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by ben last modified 20 Feb, 2018 09:48 AM

By the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam, Bishop of Salisbury

In Lent Christians focus on what matters – prayer, food and on what and whom we set our hearts. We are invited to pray, fast, and love others as well as ourselves. We are encouraged to give to charity because giving is good for us as well as for people in need.

Lent is time for a simple life which is why people give things up. For some of us it is amazing what we do not need! Lent is time set aside for self-examination to help us be Easter people who live in response to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

You can teach people to pray. There is quite a lot in the Gospels where Jesus teaches his disciples, including the Lord’s prayer: keep it simple, be direct, ask for what you want, be open to God and one another. St Paul gave lots of good advice about prayer: be thankful, pray continually, live in the Lord. There is a wealth of material to learn from others, the saints down the ages.

I have just been given the newly published prayer book of Evelyn Underhill, one of the great Anglican writers on prayer and spirituality in the 20th Century. It is her collection of other people’s prayers together with those she wrote. We could all do that for ourselves. We learn to pray by doing it, acquiring the habit of prayer.

People keep Lent in lots of ways. Praying Together is at the heart of our keeping Lent as a Diocese. For a few minutes each day we will pray by reading a short passage of scripture, a reflection, prayer and action. When Easter comes we are at one with God, one another and all creation.

In the risen Christ truth, goodness, love, justice and mercy meet one another and us. Easter is like God bringing us home. Lent is preparing for the journey.

You can find out how to join in with Praying Together by ordering a booklet, downloading an app, or getting a daily e-mail at

Taken from the latest edition of Grapevine. Page here

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