This is a continuation of our Lenten Practice series. See the other articles for more ideas for a Holy Lent. Sometimes it is hard to know where to begin, this may be particularly true as one sets out to begin a daily prayer discipline. I aim here, to outline a number of practices one could incorporate for the season of Lent. They are, of course, available for a resource at any point one seeks to practice prayer.
- Praying the Office: The Book of Common Prayer is a wonderful resource as one aims to live a life of prayer. It is not, however, the most user-friendly resource. I hope to offer an instructional video soon for the BCP, in the meantime, I offer a few online resources that make praying the office an easier endeavor. First, (https://dailyoffice.wordpress.com/) includes daily posts of Morning and Evening Prayer. It is an excellent resource and easy to use. I find reading this from my phone or iPad easier, as it feels more like the book and allows a more prayerful posture than my computer. Also, (http://commonprayer.net/) includes prayers from “Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals”. Purchasing this book, or other similar resources affords one daily prayers lined out more clearly than the BCP. No matter what, praying the office requires deliberate effort and is not for the faint of heart. That said, you will find benefit from it as well.
- Contemplative prayer: whether ‘Centering Prayer’ or some other meditative practice, setting time to empty oneself will afford surprising results. So often, we fill our time and don’t allow for silence. It is in committing to the practice over time that we will find clarity and often feel God guiding us.
- Sabbath: despite it’s being a commandment, even 1 of the big 10, we often struggle to honor it and keep it holy. Let Lent be a time when you commit to practicing Sabbath as a family. As you experience the benefit of marking a day as Holy, you may not let this practice go, even as we pass from the season of Lent into Easter.
- Scripture reading plan: the above may include some aspect of reading scripture, but committing to immersing yourself in the story, through daily reading, can be a wonderful practice. There are dozens of reading plans online (https://www.biblegateway.com/reading-plans/?version=NIV) that suit various approaches or needs. You could also use an audio bible, try the “Daily Audio Bible” as a free podcast, as another method of engaging with the scripture daily.
- Prayer Journal: there are a variety of approaches to this discipline. You could practice writing 3 pages (stream-of-consciousness) daily as a method of emptying your mind, this can lead well to the contemplative practices. I have also used journals to practice gratitude daily and to keep track of the prayer needs of others in my community.