LOUDER: OUR 2021 WEEKLY LENTEN DEVOTIONAL

This Lent work to hear God’s voice through life’s noise. Each week during Lent, we will dive deeper into the Sunday Sermon with a video and devotional guide.

Miss a sermon? Miss a week of diving deeper? We’ll always provide links for you below.

Week 1  |  Week 2  |  Week 3  | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7

WEEK 7 – March 28

STEPS INTO WORSHIP

“If worship does not propel us into greater obedience, it has not been worship.  To stand before the Holy One of eternity is to change.  Resentments cannot be held with the same tenacity when we enter his gracious light.  As Jesus says, we need to leave our gift at the altar and go set the matter straight (Matt. 5:23, 24).  In worship an increased power steals its way into the heart sanctuary, an increased compassion grows in the soul.  To worship is to change.” (p. 173).

“You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (Matt. 4:10)

“The true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him” (John 4:23)

Richard Foster’s STEPS into worship, from Celebration of Discipline:

  1. Learn to practice the presence of God daily (e.g. prayer, bible study, silence) pray-as-you-go.org
  2. Seek out different experiences of worship (e.g. small groups of people, different styles than you’re used to)
  3. Find ways to really prepare for the gathered experience of worship (e.g. go to bed early on Saturday night, spend time in confession and examination) examen.me/
  4. Let go of “I” and embrace “we” in worship
  5. Cultivate holy dependency
  6. Absorb distractions with gratitude and focus
  7. Learn to offer a sacrifice of worship

WEEK 6 – March 21

HUMILITY PRAYER

Adapted from the work of Neil Babcox. Pray the prayer once a day (whenever it is most convenient for you).  Pray it slowly, pausing after each phrase to let it sink in.  Listen for and focus on the phrase that most connects to something going on in your life right now.  Spend time lifting that situation up to God. 

 From the desire of being praised, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred, deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the desire of being consulted, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire for comfort and ease, deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being criticized, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being passed over, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, deliver me, Jesus.

 

From the fear of being lonely, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being hurt, deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering, deliver me, Jesus.

 

O God, grant me the grace to humble myself

under your mighty hand today,

and to clothe myself with humility toward all I meet.

Amen.”

WEEK 5 – March 14

IDEAS FOR PRACTICING SIMPLICITY

The spiritual practice of simplicity is the first of the outward disciplines—disciplines that require outward expression in order to be fulfilled.  According to Richard Foster, in his book “Celebration of Discipline,” the goal of simplicity is “to seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness of His kingdom first and then everything necessary will come in its proper order” (p. 86).  

Simplicity is an exercise of becoming conscious of our material addictions, reigning in our consumption, and struggling through it as a community.

Richard Foster’s 10-steps toward simplicity, from Celebration of Discipline:

  1. Buy things for their usefulness rather than their status.
  2. Reject anything that is producing an addiction in you.
  3. Develop a habit of giving things away.
  4. Refuse to be propagandized by the custodians of modern gadgetry.
  5. Learn to enjoy things without owning them.
  6. Develop a deeper appreciation for creation.
  7. Look with a healthy skepticism at all “buy now, pay later” schemes.
  8. Obey Jesus’ instructions about plain, honest speech.
  9. Reject anything that breeds the oppression of others.
  10. Shun anything that distracts you from seeking first the kingdom of God.

Scripture Matthew 6:19-24

WEEK 4 – March 7

IDEAS FOR EXPERIENCING THE “WHISPER” OF GOD

Centering Prayer

1) Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to enter into God’s presence.

  • One or two syllables
  • Ex: amen; Jesus; trust; silence; Father
  • A soft word
2) Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce that sacred word.
3) When you become conscious of your thoughts, return ever-so-gently to the sacred word.
  • “Thoughts” = sensations, ideas, feelings, images, plans, memories, etc.
4) At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.
Breathing Prayer
As you breath in slowly pray:

“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…”

As you breath out slowly pray:

“… have mercy on me, a sinner” 

Repeat this prayer a number of times as you feel led, focusing not so much on the words as on the One you are praying to – who is present with you, even now.

WEEK 3 – February 28

Simple Guide to Fasting:

1) What are the guidelines set forth in the Bible concerning fasting?

It is to be done in a manner of humility with a right heart unto Father God, not for public display or seeking the approval of man. Matt 6:16-18

2) How to fast safely:

Start slowly. Fast for one meal a day, or one day a week, or one week a month. Build up your spiritual muscles so that you able to extend your fasting as the Lord leads you.
In spite of the absolute safety and benefits of fasting, there are people who should NEVER fast without professional supervision. For example:
People who are physically too thin or emaciated.
People who are prone to anorexia, bulimia, or other behavioral disorders.
Those who suffer weakness or anemia.
People with medical issues—tumors, blood diseases, cancer, chronic problems with vital organs.
Individuals who take insulin for diabetes.
Women who are pregnant or nursing.

3) How should you fast?

There are different types of fasting:
Absolute Fast – No water, liquids, or food. Ex: Acts 9 The Apostle Paul went on an absolute fast for three days after his encounter with Jesus.
Water Only Fast – The max duration seen in the Bible is 40 days. Water-only fasts that last more than several days should be undertaken with plenty of rest and under medical supervision.
Water & Juice Fasting – This type of fasting will provide you with more energy, especially if you are going to fast for an extended period of time.
Partial Fast – Denying yourself certain foods. An example we see in the Bible is Daniel who did not eat bread, meat, or drink any wine for three weeks eating only vegetables, fruit, and drinking water.
Media/Activity Fast – If you cannot fast food safely, instead remove media and outside activity from your life for the week. Take that time to focus on God during the silence that will replace our usual busy loud lives.

4) Spiritual activities you can add:

  • Read Your Bible.
  • Memorize Scripture.
  • Pray.
There is no formula to fasting. Fasting is about the condition of the heart and being obedient to God’s leading. Devote yourself to seeking God, meditating on Him and worshipping and praising Him for who He is and what He has done.

Adapted from: Simple Guide to Fasting by James Rene

WEEK 2 – February 21

This week’s exercise is called Inductive Bible Study.

Step 1: Get a good study bible

Step 2: Choose a passage (5-7 verses)

Step 3: Ask 3 Questions:

What does it say?
What does it mean?
What does it mean to me?

Good luck! And don’t forget – spiritual practices take practice!

It takes time to develop new habits, but I promise God’s Voice will start to get LOUDER.

WEEK 1 – February 17

We all need some help to get started. The key is to naturally incorporate prayer into your daily routine.

      1. There is an ancient practice called the Prayer of Examen.

The Examen is a way to reflect on God’s presence throughout the day. I mostly use it at the end of the day to see where God showed up. There is a Jesuit website that has a great explanation of the prayer and resources on how to use it: www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen
      

      2. The not-so-ancient-practice called the Morning Joe.

I use this every morning – and I’m telling you, it works. It’s very simple, and gets my spirit flowing in the right direction every time. Here’s how it works: with your morning cup of coffee (or tea if you’re British or just very healthy) pray: “Jesus, help me be awake to you today.” If you’re like me, you’ll probably need to drink the coffee first.

      3. Praying the Lord’s Prayer Personally.

Using the structure of the Lord’s Prayer, pray each line as a template for your needs today. (For example: What daily bread do you need? In what ways does The Father’s Kingdom need to come in your life?)

Good luck! And don’t forget – spiritual practices take practice! It takes time to develop new habits, but we promise God’s Voice will start to get LOUDER.