Matthew Frizzell, Lamoni, IA, USA
When your willingness to live in sacred community as Christ’s new creation exceeds your natural fear of spiritual and relational transformation, you will become who you are called to be. The rise of Zion the beautiful, the peaceful reign of Christ, awaits your whole-hearted response to the call to make and steadfastly hold to God’s covenant of peace in Jesus Christ. -Doctrine and Covenants 164:9b
Lent has its own sense.
Many just assume that it’s common sense: If we ever found ourselves in God’s immediate presence, we would automatically open our mouths and fill the air with praise. We couldn’t help it. The psalms are filled with words of praise, adoration, and thanksgiving for God. Other Old Testament voices also say creation and angels fill the heavens with praise. Isaiah’s vision of God in the Temple has seraphs calling out to each other, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:2-3).
In the New Testament, Luke’s Gospel describes angels in multitudes praising, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward all!” Jesus says even the rocks would cry out, “Peace in Heaven, and glory in the highest heaven!” (Luke 19:39-40). Perhaps, we could not help ourselves. In God’s presence, we’d automatically open our mouths and fall to our knees praising. We’d join the angels and six-winged seraphs filling the heavens.
Praise and God’s presence go together. It seems like common sense. But, not during Lent.
In her book, In the Heart of the World, Mother Teresa points in another direction: still silence. She writes, “We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence” (p. 9). Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who resisted Hitler and died in a Nazi concentration camp, believed silence was essential to hearing God. At the center of God’s presence lies necessary silence, an absence that can only be filled by the mystery of God’s self-communication to us. Silence is how we find ourselves in God’s presence with us.
That’s just common sense…during Lent.
I surrender into your love.
Set a timer for 20 minutes. (If that feels like too much at first, choose a time that will be comfortable for you as a starting place, committing to expand that time in future prayer.) Allow the rhythm of your breath to draw you deeper and deeper into silence. As you breathe, claim one sacred word (Christ, peace, grace, trust, etc.) emerging in you as an anchor to return you to the intention of your prayer when your thoughts begin to wander. Gently release the thoughts and images that come, making space for presence to the One who is with you here and now. Release, return, “be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants 163:10b).
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.