Ingredients in this years personal Lenten stew are:
1. Keep a list of what I'm praying for, and make notes of what happens (inspired by George Muller, great man of faith and opener of Bristol orphanages 100 years ago, my wife's currently reading his autobiography). Had a practice today and the two things I prayed for both happened, so that's encouraging!
2. Alcohol only on feast days (i.e. Sundays - with Ash Weds to Easter being 46 days long, I go for breaking the fast every Sunday, rather than keeping it for 40 days at a stretch up to Palm Sunday. Call me weak willed..)
3. Have a morning a week to pray and be with God.
4. Blog just once a week: probably Saturdays, also cutting down my surfing of other blogs etc. to once a week. It's easy to get into the habit of spending time every day looking for an argument to join, or a thread to make a comment on, or just browsing for information. I'd like to get out of the habit for a bit.
5. Try to get back into fasting, which in my head I see as part of normal Christian discipleship, but the rest of my body isn't quite so keen. I don't know what my feet think because I've not seen them for a while.
6. Get in touch with friends who I've not spoken to for a while. Easy to write, harder to do, as I'm bobbins at keeping up friendships, then complain that I've nobody to go for a pint with.
7 is the Biblical number of perfection, 6 the number of humanity, so I'll stick with 6. Legend has it that the rug makers of north Africa put a deliberate mistake into every piece of work, because only God is perfect.
Begin the fast with joy
Prepare for spiritual battle
Cleanse the soul
Purify the body
Abstain, as from food
from every destructive habit,
indulging only in the Spirit's virtues.
Persevere in these wihth all passion
so shall we be fit, rejoicing in spirit
to witness the passion and death of Christ our god,
and his passing over from death to life.
(Ray Simpson, The Celtic Prayer Book Vol. 1)