SUNDAY, MARCH 13, 2011
LENTEN MEDITATION I
Throughout the Christendom, Ash Wednesday service marks the penitential season. And so last Wednesday March 9, 2011, Ash Wednesday service was held to put Christians in the mood for the Lenten period of this year.
At this time of lent, believers follow in the footsteps of her Master and Saviour Jesus Christ. Jesus has gone in solitude to pray. The scripture noted thus: ‘After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry’!
The God-man had time to pray. He knew that the work of redemption will not be easy. The first Adam failed and so he was not prepared to fail. As a man with the Stamp of Authority from God to undertake the ‘salvivic’ work on the cross of Calvary He needed to spend more time in prayer.
From time to time, the Bible presented Jesus as a great man of prayer. Read Mk. 1v35 ff, Lk. 22v39-42; Lk. 22v17-19. Christ’s prayer life at a time became infectious to his disciples and they had to request from Him to teach them how to pray. Therefore He said, when you want to pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come…’ Lk. 11v2 ff.
Nothing crowded out prayer in the life of Christ. I think the time of lent offers the Christian a great deal of time for prayer and sober reflection. The Christian is to note that prayer is a weapon of warfare. The implication therefore is that the more we pray the more power we have. Which means if we pray less, we make ourselves powerless and vulnerable to the wicked one? Is it not the Bible that says: ‘the devil prowls about like a roaring lion seeking whom to devour’. I Pet. 5:8
But today and this time, people can hardly spare a time in meditation with God. Notwithstanding that prayer is said to be the ‘breath of a Christian’. You begin to wonder why man created in the image of God can hardly make out time and pray, more so this Lenten period. Is man therefore busier than his creator?
In a cartoon conversation, a young boy of six years asked the father I know why you are praying regularly these days. And the father retorted, why? And the young boy said, because your money is finished. Each time your money is finished, you seem to pray more.
Does it mean that people only remember to pray to God when they have recorded failures, disappointments, hardship, when they are broke, etc. But it should not be so. The Bible says: ‘pray without ceasing’. Or another Bible translation will say: ‘pray at all times’ I Thess. 5:17.
Truly, the time of Lent affords believers an opportunity to sincerely seek the face of God in prayer. No one should be confused on what and what to pray for. For we have so much to pray for: your life, your family, your marital relationships, your work place, your children’s education, the upcoming elections of Nigeria, unemployment, kidnappings, bombings, name them.
No matter where you are working and no matter how busy, this time of Lent calls for sober reflection, close work with God and sincere prayers. I know prayer changes things for the good of believers.
Learn how to spend time with God this Lenten season in prayer. Jesus prayed, fasted forty days and forty nights. If you follow in the footsteps of the Master, God must surely speak to you and to your situation. Only pray.
Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre,