelling in “a spacious hall between narrow walls.” Sometimes the walls of life are narrower than we might like. Perhaps we haven’t had all the opportunities we wanted—to travel, to try something new, or to follow a certain career path. Maybe we are constrained by a lack of resources or time, or circumstances have gotten in the way.
So within the limits of these “narrow walls” each of us has been given, how can we still live in a “spacious hall”? Williams the poet and Moses the prophet agree: it’s not about overcoming restrictions to find material prosperity or success or even fulfillment. It’s about being grateful, humble, and faithful. It’s about finding contentment in small blessings.
Think of the choice Moses places before the Israelites. The Promised Land, which they are about to enter, is clearly defined; they cannot extend its borders to make it a richer, more powerful country. But if they choose to love God and follow his commands, they will experience their new land as a blessed place. On the other hand, should they cross the Jordan dreaming of what other gods could offer them, ingratitude will gnaw away at their satisfaction with what God has given them.
For the next six weeks, you will “inhabit” the land of Lent. You may find the walls narrow as you give up some of your time and preferences. So reflect on your expectations. How confident are you that you will be blessed here? In the weeks to come, when your initial enthusiasm turns to weariness or hunger, how will you ensure that you recognize God’s gentle hand protecting you, guiding you, and cultivating your growth?
You might consider keeping a written list each day of reasons to be thankful. Or agree to meet a friend regularly to share your gratitude. Paying attention to God’s goodness will ignite your appreciation and love for him.
“Lord, help me pay less attention to the narrow walls around me, and more attention to how you will enlarge the hall of my life and fill it with blessing!”
Daily Reflection from The Word Among Us (www.wau.org)