Rediscover the power of prayer this LentFriday 4th March 2022
“We must never underestimate how powerful our prayer can be – yes, your prayer and mine: ‘Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you’. That’s the promise of the scripture.”
In his Ash Wednesday homily, Bishop John reminded us of the importance of prayer in our daily lives as Christians, and how coming before the Lord in even the smallest of faith can have the power to move mountains.
As war ravages on in Ukraine, and people around the world continue to battle the effects of the pandemic and climate change, Bishop John urges us to think globally this Lent, to bring our concerns and our hopes before God in prayer.
He said: “We might think were not very good at prayer, but we only have to come before the lord in silence, dedicate time to him and ask that he influence our actions and our motives and those of those leaders how are in power around use who can make those important decisions.”
As one of the three pillars of our Lenten observances, prayer plays an integral part of our Lent journey. But sometimes, true prayerfulness can be more difficult than it might seem. Often it can be hard to find time, or peace and quiet in the hubbub of our daily lives, and sometimes it can be hard just even knowing what to say.
Lent gives us the opportunity to look anew at our prayer lives and rediscover the grace and peace of true communication with God.
Explore the ideas below to see how a new way of praying could transform your prayer life this Lent.
Daily prayer is the very bedrock of Christian life; allowing us to stay close to God each and every day. But like any routine, until it becomes a habit, it can be hard to commit to, especially in the busyness of every day life. But once that routine becomes a habit, it becomes as natural as breathing, and you are ready enjoy all the blessings daily prayer can bring.
Simply start by deciding on a way to pray, and a time and place that works for you. It might be as soon as you wake up, or just before going to sleep, or perhaps on your commute or during your lunchbreak. If it seems daunting, start small and focus on what you will be able to manage.
Need a little more structure? Take a look at some of the daily prayer resources below:
Vatican News – Word of the Day
It’s not always possible to attend Mass every day, but Vatican News Word of the Day presents the readings for each day along with a few thoughts on the scripture from the Holy Father. Why not use this as a starting point for further reflection?
Seven Last Words of Christ
Take one minute each day this Lent to meditate on the final hours of the life of Jesus. Join our Youth Ministry Chaplains as they explore The Passion of Our Lord over a seven-day period and take time to reflect on the scripture passage in the Seven Last Words of Christ. Revisit these themes each week and notice any changes in words or ideas that might come to you.
Loyola Press – Resources for your Lenten Journey
From daily prayers, to online retreats, family activities, articles and more, Loyala Press has a wealth of materials to help you refresh your prayer life. Click here to explore what might work for you.
Pray As You Go
Pray As You Go is a daily prayer session, designed to go with you wherever you go, to help you pray whenever you find time. Featuring short scripture passages and contemplative questions to aid further mediation.
Join the #Pray40 with Jesus challenge on Hallow App this Lent, in addition to delving into some of their other resources. Offering daily prayers, scripture readings, rosaries, reflections on saints, music praylists and more, Hallow can help you kickstart a new prayer life by creating new routines, setting reminders, and more!
There are a wealth of other resources for you to explore this Lent. Why not try searching around online or chat to your parish priest for more ideas?
Tried and Trusted
If you’re looking for something a little more traditional, there are plenty of traditional prayers that have been cherished by Catholics for centuries.
Meaning “divine reading” in Latin, Lectio Divina offers us an opportunity to experience the Gospel in a more profound way. Follow these steps to guide you in praying the Lectio Divina at home.
“The Rosary is the most beautiful and the most rich in graces of all prayers; it is the prayer that touches most the Heart of the Mother of God.” Pope Saint Pius X.
Praying The Rosary has long been a cherished tradition of the Catholic Church, but for some, it might seem a daunting prayer to fit into an already jam-packed schedule. But the beauty of The Rosary lies in the fact it can be said anywhere. Don’t have your Rosary beads to hand? You can simply use your fingers while you’re on your commute, out on a walk, or doing your chores – and even just take it one decade at a time. You could also take a look at prayer apps like Hallow, or explore iTunes, Spotify lists, or YouTube channels if you prefer to listen while you pray. If you want to delve a little deeper, keep an eye out for any ways to pray the Rosary with scripture passages to help with your meditation on the mysteries.
The Angelus is another much-loved devotion in the Catholic Church. This short recital is traditionally prayed three times a day. This Lent, why not set a reminder to pray the Angelus throughout your day, or perhaps even try praying it before meals? Click here for a link to the prayer.
The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola
Lent is a time where we, as Christians, renounce all that separates us from God. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius offers us the chance to seek freedom from what holds us back, helping us on our Lenten journey towards the full spiritual joy of Easter. Click here to find out more.
“How great is the value of conversation with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, for there is nothing more consoling on earth, nothing more efficacious of advancing along the road of holiness!” Pope Paul VI, Mysterium Fidei.
As Catholics, we believe in the very real presence of Jesus Himself in the Blessed Sacrament. This Lent, why not simply spend time in His presence and reflect on this greatest of gifts.
Stations of the Cross
This Lent, walk with Jesus during His final steps by praying the Stations of the Cross. Opening our hearts to the pain and sorrow of His Passion can help us better repent and realise more fully the extent of God’s love for us. Check with your local parish for any opportunities to pray the stations, or take a look at any online resources, including these from CAFOD, and this Ecological Way of the Cross from National Justice and Peace Network.
In the words of St Teresa of Avila, “mental prayer is nothing else but being on terms of friendship with God, frequently conversing in secret with Him.” Many people describe prayer as a conversation, but how many of our conversations rely on scripted words?
The most meaningful conversations we have with others are the words that come from the heart; our most cherished relationships are built on joy, sorrow, hope, and uncertainty. By allowing ourselves to talk more freely with God – as with a friend or family member – we can open the door to a deeper, more genuine relationship: a constant connection rather than keeping God on a shelf for when we might need Him next.
This Lent, remind yourself you acknowledge God’s presence in your everyday lives, bringing your hopes, anxieties, thanks, and praises to Him, as you would your most trusted friend.
Watch the video below to hear Bishop John’s thoughts from last year about how our conversation with God can become a “rich source of prayer”:
Conversations are also a two-way street. Too often, our prayers are one-directional; a constant barrage of words without giving God the opportunity to speak to us. Whether we’re seeking answers to a problem, looking for comfort, or simply hoping to rest in God’s love, just sitting with God in silence can bring us a whole new level of peace
Choose a Role Model
Whenever we begin a new challenge or set ourselves a new goal, it can be helpful to have a role model in mind to inspire us and to model ourselves on, in addition to surrounding ourselves with supportive friends or family members to help up on our way.
Fortunately, we have a whole heavenly host of saints to inspire us, and by studying their lives and copying their example, we can strive to better become the people God is calling us to be.
This Lent, choose a particular saint that inspires you, learn about their life and works, read about them and what they had to say, and pray – asking for their intercession to help you on your way