Ways to pray during Lent

   A third reading may bring you into dialogue with God about how the passage touches you. Listening to Scripture reflectively gives the Spirit a chance to speak.

   Another helpful use of Scripture is sometimes called “Gospel contemplation.” St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, urged praying with the imagination by selecting a Gospel passage, reading it carefully, and then putting yourself into the experience.

   Perhaps you can imagine yourself the Samaritan who stops to help the wounded victim, or perhaps you are the Levite passing by or a bystander. Use your imagination to re-create the entire scene — the weather, the scents filling the air, the sense of fear in the wounded man. See what Jesus might teach you as you become one with a Gospel passage.

   During Lent, many find the Stations of the Cross a helpful prayer that can lead you into a deep experience of Christ’s passion and a deeper love for him. Or perhaps committing to a time of eucharistic adoration will help you find the intimacy and silence that bring you to prayer.

   Others may find that with spring riding the coattails of Lent into April, a daily prayer walk is helpful. Nature can inspire prayer in many, while for others a walk through the neighborhood may be too distracting.

   The “examen” is a powerful daily prayer. It allows you to review the preceding 24 hours with gratitude, focusing on what was life-giving and what was not. The “examen” helps you examine where you felt the hand of God and how you responded to God’s will and where you fell short. More detailed directions for the “examen” can be found online.

   No matter the prayer method you choose, a prayer journal helps. After you have prayed, write down what you have felt and heard during prayer.

   Choose the method that is best for you. The important thing to remember is that God is in control and is infinitely merciful and gracious toward our failings and our efforts.

   Caldarola is a freelance writer and a columnist for Catholic News Service.


Lenten prayer resources

   Many Catholic organizations and ministries offer daily or weekly Lenten reflections for free. Here are a few options to consider incorporating into your Lenten resolutions this year:

   • Catholic Relief Services offers CRS Rice Bowl reflections weekly during Lent:

   • “Living Lent Daily” sends a daily email based on the day’s scriptural readings:

   • “Praying Lent” is an online ministry of Creighton University featuring audio conversations and daily prayers for Lent: http://onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry/Lent

   • Bishop Robert Barron’s “Word on Fire” ministry sends daily Lenten reflections in English or Spanish: www.lentreflections.com

   • “Best Lent Ever” is a program offering a daily video message featuring Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic: http://dynamiccatholic.com/bestlentever

   • The Word Among Us website has a daily meditation based on one reading from the daily readings at Mass: https://wau.org/meditations

     “From Ashes to Glory” on IgnatianSpirituality.com is a Lenten prayer series by Jesuit Father Joseph Tetlow. The program uses the “examen” prayer as a guide for each week of Lent: www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/from-ashes-to-glory