Lenten Listening

Lent begins today. It came upon me, almost unexpected. Snow is blowing outside, and inside we’ve been hit with one of many winter viruses. The house is shuddering in the northwest wind and I’m curled up with a hot water bottle. I’ve observed Lent in one form or another for almost 20 years. Some years I’ve fasted, some years I’ve prayed or studied with a particular focus in mind, and other years I’ve followed a devotional or other reading plan.

This Lent I want to listen.

So far this year, my spiritual life has been impacted by the idea of small turns toward God. This is a habit I want to continue during Lent, especially with my Scripture reading. I want to listen for the words and images that the Holy Spirit illuminates. I want to turn my heart toward these nudges, because I believe each word—and each small turn—will bring me closer to Jesus.

(If you’d like to read more about the power of these microturns toward God, you can subscribe to my email newsletter where I’m writing a series on cultivating this practice in different areas of life. You can read and subscribe here. This is where I’m sharing most of my writing this season. I’d love to connect with you there!)

There is a gospel passage that keeps quivering in my heart these winter days. There’s a version of it in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke). In it, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah, warning those with dull spiritual senses and hearts turned away from God.

Listen to Jesus’ words in Matthew 13:14-16:

“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,

You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;
You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.

But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears, because they hear.”

I’ve been mulling this over, and turning this warning into a prayer as I read Scripture. I plan to use this as a general framework for my Lenten meditation and prayer time.

Jesus, what do you want me to hear and understand?
Jesus, what do you want me to see and perceive?
Jesus, how can I turn toward you and your kingdom?
Jesus, bring me your healing and wholeness.

I’m sharing it here in case it might be helpful for anyone else. Also, between sips of ginger tea and naps, I’ve been putting together a journal that can be used throughout Lent, with these prayers as prompts for each day. I’ve included a both a blank template which you can use with any Scripture reading plan (print off as many as you want) and a dated guide that goes through the entire gospel of Mark. What better way to spend Lent than leaning in close and listening to the words of Jesus himself?

You can download the guide for free by clicking the image below:

Lord, give us ears to listen.

~ Lindsey Gallant

Lindsey Gallant
A northern girl living the island life. Learning "glad and natural living in the recognized presence of God." Writer, book nerd, nature lover. Homeschool mom and Charlotte Mason enthusiast. Prefers pen and paper.


  1. You are an inspiration, Lindsey, determined as you are to make small turns toward God. You are so right: there is no better way to spend Lent than leaning in close and listening to the words of Jesus himself! With you I pray: Lord, give me ears to listen. P.S. Our Bible study group at church is currently studying the gospel of Mark!

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