This year, Lent snuck up on me—I hardly knew it was February until I unwittingly found myself at a Mardi Gras celebration one Tuesday evening. I knew I wanted to step up my prayer game during these sacred 40 days, but, being short on time and ideas, I had to think quickly as Lent threatened to begin without me.
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Want to make prayer a priority this year but don’t have a strategy to do so? Check out these creative ways to commune with God and jumpstart your prayer life this year.
Set a timer
Let’s face it, almost all of us are constantly connected to our phones. Many people (myself included!) actually wear a tiny version of our phones in the form of an Apple Watch or other fitness tracker. Why not set a timer to pray every three hours? It doesn’t have to be a formal prayer each time, just a moment in your day to connect with God and say a quick prayer, acknowledging that while we are finite, he is infinite. I quickly say thanks for the good things in my life, offer praise, and ask for the needs that only he can supply.
Go to bed (just a little bit!) earlier
I know, I know, this one stings. The truth is, many of us probably want to get up earlier, but Netflix, jobs and other obligations keep us up too late and leave us feeling desperate for another five minutes the next morning.
During Lent, I’m turning off my phone, computer, and TV by a certain time so that I can prepare myself for bed, instead of stumbling towards the blankets far past my bedtime. This enables me to get up earlier (and with a better attitude, to boot!). When I get up before my household starts humming, before my phone starts dinging, even before the chores of the day start calling out to me, I can truly focus on prayer rather than half-heartedly doing it. There’s something about the still and the quiet that make it easier to pour out my heart to God and give him my full attention.
Move from “self-care” to “soul-care”
Self-care is a hot topic, and one that deserves our attention. Consider amplifying your self-care time with things that renew and rejuvenate your soul. Taking a hot bath? Use the alone time to pray. Carving out an evening for reading, cozy blankets, and hot tea? Put down the sci-fi thriller and pick up a book of prayers, or meditate on your favorite Psalms instead. Only have a few minutes and just need to calm your spirit? Focus on breathing deeply—exhaling your frustrations and grievances, and “inhaling” God’s presence all around you.
We all need time to rest and care for ourselves—this Lent, focus on caring for your soul by drawing near to God.
Not everyone shares the same penchant for art or music, but most of us like creating something. Whether it’s woodworking, cooking, gardening or painting, get in touch with your inventive side and do something you love to do! As you work, focus on gratitude for your abilities, gratitude for the life you’ve been given, and the one you are working to create. Perhaps even put on some worship music as you create and commune with God.
Walk the walk
Try taking a long walk—and, if possible, leave distracting devices at home. As you begin your walk, focus on thankfulness and gratitude, then moving onto requests and intentions for others and then yourself. Thank God for the beauty of the things around you, pray for the people you pass on the street, for the neighborhood, for your city, state, etc.
For me, there’s something about physical movement and prayer that go hand-in-hand. The more I walk, the more I want to pray. Sometimes I bring music that focuses my mind of God, sometimes I let the only sound be my footsteps and those of the world around. Don’t be discouraged if your mind wanders off, with each step, twist and turn, refocus your mind on prayer and by the time you return home, you’ll likely be in a calmer, better place.