During Lent & Pre-Lent, we will be committing to a regimen of prayer to help us become the renewal that the Church needs today.
While all of the ascetic disciplines of Lent & Pre-Lent are a type of prayer, this article will focus on the disciplines that will shape our silent contemplative prayer time during this season. These disciplines are:
For a full list of the disciplines see "What are the Disciplines of Lent and Pre-Lent?"
How to Pray
The first step to prayer is that you desire to serve God in the manner most agreeable to him. This desire will be fostered in three ways. The first is when you consider that the Almighty God deserves your worship and service. It is truly right, just, and necessary to give praise to the all-powerful creator of the universe. The second is that God became man out of love for us—for you. Not only because he is almighty but also because he is all loving you should serve him in the way that he desires. The final way to foster this desire is by contemplating your obligation to observe his law.
Ask the Lord to help you know how to pray. Have confidence that he will help you. Do not doubt the Lord. The God who loves you more than you can comprehend will not ignore your request.
Your motive for prayer must be the will of God rather than your own will. Pray because God wants you to pray. It is good if you are drawn to prayer, but it is essential that you take time to pray because God wills that you pray. In humility, surrender your will to the Lord—trust him.
What is Silent Prayer?
First, let's say what silent prayer is not. It is not merely the absence of all noise. The fathers of the church assign an eminent place to silence the in ascetical life. Interior silence can only be achieved by the absence of memories, plans, interior speech, worries, and curiosities. Silence is not merely a lack of interior and exterior noise, it is a place of encounter. We seek silence because we seek God—silence is the veil that protects the mystery.
Where to Pray
Your prayer time is best done before the blessed sacrament, either exposed or reposed in a tabernacle. If neither option is available, then “go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6). Find a quiet place to pray—a place free of distractions. Light a candle before you if possible. Consider bringing a crucifix into the space with you as well.
If I miss a day, do I need to quit Lent or Pre-Lent?
No! Amid the responsibilities of your life and vocation, an hour of prayer may not be possible each day. Do not become discouraged, feel shame, or give up on prayer because you cannot hit an hour. Do the best you can with the time that you have. If you need to start small with a few minutes and build up your time, we encourage you to do so.
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