Skip to comments.8 Ways to Pray During Lent [Catholic/Orthodox Caucus]
Posted on 03/05/2011 9:57:37 PM PST by Salvation
What do we do when were facing an upcoming big event, celebration, or special occasion in our lives? We prepare for it. Holy Week and Easter are big events in the liturgical year of the Church and in the spiritual life of a Christian. So, as Christians, we prepare spiritually for these through the forty days of Lent. This means that, during Lent, we rededicate ourselves to prayer.
There are as many ways to pray as there are pray-ers in this world, but a few prayer methods can help us in particular to spiritually prepare ourselves during Lent:
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 DVDswhatever it is, you can make what youre 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.
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. A few such resources are Loyola Presss popular 3-Minute Retreats and Seven Last Words of Christ guided meditation, or try the prayer reflections offered by the Irish Jesuit site Sacred Space. If youre seeking more traditional support for your personal reflective prayer, consider a book specially designed to nourish you during Lent, such as Seven Weeks for the Soul or Praying Lent.
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. Check your local parish Web site or bulletin for listings of when a Stations of the Cross prayer service is being offered, or try one of the many online resources available, such as this one for praying the Stations with children.
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.
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.
There are many benefits to praying with others. In group prayer youre able to offer and experience a positive example, needed support and encouragement, different perspectives, and the inspiration to grow in the Christian life. A simple way to get started is to invite your spouse, a family member, or close friend to pray with you on a regular basis throughout Lent. You can also contact your local parish and inquire about prayer groups or prayer circles being sponsored. Or start your own communal prayer group. For example, the Meeting Christ In Prayer kit offers step-by-step instructions, guides, and all the necessary resources so even a beginner can start praying with others.
Being a parent, guardian, or teacher is a holy ministry and a sacred promise. Share your faith with children by letting them see and hear you pray, and by praying together. Guided Reflections for Children: Praying My Faith, Praying with Scriptures, and 52 Simple Ways to Talk with Your Kids about Faith are all practical, realistic resources to help you make the most of your prayertime with children. And dont forget about family dinners. Dinnertime is a great opportunity to start or enliven a tradition of family prayer during Lent. For more childrens prayer resources, click here.
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 guidesfor example, A Prayer Book of Catholic Devotions can get you started and help you stay consistent.
So enjoy your Lenten prayer. And dont think you have to do all the above. Perhaps choose one or two of these prayer methods to concentrate onand then you can more fully experience the pilgrim journey toward Easter that is Lent.
Lord, protect us in our
struggle against evil.
As we begin the discipline
of Lent, make this season holy
by our self-denial.
Grant this through
our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
for ever and ever.
Thanks. I will be sharing this with my parish in the morning. Peace be with you.
There are so many ways to experience Lent through prayer, fasting and generous almsgiving.
Prayers for Lent
Exapostelarion of Matins (Tone Two)
Wretch that I am I disobeyed Your good commandment, O my Lord. And being stripped of Your glory, alas, with shame I am laden. And I have been evicted from the pure delights of Paradise. O merciful and compassionate, have mercy on me who rightly has been deprived of Your goodness.
We were expelled of old, O Lord, from the Garden of Eden, for wrongly eating from the tree. But, O my God and Savior, You once again have restored us through Your Cross and Your Passion. Thereby, O Master, fortify and enable us purely to finish Lent and to worship Your holy resurrection, Pascha our saving Passover, by the prayers of Your Mother.
Prokeimenon of Vespers (Tone Plagal Fourth)
Idiomela: Turn not away Thy face from Thy child for I am afflicted; hear me speedily. Draw near to my soul and deliver me.
Stichos: Thy salvation, O God, hath set me up. The poor see and rejoice.
Kontakion (Tone Plagal Second)
O Master, Guide to wisdom, Giver of prudent counsel, Instructor of the foolish and Champion of the poor, make firm my heart and grant it understanding. O Word of the Father, give me words, for see, I shall not stop my lips from crying out to Thee: I am fallen, in Thy compassion have mercy on me.
I am 59. I can look back at my life and see some of the most wonderful times of spiritual growth for me have been during Lent. The bigger the sacrifice - sometimes the biggest of blessings follow.
Prayer and Suffering
Prayer, Charity and the Joy of Forgiveness (some spiritual catechesis from Cardinal Sean)
Does Prayer Work?--Research and Unanswered Prayer
Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer
The Power of Prayer
Prayer Study: Humans Fail to Manipulate God
Study fails to show healing power of prayer
Explanation of the Prayer of Saint Michael [Father Robert J. Altier]
24-7 prayer movement spreads on college campuses
Confession for RCIA Candidates And More on the Prayer of the Faithful