Jan Day Gravel
Although I grew up in the Presbyterian Church and knew of Lent, it was not a season for spiritual practice I fully understood or stepped into. Often, I would attempt to sacrifice something—chocolate or wine were the usual items—only to experience a lapse which then ended the discipline for that time.
This year I shifted to a spiritual practice that I began with a very different commitment. In January, a business colleague gave me a belated Christmas gift, a book from an author he knew personally. When I opened it, I expected to see the latest leadership book that he found particularly insightful. Instead, I received the unexpected: The Source of Miracles – 7 Steps to Transforming Your Life Through the Lord’s Prayer by Kathleen McGowan. His gift came to me as I was still processing the recent political events, so I took it with me as I left town to visit friends during Inauguration week.
McGowan makes the connection of the elements of the Lord’s Prayer to the labyrinth and its central rose of six petals, which was new to me. After extensive research, she believes the secret of the rose is the perfect correlation to the Lord’s Prayer. Each petal represents a different teaching within the prayer. Therefore, the rose is a symbol of the perfect spiritual practice as left to us by Jesus. The steps are:
- Forgiveness and
And at the center of the rose we find LOVE.
I have recited the Lord’s Prayer so often I realized it was by rote and done without thinking about the words. Since January, I have recited the prayer twice a day with an intentional focus on each petal, guided by the exercises in her book, and have continued my practice into Lent. I particularly focus on the third petal of Service and the exercise of Prayer as an act of service to pray for five people every day and a topic of world crisis that I am moved by and can pray for with passion, such as famine in Africa, the Syrian refugees, or for our world leaders to find compassion in their hearts.