Praying Psalm 51 has been a great way for me to focus my Lenten attention and intention. I like honing in on one word a day. Many of the words convey my/our alienation from God: transgressions, iniquity, sin, evil, sentence, guilt, judgment, guilty, sinner…. Other words focus on God’s graceful removal of those things: cleanse, blot, wash, love, mercy….
Another benefit of sticking with one psalm is memorization. The words on the calendar are like a prompter on the side of the stage reminding me of my lines. Psalm 51 is not one of the psalms I know by heart, but I can almost recite the first six verses now. 1 Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against you, you alone, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are justified in your sentence and blameless when you pass judgment. 5 Indeed, I was born guilty, a sinner when my mother conceived me. NRSV
For this year’s calendar I decided to use only gray, black, red, and purples–colors I associate with Lent. The limited number of colors prevents me from getting too hung up about the product rather than the process of prayer.
P.S. Nap count 3.5 /24–ugh!
Ha! Your little April fool joke caught me completely by surprise – I did a real double-take there. :)
Hurray! Your double-take made me smile.
I just wanted to tell you that I did a presentation of Praying in Color at my parish, St. James Episcopal Church, St. James, NY, last night, and it was very well received. Our Lenten study on Wednesday evenings has been all about different prayer practices, and last night we explored Praying in Color. We had about 25 people in attendance, very multi-generational, senior citizens, young parents, children, singles, and, I think, everyone enjoyed the evening. The Sunday School Director was thrilled with the concept, and will be using it frequently in Sunday School in the future. I am part of a prayer shawl ministry in our community, and love the meditative, calming idea of knitting shawls for others in need. I think I need to do things with my hands while I am praying! Thank you for your wonderful books, and for giving us such a fascinating tool to pray with. Fondly ~ Wylie Hunt