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Lent Day 4: Getting Started with Practices

February 29, 2020 Dave Roberts Lent

Thank you for engaging in the Lent practices together with the Montrose Church family during this season. There are no rules - use these practices as a guide to help you draw closer to God, experience His presence more and more, develop new habits, and even break patterns in your life. All of this helps us learn to love (with the Spirit’s help) like Christ loved.

We are especially grateful to John and Sungshim Loppnow, Contemplative Marriage and Family Therapists and members of Montrose Church, who have so graciously partnered with us to develop these practices for you. To understand more about Lent and  why we practice, be sure to read our previous posts:

What to Expect

If you opted in to our text reminders, each Monday through Saturday during Lent, you will receive a text reminder with a link to the practice for that day. On Sunday, we will not post a practice, rather, we encourage you to participate in worship with your church community. If you prefer not to opt in to the text reminders, you can simply visit the blog each day to view the latest practice(s).

The daily practices will be consistent each week, however the content and scriptures will vary slightly according to the week’s sermon material, based on the previous Sunday’s sermon from the “Tune In” series.

  • Monday: Prayer
  • Tuesday: Gratitude
  • Wednesday: The Word
  • Thursday: Compassionate Service
  • Friday: Fast and Feast
  • Saturday: Rest
  • Sunday: Worship

Breath Prayer: Our Foundation

Note: If you're new to breath prayer, listen to "God's Big YES! - Short History of Breath Prayer" by John and Sungshim Loppnow, Presence and Practice podcast [ Apple | Spotify | Google ].

Breath prayer is an ancient form of prayer, and will serve as the foundation of our daily Lent practice “menu”. Breath prayer brings prayer together with the body, the spiritual with the science, and is a beautiful way to engage with God’s presence anytime, anywhere. When practiced with intention over time, we can truly begin to renew both our mind (physical) and spirit (spiritual).

Example of a breath prayer:

  • Pause and become fully present to God, who is with us right now.
  • Slowly and deeply breathe in, speaking a word/phrase from the scripture.
  • Slowly and deeply breathe out, speaking another word/phrase from the scripture.
  • Repeat with slow deep breaths as you engage and listen to God.
  • Notice how the breath prayer affects you.

Example:

  • Breathe IN: The Lord is my shepherd -or- just ‘shepherd’
  • Breathe OUT: I have everything I need -or just ‘everything

Each week on Monday, we will post a new breath prayer along with a scripture that complements that week’s theme from the “Tune In” series. Use this prayer each day, along with the new practice provided for that day. For many of us, breath prayer will become the primary practice that we engage in throughout the week. We trust that you will grow to love your moments spent in this practice.

Going Deeper

For those who would like to go deeper with more practices, we will provide some additional exercises. Remember that this is all offered in a loving way - there is no need to ever feel guilt over doing or not doing a practice. They are here for your benefit, for your experimentation, and to be used in a way that works for you. Do what works best for you, but stay open to the process. If you feel resistance to a particular practice, this is a good thing to talk to God about.

By the time Easter comes, we can’t wait to hear your stories about the power of the practices in your life.

May God bless you on your Lenten journey,

- Pastor Dave
- the Montrose Church staff
- John and Sungshim Loppnow

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Tags: lent, practices, breath prayer

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