Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Chapel A Day--My 40 Day Journey Into Lent

  At midnight, one of the most important seasons of the year for me will begin. It is the season of Lent. Interestingly enough, I did not grow up in a denomination that observes the tradition of Lent. But, when I was in my forties I became curious about why certain faiths practice this time of sacrifice, fasting and penitence. My research led me to the clear conclusion that these few weeks may potentially lead a person into a deeper walk of faith, a healthier lifestyle (physically and spiritually) and stronger relationships with both God and man. I wanted all of those, and so I began searching for a meaningful way to experience the Lenten season.

 up" sweets, caffeine and fast food for the sake of giving something up rang hollow. I studied, thought and prayed and decided that for me, Lent is less about giving UP, than it is about giving TO... by doing something positive to move closer to God and to a more faithful way of living out each day. While I may indeed decide to give up something for Lent, the space that is left by sacrificing something material is then filled with something spiritual. One year, I fasted an hour of sleep each day, and got up early for a time of spiritual quiet time. That 40 day 'fast' led to an early morning habit that continues to this day.

     This year, I have decided to spend one hour of every weekday during Lent sitting quietly in a chapel. I may read, I may pray, I may study, I may listen. But, I am going to seek out a Chapel-A-Day and "be still and know."

     My goal is to visit a different chapel each day. It may be the chapel of a local church... or hospital. It may be the small sanctuary of a country church, or the chancel of a grand cathedral. I hope to share with you what I learn about these houses of worship. I hope I learn something about myself, my God and my faith that is worth passing along, as well. I hope you will read the Chapel-A-Day blog entries, and share them with your friends. 

    If you are looking for a way to make the Lenten season a meaningful time in your life,  here are a few suggestions, based on an entry from a few years back in the devotional Upper Room.  I regret that I can't find the author's name. 

·         Electronic Fast. Replace TV shows, Facebook, Twitter, etc. with prayer and/or devotional study.

·         Start a prayer rhythm. Say a prayer every time you brush your teeth, hear an ambulance, or check your e-mail. Before you text someone, pray for them.

·         Pray for others you see as you walk to and from classes, or drive to and from work. (You don't have to know them. You just have to see them and pray for them.
·         Forgive someone who doesn't deserve it

·         Read one chapter in the Bible each day.

·         Give up soft drinks or fast food and give the money you save to someone in crisis.

·         Create a daily quiet time. Spend thirty minutes a day in prayer.

·         Cultivate a life of gratitude. Start by writing at least one person a thank you note  each week.

·         Be kind to someone each day.

·         Volunteer 1 hour, or more, a week.

I'm turning in early. I have an appointment with a chapel tomorrow... and I am going to need an early start.


  1. Excellent !!!! I will read your blog every day !!!!

  2. Inspired. Thanks for posting. A friend of my mother's, River Jordan, recently published "Praying for Strangers." I like the praying for someone before you text them idea. Thank you for being a contributor to my daily walk in my faith. Love you, Aunt D.

  3. Alice, I am honored that you read this blog! Love to you and Ken!

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  5. Iris, I thought the idea of praying for a person before texting them was also inspired! I wish I could find the name of the author who compiled that list so I could give her/him credit! Love to you and the kids.