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Lenten Suggestions Part 1: Prayer
Posted By Eric Sammons On February 10, 2010 @ 7:47 am In Spirituality | Comments Disabled
It is a week until Ash Wednesday, so we all need to be thinking about how we can grow spiritually during the beautiful season of Lent. The Church asks us to engage in more intense prayer, fasting and almsgiving as ways to prepare ourselves for the glorious feast of Easter. I wanted to give some of my own suggestions for how we can intensify our spiritual life in these areas during Lent. I’ll begin with prayer.
The model for all three practices is found in Matthew 6. Let us keep these words of Christ in mind whenever we pray:
When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray:
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread;
and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors;
and do not subject us to the final test,
but deliver us from the evil one.
If you forgive others their transgressions,
your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you do not forgive others,
neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.
Some practical suggestions:
1) Daily Mass
Try to go to Mass at least one more time a week than you currently do. There is no greater prayer we can participate in. Furthermore, I have found that every time I added a day to my routine for Mass, I kept going that day after Lent ended.
2) Read the Gospel
Take 5-10 minutes in the morning to read the Gospel passage for the day and then reflect on it. We are called to be Christ-like, and there is no better way to know what Christ is like than the Gospels.
3) Liturgy of the Hours
As Catholics, we do not believe that we are being saved alone. We in fact are being saved as a body, and the Liturgy of the Hours is a beautiful way to join that body in prayer. And the great thing is that you can do it anytime of the day. Try to add one of the following to your routine: Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer, or Night Prayer. Each of them only takes about 10-15 minutes, and the power of this form of prayer is that it forms your intentions to the intentions of the Church.
I’ve often extolled the power of the Rosary. Lent is a great time to get into the habit of praying the Rosary. I guarantee that you won’t regret it.
5) Family Prayer
The cliché that holds true is that “the family that prays together, stays together”. Too many families either don’t pray together or they only do so before meals. But family prayer is a powerful way to deeply unite the family. Find a time each day to pray together as a family; you can combine this with one of the above: go to daily Mass together, say Night Prayer together or pray the Rosary as a family.
Whatever you choose to do (and please feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments if you wish), just be sure to do something. And don’t get discouraged if you forget a few times the first few weeks of Lent; we all do. That is just a reminder to get back up and try again.
In the next two days I’ll add suggestions for fasting and almsgiving as well.
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URL to article: http://ericsammons.com/blog/2010/02/10/lenten-suggestions-part-1-prayer/
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