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Ideas for A More Prayerful Lent

alec vanderboom

Lent starts on March 5. Don't let Ash Wednesday catch you by surprise. Prepare a little bit. Don't think of this as simply a dreary time before Easter. Think of it as a chance to grow in friendship with the Lord. It's a bit of a family reunion among us Christians, much deeper and more simple than preparing for Christmas.

Here are some ideas to kickstart a brain-storming session with God. (Remember Lent is all about doing what the Lord wants you to do, so check in with prayer before plan out your life for the next 6 weeks.)

If you've never tried praying the Divine Office before, try it now. Here is a link to a free site.

Put a time for Confession on the calendar.

If you've ever wondering about joining a Secular Order such as the Carmelites or Franciscians, attend a local meeting during Lent.

Attend a Silent Retreat! Every single woman and man deserves one of these each and every year! If this seems like a foreign concept to you, you need it even more than me! There are retreat houses to fit every budget. Seriously! We're talking $50 for an overnight stay at a monastery retreat house, or free if you'd just like to pick a quiet church and hang out in front of the Tabernacle for a a few hours. You deserve a break today! Schedule a special time for silence this Lent.

There are many blogs that urge more Spiritual Reading during Lent. I also suggest investing in a Spiritual Movie! I think movies are a great way to spring board discussion among the whole family. Buy a movie. Make popcorn. Host a little "film discussion" afterwards. Make this a family tradition each Lent. Ignatius Press has a ridiculous amount of great movies. Movies that I really like are St. Francis and St. Clare, A Man for All Seasons, and Beckett.

What about also investing in a music CD? Make up your own play list from I-Tunes. Or order something from your favorite Christian artist. Even picking a classical CD would be beautiful. Make a commitment to play some beautiful music often in your house this Lent. You can put it on as background music when you're praying, or when you're doing a task like cleaning.

Do you have enough candles in your home? I have small children, so candles are really exotic to me. I light them when the little girls are in bed. It's a visual sign of relaxation for me. I love to light candles before I start to pray.

Do you have a little prayer corner? There should be a little part of your house that is all set up for your prayers. I made a bookcase in my bedroom out of a window sill and a clip lamp. I have my prayer books there. The lamp makes it easy to read in the dark. I'm going to add some of my favorite prayer cards in a tiny bulletin board over Lent.

How is your rosary box? My toddler girls love to drag their children's rosaries all over the house. Lent is a good time to get those things organized in a cute little box.

Happy planning. Adding more prayer into your life this Lent can be both easy and beautiful!