Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord your God, he it is that does go with you; he will not fail you, nor forsake you.
As we enter the door of Lent, we are being reminded that the season is about reflection, repentance, and renewal. These are simple lessons of sometimes challenging truths to bear, but full of deep meaning of love for our Savior. It is a season where we consider again that it is Jesus who is our Friend as well as our Lord. We are not to focus so much on the time spent in Lent, but in what may happen in Lent. Archbishop Michael Ramsey wrote, “There are no distractions, there are no interruptions. Everything that happens is for a reason.” As I write this, the snow is melting at Nashotah House and all my windows in the house are wide open. One can feel the warmth of the sun, finches are stopping by and the deer are just as furry as they were in January, but more playful. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children were told this was a sign that, “Aslan was on the move.” We are in Lent and God is indeed on the move. It is in prayer that we are restored to our relationships with God and with our neighbor. Whether that is found in liturgical prayer, or prayers as we walk from place to place, or prayers as we make lunches for our children, or prayers for the sick whom we may never meet, or prayers concerning the ‘fever of life,’ as John Henry Newman wrote, prayer is a habit in which it is all about honesty. As the Rev. Arden Strasser, missionary to Zambia says, prayer can be hurtful, authentic, with the truth setting us free.
The Very Reverend Dr Eric Milner-White (1884 – 1963) was Dean of York between 1941 until his death in 1963. This prayer is taken from his collection, My God My Glory, SPCK London, 1967 edition. This prayer was prayed by Dcn. Noah Lawson to whom I give hearty thanks –
Lord, let me fast most truly and profitably,
by feeding in prayer on thy Spirit:
reveal me to myself
in the light of thy holiness.
Suffer me never to think
that I have knowledge enough to need no teaching,
wisdom enough to need no correction,
talents enough to need no grace,
goodness enough to need no progress,
humility enough to need no repentance,
devotion enough to need no quickening,
strength sufficient without thy Spirit;
lest, standing still, I fall back for evermore.
Shew me the desires that should be disciplined,
and sloths to be slain.
Shew me the omissions to be made up
and the habits to be mended.
And behind these, weaken, humble, and annihilate in me
self-will, self-righteousness, self-satisfaction,
self-sufficiency, self-assertion, vainglory.
May my whole effort be to return to thee;
O make it serious and sincere
persevering and fruitful in result,
by the help of thy Holy Spirit
and to thy glory,
my Lord and my GOD.