Fr. Chris’s Favorite Spiritual Practices for Lent!

By Chris Harris

Lent is a fallow time where we can reassess our lives and ask what we might need to put down, prune or let go of so that we might make more room for God in our lives.  For more than a thousand years, Christians have done that by taking on a spiritual practice.  Here are some of my favorite spiritual practices if you are looking for one to try on this Lent:

Daily Gratitude –  There is perhaps no more simple, easy and yet profound practice than to begin (or end) your day by writing down what you are feeling grateful for.  Whether you get a fancy journal or just use a legal pad, this practice has the power to reshape your day, and over time, your heart.  Try it and notice how your gratitude grows and how you begin to name people and things you have long since taken for granted, see people that were previously invisible and allow Christ’s light to shine through!  (Hint: Write them down by hand, don’t type them out on a computer.  There is just something about writing manually.  Trust me.)

Daily Blessing – Make it a point to bless someone each day.  It could be someone at the store, the teller at the bank, the stranger on the street, a co-worker or a spouse.  Make it a point to intentionally lift someone up in a way that makes them feel blessed and helps you to see the image of God within them.  It could be a hand up, a handout, a heartfelt appreciation for who they are, a simple gift or other expression of how important they are to you, etc., etc.  Use your imagination.  Pray about the person and the Holy Spirit will tell you what you need to do.  (Hint: Keep a record of who and what each day and see if you can keep the streak going for 40 days!)

Join a Weekly Group for 40 days – It could be our weekly Zoom bible study, our daily office online or morning prayer in-person, or our weekly Lenten Supper series, “Centered”  beginning this Thursday!  Whatever it is, get with other Christians to pray together, share your faith and lift each other up. Not sure you have the time?  According to Chat GPT,  the average American spends 30 hours a week (or more!) on social media or watching TV. Could we not devote 1 or 2 of those hours meeting new friends and growing in our faith?  Try it for 40 days and tell me it wasn’t time well spent.

Walk our Labyrinth – Beginning Feb 27 and continuing each Tuesday night for the rest of Lent, Christ Church Cranbrook will have a labyrinth open for you to walk.  New to Labyrinths?  No problem, we will tell you everything you need to know.  (Or you can read up on them here.)  But it’s an ancient and beautiful way to open yourself to the Spirit and connect more deeply with the path that God is inviting you to walk in.

The Ignatian Examen – the App!  Yup, you read that right, this 600-year old meditative practice — the Ignatian Examen — has come to your mobile phone and it’s wonderful!  The Ignatian Examen is a 15 minute daily exercise that invites us to reflect on our day.  You can do it at night.  You can do it in the morning.  You can do it at the office during lunch.  Whatever, whenever.  It only takes 15 minutes but the impact over time of inviting Jesus into your life; by reflecting on your day, the people you meet (and overlooked), the blessings you experience (and missed), the joys (and the regrets) can be profound.  But don’t take my word for it.  Read this wonderful blog by Barbara Prinzi who has been using the app for years. Get the app for Android here and for iPhone here.

Have questions about any of these? Email me anytime! charris@christchurchcranbrook.org

So, those are some of mine- now it’s your turn!  What’s a favorite spiritual practice of yours?  How does it bless you?  Share them in the comments!

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