During Lenten season, remember to add prayer to your diet

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Kennedy, 31st SRG

Lt. Cmdr. Ron Kennedy, 31st SRG

Did you read Chaplain Baron Miller’s article on Lent in the Feb. 7 edition of The Lighthouse? What did you give up for Lent?

I grew up in a non-denominational church. Thus, I had no idea what the real meaning of Lent was. However, I now see the wisdom and significance of Lent. It is a time for preparation.

The etymology of the word “Lent” is derived from the Old English “Lenten” meaning “springtime” or “spring.” Today, Lent represents the 40 days before Easter, not including Sundays. The number 40 is a significant number in the Bible. Most notably, Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert before he started his earthly ministry.

Interestingly, Lent is one of the oldest observances in the Christian calendar. An early church father, Irenaus of Lyons (circa 130-200 AD) wrote of the Lenten season. The Council of Nicea (325 AD) discussed a 40-day Lenten of fasting. Gregory the Great (circa 540-605) moved the beginning of this season to Wednesday, Ash Wednesday. Gregory marked Christians’ foreheads with ashes, reminding them of the biblical symbol of repentance and mortality.

Like all special days, or holidays (holy days), Lent has changed over the years, but the overarching purpose remains unchanged by time. What is the purpose of Lent? To slow down and refocus on what is really important.

Lent is inextricably connected to time. It is a time to reflect on repentance, mortality, resurrection and everlasting life with God.

Don’t just give something up this Lenten season. Carve out some quality time for prayer. Someone once said, “Prayer is not a substitute for action, rather it is the only action for which there is no substitute.”

Several years ago, I read an interesting story about prayer. In one region of Africa, some of the first converts to Christianity were diligent about praying. The new believers each had their own special place outside the village where they went to pray in solitude. The villagers reached these “prayer places” by using their own private footpaths through the brush. The author recalled, “When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much. Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. Whenever anyone noticed an overgrown ‘prayer path,’ he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, ‘Friend, there’s grass on your path!’”

So take some time and focus on what’s really important in this life. Add some prayer to your Lenten diet this year.

“Friend, is there grass on your path?”

Consider these salient words: “Discover to me, O my God, the nothingness of this world, the glory of heaven, the brevity of this earthly existence, and everlasting life with you.”

During this Lenten season, remember to add prayer to your diet.

May God continue to bless you all as we prepare for Easter.

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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NSWC Port Hueneme and representatives from eight allied, international navies joined forces on April 7 to establish a unified strategic plan for modernizing and sustaining the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) on a global scale, yielding enhanced worldwide fleet readiness and collective maritime strength against ever-evolving threats.
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