Three things we are asked to do during the 40 days of Lent is to fast, give alms and pray. The first two, fasting and giving alms are all about self-denial. We are used to giving up fill-in-the-blank for Lent. But the third, praying, is about doing more. During Lent we need to add more prayer to our daily life. That may be the most difficult of the three to do faithfully. After all, our jobs, families, communities, schedules continue on, Lent or no Lent. Time is the most scarce commodity we seem to have today.
Yet we have so many ways to add prayer into our daily routines. We can find creative ways to pencil God into our planners because there are so many ways to pray. Perhaps it is taking a few moments of silence or centering prayer before turning on the computer at the beginning of the work day. Maybe it means taking out our earbuds and conversing with God instead during our daily exercise. Perhaps it is just breathing intentionally and opening our whole physical being into the Divine Presence as we enjoy walking in the park, or as we listen to beautiful music. We can repeat a short word or phrase that helps to connect with God’s holy presence as we work. The old tried and true prayers and devotions from our past can be dusted off and used when having the energy to be creative in prayer just takes too much energy. The beauty of prayer is there is no one “right” way to do it. We just need to do it. St. Ignatius knew what he was talking about when he named his spiritual regimen the “Spiritual Exercises.” I am going to try to use the remaining days before Easter to be more creative and intentional in my prayer. And who knows maybe I’ll start forming some habits that will help me strengthen my spiritual muscles and maintain a healthy spiritual life into the 50 days of Easter and beyond. Want to join me?