Thoughts Along the Way: February 2013
Our New Year’s celebrations are behind us and it is probably starting to feel natural to write 2013 instead of 2012 for most of us. February is here and the Lenten season starts in a matter of days to usher in Easter, and eventually Springtime then Summer and so on. Just a few weeks ago many of us committed ourselves to a another round of New Year’s resolutions and for far too many of us we have probably already given up on them.
Fortunately, we have the Lenten season to try it again. For many of us, Lent is sort of a “New Year’s resolutions 2.0” as we pick something to give up for a 40 days. Maybe it is caffeine, soda pop, certain television shows or unhealthy foods. Yes, Lent can look a lot like New Year’s.
This year, I would like to challenge you to approach the Lenten season differently. Instead of giving up something you like, I would like you to consider giving up something to God. I would like to challenge you to give twenty to thirty minutes a day during Lent to deepening your relationship with God. If you would like to commit yourself to making this Lenten season different, then I would also like to invite you to participate in the six-week study entitled “Prayer Begins with Relationship” on February 10th from 3 to 5 p.m. We will be starting a week early to allow for people to attend the leadership training in Chanute, Kansas on the 17th.
This study will provide practical, hands-on opportunities for you to grow deeper in your relationship with God through prayer. With that in mind, please realize that you will get the most out of the study if you take the time do each lesson on your own. Then come to our group time prepared to share what you have experienced and where you may be struggling.
As a guideline, you should plan to spend twenty to thirty minutes a day in the lesson. You will be asked to read Scripture, reflect, respond, and try out what you learn in prayer practice.
Because the object of this study is not to learn about prayer but actually to pray — and through prayer to deepen your relationship with God — the prayer part is essential. If you work through the interactive questions and participate in group discussion but do not practice praying, you will miss the whole point of this study. So when a portion of the lesson says to talk with God about something, you will need to talk with God about it. You will learn to pray by praying and together we will learn how to deepen our relationships with God and each other.
Each lesson has the same three elements: (1) “Consider This,” which includes interactive questions to introduce the lesson’s key idea; (2) a section called “Talk It Over,” where you’ll find prayer exercises that will help you talk with God; and (3) “Continue to Practice,” where you will be given one or more ideas for how to build the key idea into your daily life with God.
It is my hope that we may come together as a church family and approach this study and ultimately approach God through prayer and fellowship during this Lenten season. I have moved the starting time to 3 p.m. to allow the class to finish before dark for those who do not like being out after sunset. Books will be available for $6.00 each here at the church and they are also available online for your Kindle as well. It is my hope that we can make this Lenten season one to remember as we give up something to God and deepen our relationship with Him and each other.