by aslightbreeze

my spiritual brother dale hall passed this along to us as a beautiful reminder of what lent is all about.  quite convicting:

We talk about “imitating Christ,” but we only want to imitate whatever He did that fits our tastes.

Some of us are deeply concerned about social issues, so we seek to “imitate Christ” in His concern for the poor and needy. We run homeless shelters and soup kitchens; our churches house AIDS clinics and AA meetings. We rent our building to a start-up congregation, and we have joint services with a different denomination.

Some of us are deeply concerned about moral issues, so we seek to “imitate Christ” in His confrontations with the Pharisees. We picket porno shops and demonstrate about abortion; our churches work with political candidates. We hold youth rallies and family nights to build good values and we hold alternative celebrations for teens where no alcohol is served.

Some of us are deeply concerned with doctrinal orthodoxy, so we seek to “imitate Christ” in His teachings. We give classes in exegetics and Biblical languages; our churches host guest speakers on archaeology and hold public seminars on prophecy. We host trips to the Holy Land and we educate each member on every doctrinal point.

But how many of us retreat to a mountain to pray for a whole night just because we have important decisions to make the next morning?

How many of us fast, as Jesus fasted, as an adjunct to prayer? Jesus never ran a homeless shelter. He never picketed for new legislation. He didn’t start study groups on end-time events. But He prayed all night on the mountain, and once He fasted for forty days. Are we truly imitating Christ, or are we rationalizing our behavior?

When Jesus taught us how to pray, He didn’t say, “If you elect to pray, do it this way…” and when He taught about fasting, He didn’t say, “If you elect to fast, do it this way…”

He said, when you pray, don’t do it for show like the hypocrites do. It’s a conversation between you and God. And He gave us the Lord’s prayer as an example of what we should pray about:

Address God
“Our Father, who art…”
Submit to God’s will
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done…”
Ask for your physical needs
“Give us this day our daily bread…”
Ask for forgiveness
“Forgive us our debts…”
To the degree that you yourself are willing to forgive…
“As we forgive our debtors…”
Ask for help with temptations
“Lead us not into temptation…”
And preservation from evil
“Deliver us from evil…”
A Collect for Lent:
Father in Heaven,
the light of your truth bestows sight
to the darkness of sinful eyes.
May this season of repentance
bring us the blessing of Your forgiveness
and the gift of Your light.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.