6 ways to pray during Lent

Posted: February 24, 2016 in Lent

Prayer can take many forms.  This Lent, is may be a good idea to review how you pray and perhaps try a different way of praying.  Below are just a few ideas:

1. Make your abstinence a prayer-in-action.

As Catholics we are called to give up something for Lent.  Chocolate, coffee, that extra helping of dinner, one less hour of video games or watching DVDs—whatever it is, you can make what you’re giving up for Lent a prayer as well: a prayer-in-action. Whenever you encounter the thing you are abstaining from or the time of day that you would normally enjoy it, take a moment to say a prayer in recognition of your wholeness in God even without the thing you have given up. Thank God for the freedom to be wholly yourself without this and, at the same time, acknowledge the gift of its existence in the world.

2. Renew yourself through personal reflective prayer.

Lent is a time of spiritual renewal. One easy step you can take is to use the many free online resources to jump-start or reinvigorate your prayer life. Choose one of the sites on the Prayer page tab below and take a mini three minute retreat or daily reflection.

3. Pray the Stations of the Cross.

One of the most common traditions of Lent is to pray the Stations of the Cross.  This prayer helps us reflect on the passion and death of Christ in preparation for Good Friday observance and the Easter celebration. We are holding the stations of the Cross every Friday in the school Chapel.  Check your local parish Web site or bulletin for listings of when a Stations of the Cross prayer service is being offered too, or try one of the many online resources available, such as this one for praying the Stations with children.

4. Meditate on Holy Scripture with Lectio Divina.

Perhaps the oldest method of scriptural prayer known to Christians is lectio divina or “holy reading.” This method of prayer is characterized by the slow reading and consideration of a text from Scripture, with repetition and meditation on key words or phrases. Lectio divina is rooted in the belief that the scriptural word speaks in the human heart as the word of God and can reveal the thoughts of our hearts in response to God. In this way, lectio divina leads to a deeper communion with the Divine.

5. Reflect deeper on your liturgical prayer.

When you attend Mass during Lent, be conscious of and meditate on the words you pray in the liturgy. For example, the Eucharistic Prayer, the highlight of each Mass, has special significance during Lent. After receiving communion, you may want to sit and reflect more deeply on this great prayer of the Church.

6. Start a practice of daily prayer that will last after Lent.

Perhaps the best prayer advice is to use Lent as a time to instill prayer habits that will last long after Lent has concluded. Resources such as yearly prayer guides—for example, A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions can get you started and help you stay consistent.

So enjoy your Lenten prayer.  And don’t think you have to do all the above.  Perhaps choose one or two of these prayer methods to concentrate on—and then you can more fully experience the pilgrim journey toward Easter that is Lent.

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