Lent begins today! My church denomination doesn’t corporately celebrate Lent but through the years I’ve created my own traditions. Some years I take something away (fast), for example, one year I gave up Facebook (that was an eye-opening experience!) or some years I add something, like increase my Bible reading time or pray the hours. Every year I try to add a service project. My favorite service project was the one I did with my daughter for Mercy House in Kenya. I’ll be looking for another opportunity this year. (Have an idea? Please leave your suggestion in the comments!)
This Lent season I’m hoping to increase my prayer time. I’ll admit it: my prayer life can be very rushed! My goal is to slow down during my prayers and increase the amount of times I stop and pray throughout the day. I have several books that are filled with prayers that I’m pulling down from my shelves. I like books of prayers because sometimes I’m not sure what to say. I like having these guides to help me. I’m sharing my favorites below. These are great resources for Lent or any time!
Eastertide: Prayers for Lent Through Easter From the Divine Hours by Phyllis Tickle– I bought this book when I wanted to learn how to pray the hours and wasn’t sure what to do or where to start. It explains the tradition and outlines daily prayers for the Lent season. It’s a challenge but I’m always extremely blessed when I work through this book.
The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions by Arthur Bennett – This is such a beautiful collection of prayers! I’m blessed, encouraged and strengthened with each prayer.
The Power of the Praying Parent: Book of Prayers by Stormie Omartian – I can’t list books with prayers without listing one by Stormie Omartian. Her entire “Power of a Praying…” series is great. I like this one especially because it’s a handy booklet of prayers only. I keep this book in my kids’ bedroom and pray these prayers over my children at bedtime.
Busy Mom’s Guide to Prayer: A Guided Prayer Journal by Lisa Whelchel – This is a prayer journal. There are several prompts and a place to write in your response. I like it because it forces me to consider praying for people I sometimes forget to pray for, like church leaders or government officials. It’s also a great way to go back and look over my prayers from months ago.
I’m excited to dig back into these resources, but I’m also feeling a bit intimidated because I already know I’ll fall short of my goals or hopes. But that’s ok. It’s a needed reminder that I’m dependent on God. In all I do. Period. And, even when I fall short, He knows my heart and intent.
All of it brings me closer to God, which is why I started observing Lent. I wanted our holidays (holy days) to mean something to us, to have a real impact on our lives. It’s so easy to rush through the days or lose the purpose in the miscellaneous details (meal plans, Easter bunnies, egg hunts, etc. – all good things, of course, but not the point!). If you haven’t celebrated Lent before, I encourage you to pray about it. It’s been such a time of growth and blessing for me!
For more ideas, this list of resources compiled by Rachel Held Evans is very helpful and informative.
May God prepare our hearts and bless our efforts this Lent season!
Do you have a favorite book of prayers? What does Lent look like for you? Please share in the comments!