Lent and Attitude
Here we are in the midst of Lent and I feel it’s the idea time to examine our attitude. We often make claims as to what we will cut from our diet or a change in a habit, but changing the way one thinks is also an important part of Lent. It’s the ideal season to remove the negative thinking, attitude or mindset that has captivated us and kept us from doing bigger and greater things.
“Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.” (Mark 11:24)
Prayer is the great adjuster of one’s attitude. So my question is: when was the last time you spent any time praying? Was it saying grace over a meal, or was it the last time there was a crisis in your life? Maybe something tragic happened and you found yourself spending a lot of time praying and asking the Lord to intervene.
What about that period of time in-between life’s dramas? Did you spend time in prayer every day? Often we find ourselves in the midst of a drama that is either brought on by our own doing, or we get caught up in someone else’s drama.
I was in a convenience store recently picking up a copy of the Daily News when this young woman walked into the store and asked for a pack of cigarettes. The clerk advised the young woman that she needed to see her ID. The young lady responded by explaining how she had been in before and bought the cigarettes, but the clerk was adamant about the ID — and rightly so. The young lady indicated that she was barefoot and would need to go out to get her ID.
Well, the clerk held her ground and sure enough, the young woman was barefoot. I was good and didn’t say a word. I was tempted to say something like, “Has anyone shared with you that this is the middle of winter and it’s 20 degrees out there?”
But I was good and was struck with the thought that this young woman probably has more drama going on in her life than I care to think about.
Now, what does that have to do with prayer? People will often spend energy on their habits instead of developing a prayer life that will give satisfaction. It is unfortunate that many people will not spend time during their best years to spend time with the Lord, but when their life has become mangled with life’s drama and their health has declined due to addictions and bad habits, they may well spend time crying out to God to help them.
For those who don’t believe it’s important to pray, please consider this: do you communicate with family members? With friends? What about those you work with? If the answer is yes, then why not spend some time with God because prayer is actually communication. For the Christian. We believe in communicating with God because we also see results from our communication with Him.
I know, someone is saying, “Well, we can see the family member, friend or co-worker but, we can’t see God.” While that is true the Christian believes in a process called faith. We have faith that God exists and God does hear and answer our prayers. Not always do we receive the answer we really want, but the answer is always, “yes,” “no,” or “wait.”
If we get that wait message, we as humans, get antsy and often will act upon our own desires or whims and go ahead and do whatever it is, and more often than not will end up in failure. We blame God for not answering or controlling the situation when we have acted in disobedience.
What is your choice today? Will you take time and be patient as you wait for the answer from God, or will you go headlong into a situation that may well cause you a lot of grief? The choice is ours to make and the blessing of patience in prayer is ours to have.
Changing our thinking process will often help us cut back on the amount of drama in our lives. So, go ahead; it’s not too late to change. Challenge yourself to do it now. Clean up your thinking and put on the “mind of Christ.” You’ll really enjoy life much more and changing your thinking will position you to do greater things for God.
This article was written by Dr Michael Layne who serves as an Archbishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and is pastor of FaithPoints Lutheran Church in Greensburg, IN.