We are now in Lent, a period of time when we reflect and repent. There are three pillars of Lent, and one of those pillars is Prayer! Over the next few weeks we will explore all three pillars, but prayer is a particularly poignant one for us to begin with. Prayer is sometimes something that we throw in last minute, or only engage with when we need something, but it shouldn’t be. It is a time for us to connect with God, to spend some time in His holy presence and to reflect on where He has given us guidance in our lives. Use the resources below to develop your prayer life this week.
What is prayer to you? Prayer can be so many things, but this video explores it in a lovely way, with incredible animation and powerful words.
St Augustine is an incredibly well known Saint, a man who dedicated a large part of his life to God and to prayer. He is famously attributed to having said “To sing is to pray twice” and was a big believer in prayer through music. But as is often the case, his life wasn’t always so devout and faithful. The video below tells us all about his life and how he eventually found God. Once you’ve watched the video, say the prayer below.
This is a prayer that St Augustine himself wrote:
Breathe in me O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart O Holy Spirit, that I love but what is holy. Strengthen me O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy.
How often do you say the Our Father prayer, and forget what words you are saying? When we know something so well we often forget that things have meaning and purpose. The scripture below is from Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 3) and is Christ’s teachings on prayer. It’s where he taught us the Our Father prayer that we know today, and reminds us that so much of our prayer and life is rooted in scripture. Spend some time reflecting on the scripture today, and remember that Lent is the perfect time to work on your prayer life.
“When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites! They love to stand up and pray in the houses of worship and on the street corners, so that everyone will see them. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. But when you pray, go to your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you.
“When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words, as the pagans do, who think that their gods will hear them because their prayers are long. Do not be like them. Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray:
‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need. Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’
“If you forgive others the wrongs they have done to you, your Father in heaven will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive the wrongs you have done.
We begin with the Sign of the Cross.
This first song is a little different than the songs that you might associate with religious music. Sometimes we can get bogged down in the traditional music and forget that there are still Christians writing and creating music for our prayer today! Have a listen to this song and think about what the lyrics are trying to say.
This song is based on the Our Father prayer. Have a listen to it and then say the Our Father prayer that is underneath!
Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, Amen.
We end with the Sign of the Cross.
This reflective prayer from CAFOD is lovely and peaceful. Their campaign this year is all about walking for water, helping those who need it. Watch the video and spend some time reflecting on this. What can you do to help?
Lent is a time of reflection, and prayer is one of the three pillars of Lent along with fasting and almsgiving. How often do you take time to pray and have that moment with God? Maybe spending some time with Him today could help you to focus your life and what is going on. Reflect on the questions below today:
When was the last time you sat in quiet with God?
When is a time that you needed God in your life?
How can you help those in need from afar?
Finish your reflection with some prayer, asking God for help and thanking Him for what he has provided you with.