Ash Wednesday Reflection: Becoming a Prayer Pupil

By Cailey Morgan

It’s been such a joy to participate for the past several weeks in the Orienting to God collective prayer series with CBWC churches. I believe that prayer is the most important way we can spend our time, so I am grateful to be invited into rhythms that foster both corporate and personal prayer. And now, as today is Ash Wednesday, we are given an opportunity to again engage in shared practices with congregations all around the world. 

Perhaps Lent is a good time to reflect on the tools that have been helpful in deepening our prayer lives in the past, and also look to how we will order our future in a way that prioritizes communion with God. 

Mentors in Prayer 
As a young teen, I was introduced to the practice of journaling by Linda, a youth leader who found deep connection with God through the physical method of writing to process her experiences and formulate her prayers. She showed me her journal and talked about what the process meant in her walk with God, and then even took me to London Drugs to buy my first notebook and helped me decorate it with silly photos and a fancy cover.  

A few of my journals. They’re much messier on the inside!

Looking back, I can attest that most of the profound moments in the “individual” facet of my prayer life have been grounded in putting pen to paper.  

But Linda’s not the only person who has opened wide their prayer life for me to learn from. Consider the breadth of emotion and depth of prayer that can be found in the (over 70!) Psalms of David that have been collected in Scripture: joy, desperation, awe, anxiety and depression, praise, contrition, and the list goes on.

When my own words flow, I journal them. When I’m stuck, the words of David serve to help express my feelings and serve as a reminder of our firm foundation: who God is and what He has done.  

Invitations to Pray 
I want to invite you to take these weeks of Lent as an opportunity to become a prayer pupil. How can you take the posture of a learner to hone your personal practices of prayer? Experiment with writing down your prayers each morning, or choose a Psalm to repeat throughout the day. 

And in following with the generosity of David and of Linda in offering their hearts of prayer as an encouragement to others, I offer you a prayer I wrote during Lent 2020. Reach towards Christ, whether with your own words or those of who came before, and may you see that He is reaching towards you! 

Morning Prayer  
by Cailey Morgan 

Poke through 
Turn up 
Interrupt 

Weave your compassion and grace  
Through the fabric of my day 
Remind me to pray  
Infuse what I say 
And actions I take 
With Your healing way 

So that I stay 
Planted 
Rooted 
Grounded 
Not stuck but transfixed 
Can’t move until You move 

Can’t stop until You return 
Abundant life like liquid gold 
Dripping through Your cupped hands as 
You run toward us 
Each drop falling like water 
Like fire 
Dissolving a hole between 
Heaven 
and  
Earth 

Oh to catch a glimpse 
Oh to be a glimpse 

Inspiration respirate on me 
On us 
Spirit of Power You renew 
Refresh 
Revive 
Re-enliven with Your Word 

Another sunrise another surge 
Another rebirth 
Faithful Father 
Making all things new 

Happy New Year!

By Cailey Morgan

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Happy New Year!

There’s something about turning the page on a new season that opens the possibility for new hope for the future. I don’t know about you but I am so ready for an opportunity to disengage from the patterns and ruts that I’ve gotten myself into over the last year and begin afresh.

I was reminded by a colleague recently, however, that as Christians, we follow a different calendar.

New Year in December
Yes, on one level I am talking about the Liturgical Calendar, which provides a way for us to live into the story of God throughout the year. The first Sunday of Advent is the first day of the Christian or Liturgical year. Anticipation of the Incarnation becomes the starting point, not personal goals for self-betterment, or stirring up willpower to achieve a better you.

No—for God’s kids, New Year’s Day is a day to cease striving and to wait. It’s a day to put all our hope in Emmanuel who is coming to ransom us, captive in our sins and in the atmosphere of sin around us that threatens to suffocate us until the breath of the Spirit comes.

Everyday A New Day
On another level, we as Christ-followers have access to New Year’s Day every day! As Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” We’ve all messed up, some of us deeply, in the past year, month, week. Yesterday. Today already. But every time we turn away from our heavenly Father, there are two arms open wide to receive us back. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:19).

If you’re looking for a way to reconnect with the Lord in this new calendar season, try opening the Psalms each morning for the next couple of weeks, looking for times when the Psalmist uses the word “morning.” There’s a strong theme of God’s unfailing commitment to us, as well as the constantly-failing commitment of us to Him, and the opportunity—daily—to re-align ourselves to the God who has covenanted with His people, promising to never leave nor forsake us.