Ask God for Passion: Six Weeks of Renewing Our Faith
Tommorrow is the first Sunday of Lent and many of us will be thinking of what we will be “giving up” for the next six weeks.
Lent isn’t just about giving something up for a time. It’s about giving more of ourselves in order to get closer to God. We can give up something that we like to do, in order to make extra time to communicate with God — extra prayer time.
Extra Prayer Time
By having additional time to pray, we have an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God, trusting in him more, and having the confidence that he will listen to us and hear our prayers.
We can ask God for specific things during Lent. Each week we can focus on one thing and ask God to strengthen us in that area. We can gain our extra time for prayer during Lent by giving up, for example Internet and social media (except work-related purposes or research), playing computer games or watching 7de Laan.
Here are some things that we can ask God for during the six weeks of Lent that will help us and the people around us:
We can ask God to help us to be attentive to what truly matters and not to be distracted by trivial things. There are so many things that distract us during the day that we find it difficult to focus our attention on what is important.
For instance, we can start watching a video clip on YouTube, and before we know it, we are watching one clip after the other. When the day is over we realise that we have wasted a lot of time and we have missed out on opportunities to show care and support to the people living and working with us.
We can ask for strong relationships with family and friends in a bond of loving community. Relationships are not always easy. But they are important. It is from our relationships that we draw strength and energy.
All of us need people who love us, who have our backs, who are there for us when it really matters.
Nurturing Our Relationships
So we can ask God at this time to help us nurture loving relationships among our family, friends, colleagues, community members — relationships that are life-giving, appropriate and beneficial for the entire community.
We can ask God to help us to be free from all that burdens us. Past mistakes, fears, destructive habits or hurts that other people have inflicted on us — none of us wants to live in the past, but we do take our past with us wherever we go.
Sometimes something bad that happened to us tends to rear its ugly head, and then weighs on us and affects us negatively.
We cannot ask God to take our painful experiences away from us, but we can ask him for the ability to deal with them in order not to be negatively affected whenever these experiences come to mind.
We can ask God for joy and a sense of humour. God gives the gift of joy to share, and Lent is the time of all times to share, to give, and to make other people happy.
The Lenten journey should be kept between the penitent and God, but the joy and gladness which flows from reconciliation can touch and inspire others.
This is the essence of Lent: to happily renew faith and recover newness of life, to rejoice in this new life, and to be glad with our brothers and sisters.
We can ask God for the grace to be able to rest, become aware of God’s presence and enjoy it. Many people, especially moms and dads, are guilty of not being able to rest — there is always something to do. Even if there is nothing to do, they will look for something to do.
Resting in the Lord
Every day, each one of us needs our dose of nothingness — to rest, be quiet and be alone. It is in this aloneness that we are more able to hear God when he speaks to us.
We need to sacrifice our desire to want to complete tasks, and replace it with the humble ability to do nothing and wait for God’s voice, and to delight in hearing it.
We can ask God for a passion to pursue justice. We live in a very unjust world and many of us are lukewarm about the issues of injustice.
There are many reasons for such tepid attitudes, the biggest of which is the fact that we ourselves are many times not affected by the injustice.
Often the only hope that the victims of injustice have is that others may have passion for their plight, and lobby and fight on their behalf. Ask God for this passion.
I wish you a holy, happy and transformative six weeks of Lent.