"I’m participating in the Keeping LOVE in LENT Blog Link-Up 2013, hosted by
The title of this link-up intrigued and challenged me: how could my family "keep the love in Lent?" What could we do to make Lent 2013 more meaningful? How could we use this time to better show our love for others? The answer quickly popped into my head: through more prayer!
I feel called to put a special emphasis on family prayer this year. Sure, we pray before meals and at bedtime, and occasionally say a decade of the rosary or the Divine Mercy chaplet while driving to sports or dance. But it isn't enough, especially during this liturgical season which calls us to a deeper connection with Jesus.
I'm ashamed to admit that as our lives become busier ad busier, we have begun falling into a pattern of rote, mechanical prayers. We say them quickly and without much thought. We need to slow down and really contemplate what we are saying.
To help us in this mission, I decided to transform our St. Valentine's Tree into a Lenten Prayer Tree. We will use the tree to keep track of our prayer intentions, while giving more meaning to the actual prayer process.
Jennifer, at Catholic Inspired, has some wonderful printables for Lent, which I decided to adapt for our tree. I printed out her Lenten Prayer Chain and her Chain of People printables. Jennifer's chain printable should help us move from rote prayer; it includes suggestions like "Say an extra Hail Mary for people with a disability" or "Say an Our Father for children who don't have a mother and father." We will use it to help us focus on a group of people of people who need our prayers.
We will use the Chain of People printable to focus our prayers on individuals--friends, family members and others who need special prayers, like an aunt who might be having health problems or a friend who is suffering financial difficulties.
Each day, we will take a link from the chain and read the prayer intention on it. We will also take a paper figure and draw details on it so it resembles the family member or friend for who we want to pray. We will place that figure on the tree.
Here's a tray I've set up with materials to create our "people" each day:
I also asked each person in the family to write their Lenten prayer resolution on a purple card like this, which we have placed on the tree:
We will follow this "Change of Heart" Idea from Loyola Press to keep track of our progress on our Lenten resolutions. We place a heart on the tree for each day that we have made progress toward our spiritual resolution.
Here are some photos of our Lenten Prayer Tree:
I'm hoping these simple activities will help us turn to prayer in a more meaningful way.
What activities do you do during Lent to make your prayer more meaningful for yourself and your family? Please share ideas in the combox!
Check out the Lent reflections participating in the Keep LOVE in LENT Blog
Link-Up 2013! We'll be sharing different ways, tips, stories and real-life experiences that will help us focus on Lenten sacrifices, prayer and good deeds, and how to carry them out with LOVE instead of a GRUMBLE. Discover new Catholic Blogs to follow!