When it came time to pick a practice for this Lent, I chose writing.
It came quite easily as my parents had kindly celebrated my birthday by giving me every book off of my Amazon.com Wishlist including Rachel Hackenberg’s Writing to God. So I’ll admit that this seemed like an easy thing to add into my spiritual practice. I also already had the book. This didn’t include a lot of preparation and (if I’m really honest) not much thought.
On Shrove Tuesday, I had to convince myself that this was OK. I had to talk myself into the fact that it was really OK to not contort myself into some fantastically spiritual experience. (Something I do crave.) It was just fine to practice writing again. I mean, I like to write. It pushes me. It challenges me. It gives me pause to see the words that actually come out of me. I like this about preaching. I like this about praying. I like this about words. This Shrove Tuesday pep-talk continued with some reflection. I reasoned that I had stopped writing pastoral prayers for worship. I had leaned on praying from my heart — and maybe it would be powerful to return to that practice of recording my prayers.
I gotta say. It’s been pretty amazing. I like the prompts in this book. I like that it forces me to read small chunks of scripture but won’t let me meditate too long in lectio divina. Hackenberg is quick to assert in her introduction that this practice is about letting your pen lose on the page. She cautions against using a pencil. I am still having a hard time with that. I crossed something out in the prayer that I just wrote — not because I didn’t like it. (OK, a little bit because I didn’t like it.) But it really didn’t say what I wanted to say. It was the first thing that came out and so I wrote it down but it’s not really what I meant. And that alone is powerful. It’s powerful to hear my voice and see the words in prayers that are not intended for anyone but me. It’s what I love about writing — and I suspect that it’s just what I needed this Lent.