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Reflections on Lenten Prayers

by Willy John Daniel, Melbourne, Australia

Fasting and meditation are integral parts of the lenten activities. Fasting does have a physical manifestation. Most adults who fast for the whole 50 day period should notice a decrease in their waist lines and a reduction in weight by Easter.

To help in the meditation, special prayers are set during lent. These prayers are in addition to the usual morning and evening prayers already in use on the ordinary days.

When I started to use this Lenten prayer some years ago I was baffled by the often repetitious and somewhat jumbled nature of these lengthy prayers. It took me some time to get to grips with these prayers. I now understand and appreciate the deep meaning I find in these prayers and so am recording my thoughts, in the hope that it may benefit some younger members who may have had similar difficulties.

I shall confine my remarks to the special Lenten Prayers here.

When one unscrambles the text of the prayers as it appear in the Prayer Book, certain profound ideas emerge.

1. Entreaties to God.

The great bulk of the prayer is a string of entreaties to God Almighty.

'Even the thieves and murders and prostitutes, who have gained pardon from Thee; so allow me also to repent my sins and seek Thy pardon. O my God, as there is not a living thing that is blameless, look upon me with mercy and forgive my sins.

It was you who gave me the gift of free will. On the Judgement Day, be kind to me a sinner and look upon me with mercy. In the vast ocean of Your Mercy, my offences would be just a drop of mud.'

2. The benefits of intense fasting and meditation during the Great Lent.

'The great Satan is at work all the time; making quarrels among groups, nations and rulers. Even Yours chosen ones are not out of his sight.'

Examples of the results of Fasting and Prayers:

'Daniel by his fasting and prayers won over the lions and survived unscathed the fiery furnace. Likewise Elijah was taken up to heaven by the chariot. Jesus was instrumental in stopping the sun and the moon, in their track.'

As Prophet Moses and Elijah fasted, Our Lord also fasted. Likewise we also fast and let our prayers come to Thee.

3. The preparation for the prayer and mediation during this very special time.

Let our fasting and prayers are without any evil thoughts. Help us to make strong bonds with others and to receive grace and mercy from you.

It is God's commandment that we love each other.

4. How not to enter into prayer and meditation; why such wrong efforts would only fail.

God is Love. Prayer and fasting is good, but if it is not observed with genuine love to others, it will be futile, its 'wings will be clipped' and it would be devoid of godliness.

There are those who observe Lent and at the same time harbor hatred and spite towards others. There are also some who abstain from intoxicating drinks, while secretly plan to kill their brother. Before we come for ours prayers, we should shed all falsehood and insincerity in our actions.

5. The great reward that await sincere fasting and meditation.

He who seeks God with a contrite heart in prayer and fasting are truly blessed; God abides in him.

Those who observe Our Lord's commandment to feed the hungry, give a drink of water to the thirsty, cloth the naked and visit the prisoners will be the chosen people on the Judgement Day.

Source: ICON Forum

See Also:

More articles and Prayers on Lent

Lenten Prayers - My Experience
When I started living away from my family for my higher studies, daily prayers that was engrained in me as a deep rooted habit by then, remained with me, and provided me with much needed refuge and strength.

The Lenten Prayer of St Ephrem the Syrian
Why does this short and simple prayer occupy such an important position in the entire lenten worship? Because it enumerates all the "negative" and "positive" elements of repentance and constitutes a "check list" for our individual lenten effort. This effort is aimed first at our liberation from some fundamental spiritual diseases which shape our life and make it virtually impossible for us even to start turning ourselves to God.

A Different Approach to Fasting
Lenten fasts have a tendency to be oriented toward things like giving up food or television. But there are many other creative ways we can welcome Jesus' healing touch this Lent.

Why Should We Observe the Lent and Fasting?
We should keenly look forward to the Lent- because the purpose of Prayer & Fasting is to defeat the Satan.

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