Monday, March 7, 2011

Launch Into Lent: Pray More, Pray Differently

Most of us wish we could pray more. We wish that we knew what to say. We wish that we knew what to do when we prayed--maybe you find it difficult to keep your hands clasped, your head bowed, and your eyes closed, the way your elders trained you to pray.

So, what to say? When it doubt, pray the Lord's prayer. You can't go wrong with saying, "Thank you." Pray for everyone who needs your prayers. Pray that God transform you into the best you that you can be.

Here are some additional ways to experiment with adding more prayer to your life during Lent:

--Pray immediately when you wake up and when you go to bed.

--Set your watch to remind you to pray throughout the day. Or set up your Outlook calendar to remind you. If you carry a phone with you, there's probably a way to get your phone to remind you to pray.

--You might use other elements to remind you to pray. Every time you're stuck in traffic, pray. Every time you feel that flush of irritation from hearing other people's electronics, pray. When you see children waiting for a bus or riding bikes, pray.

--If the thought of praying throughout the day intimidates you, resolve to explore fixed hour prayer or the Liturgy of the Hours. Go to this older post of mine for more information and for resources for you to explore.

--Experiment with prayer as movement. You might already do this if you take a yoga class. Choose your meditative movement and as you hold each pose or complete each kata, offer a prayer.

--Find a labyrinth and walk it. Many churches and retreat centers have installed labyrinths. To find one near you, go here. What do you do once you’re there? Simply walk. Follow the path. As you get comfortable walking, try praying and walking.

--Explore prayer beads or a rosary (but any set of beads will do): If you’re not sure of how to do this, just offer up a different prayer as you touch each bead. Perhaps for each bead, you’d like to remember a specific person. Perhaps for each bead you’d like to offer up thanks for one thing for which you’re grateful. If you’re not good at creating prayers, simply pray the Lord’s prayer. If you want to really return to your Catholic roots, go here.

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