We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

We’re so glad you found our website. Whether you’re visiting us from another part of the world, or from right here in the Huntersville, North Carolina area — welcome!

Pastor Paul's Blog

A Holy Lent

“He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray.”  Luke 11:1 (NRSV)

Having grown up in a different denominational background, Lent was a new concept for me when I started attending the United Methodist Church in my mid-20’s.  It seemed odd at first.  Why focus on holiness for the forty (40) days of Lent instead of all year long?  Why shouldn’t we work on developing the spiritual disciplines all the time?  Well, the answers are in reality we are to practice the faith all year long, but as there are seasons in nature, so there are seasons of our spiritual life, too.  Lent is a vital season of spiritual growth.

Lent is something the church does to prepare for Easter, to be reminded once again, (though we live with it always), that life follows death.  Beginning with Ash Wednesday and the reminder that we are dust and to dust we return, we march on confidently that while death is a certainty, resurrection is a sure and certain hope to everlasting life.

Over the next days, I am planning to share observations and experiences that I hope will speak to you, to share parts of my Lenten journey with you in hopes that it aids you in your journey.

The first of the reflections begins in the conversation around the spiritual discipline of prayer.  Prayer is essential to the life of faith.  Prayer is the necessary ingredient to a more intimate experience of God.  I know this, and yet will confess that my prayer life is not as disciplined as I wish it was.  It’s not that I don’t pray.  I do.  I just don’t have the practice of praying at the same time in the same place every day.  I know people who seem to have that practice established and I admire them so.  I am working on it.

This morning, I went out for a walk (part of trying to develop an exercise routine as well).  If prayer can be understood as an on-going conversation with God, then I really prayed this morning on my walk!  I was conversing with God over the usual items: family dynamics, church stuff, and the feeling of just being a bit weary in body, mind and spirit.  As I looked down at my “Apple Watch” to see how much longer I had to walk to reach my goal, the screen said “Breathe.”  How appropriate.  I had long ago read how simply being aware of your breathing is a tool for prayer and meditation.  Focusing on the simple act of breathing is a marvelous way to stop the mind from running off in all directions and, simply, pray.  Trying to do so while walking and being present with God in the beauty of His creation was a blessing this morning in an on-going effort to stay whole in body, mind and spirit.  The reminder to breathe was an especially helpful reminder that prayer takes many forms.

Maybe you would be open to practicing prayer through a breathing exercise?  As I understand it, you just think about the body breathing in and breathing out, focusing on that one activity while trying to shut out the rest of the thoughts vying for your attention.  Then, the presence of the Divine can be felt, as we confess before God, share concerns with others, offer prayers of thanksgiving, or just seek the refreshing of God’s Spirit. 

I’d love to hear stories of your Lenten observances.  In this holy season of Lent, may breathing, praying, and walking all be a part of how God blesses you.