Catholics are traditionally encouraged to give something up for Lent. Giving up ice cream or not watching a favorite TV program are typical choices. But as adults, there is something else we can do during Lent that can have an amazing impact on our lives. How about giving up a few minutes a day for prayer?
Now some might argue that this is really adding something, rather than giving something up. But it is well within the spirit of Lent. What we are really doing is giving up our old ways of plodding through each day as if God didn’t matter too much. Instead we are trying on a new way of being, for a few minutes a day, where we consciously tell God to jump in and meet us right where we are.
How does one start? There are several options. The ActiveParishioner.com website offers many books to help with this. One approach is selecting a book for Praying Daily. These books offer a series of short reflections that can be read, one a day. Often the reflections include a Bible reading or an inspiring quote. Sometimes they ask a question for the reader to ponder during the day.
Another approach is selecting a book from the category “Prayer-Getting Started.” These are wonderful, inviting books that focus on the “how-to” of prayer. Many give examples or guidance to help us jump-start this practice. Others discuss approaches to prayer and answer many of the questions we might have.
Another approach is to investigate a specific type of prayer that you may have heard about or which may seem intriguing to you. Books for this approach can be found in the category called Prayer Methods. Examples include Benedictine prayer which focuses on reading Scripture, Ignatian prayer which utilizes imagery prayer, or Novenas which include prayers over a nine-day period.
Another approach to prayer involves praying online using the internet. Some wonderful resources can be found on ActiveParishioner.com’s Pray Now page.
Whatever approach you take, get ready for an enjoyable and surprising Lent this year.