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  • Len Rempel

A Path of Prayer

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Lent begins on February 22 this year with Ash Wednesday. It has often been seen as a time of giving something up, sacrificing or offering to God something that is important to us — like chocolate or TV. The day before Lent begins is Shrove Tuesday or, as it was in my childhood home, Pancake Tuesday.

We never really observed Lent or talked about “giving up for Lent” in our Mennonite home but Pancake Tuesday was a regular celebration, even though it didn’t seem to hold any religious significance. My mother made the “Mennonite pancakes” (thin and crepe-like) and we eagerly filled them with syrup, chocolate, or fruit (sometimes all of the above). It is a nice memory and it especially reminds me of my mother’s cooking and her love for us as she prepared the meals (and especially the sweets).

However, Pancake Tuesday didn’t have any connection to church or the observance of Lent. It has only been later in life that I have come to appreciate the time of Lent. It is a time to slow down, step back from the pulls of our consumer society, and reflect. It is a time for prayer and contemplation.

I am reminded of the many times in the gospels that we read about Jesus finding a quiet place to pray. Jesus, in his humanity, needed these times to stay connected with God and to equip him for his work. We also need these times of prayer. Prayer is not an escape from the world but rather a way to stay connected to God, which in turn helps us live in the world.

Instead of seeing Lent as a time to give up something, maybe we can look at it as a time to gain something. Over the next 40 days, can we leave our busy-ness behind and gain time with God? Can we gain those quiet times to listen for the voice of God? Can we be refreshed by God’s presence? Can we find a path in prayer to be transformed by God’s power? Can we gain a new or re-newed direction?

May we allow this time of Lent to lead us along a path of prayer, that we may hear the voice of God guiding us and transforming us. May we move from Lent, having gained a revived and energized spirit.

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