Realizing that the season of Lent is nearly upon us, there is the chance many people are trying to decide what they should “give up” for this penitential season at the last minute. During the season of Lent, we enter the desert with our Lord Jesus Christ and turn our attention to three important practices – Praying, Fasting, and Almsgiving. Instead of giving something up this year, why not do something instead.
Prayer is one of the most important practices during Lent, however, it shouldn’t be just during the penitential seasons we are praying more, we should be praying all the time and without ceasing. As St. Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.”
Prayer, first and foremost, is our simple conversation with God, as St. Teresa of Avila teaches us. However, we can also offer up God our work as prayer that we might do a good job in the office, in the courtroom, in the classroom, on the streets, in the parish, in the convent or with our children. Prayer is essential for our personal relationship with Jesus Christ and so many of the saints knew this well.
If you are struggling to pray or you don’t pray much at all, I would challenge you to find time during the day to pray this Lent. If you don’t set time aside and find a quiet place to pray, this season will pass by quickly and the conversation with God will continue with your silence.
To show us how important prayer is to our lives with God, below are 12 words from the great parish priest, the Cure D’Ars, Saint John Vianney.
1. “There is no one who cannot pray – and pray at all times and in all places; by night or day, when hard at work or resting; in the country, at home, or when travelling.”
2. “Those who do not pray stoop towards the earth like a mole trying to make a hole to hide itself in.”
3. “When we pray with attention and humility of mind and heart, we quit the earth and rise to Heaven. We reach the outstretched arms of God. We talk with the Angels and the Saints.”
4. “God is everywhere ready to hear your prayers.”
5. “Those who do not pray think only of temporal things like the miser who, when a silver Crucifix was presented to him to kiss, remarked: ‘That cross weighs at least ten ounces.’”
6. “You can pray by putting yourself quite simply in touch with God. When one finds nothing more to say to Him but just knows He is there – that in itself is the best of prayers.”
7. “Troubles melt away before a fervent prayer like snow before the sun.”
8. “There is one thing everyone can do, whether they find it hard to meditate or not, and that is to make up their mind in the morning to cultivate some particular virtue during the day, to practice the interior Presence of God, and to live their life in union with Him.”
9. “Prayer makes time seem to pass quickly, and so pleasantly, that one fails to notice how long it is.”
10. “St. Colette saw and spoke to Our Lord as we speak to each other. How often do we come to church without knowing what we come to do, or what we wish to ask!”
11. “Do not the continual needs of our soul and body warn us to have recourse to Him who alone can supply them?”
12. “I often think that when come to adore Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, we should obtain everything we want, if we would ask for it with a very lively faith and a very pure heart.”
Let us pray: O, St. John Vianney, you prayed often to God for the many souls you were given to care for during your time as a priest. Help us by interceding on our behalf so that we might converse with Our Lord Jesus Christ on a daily basis and pray without ceasing. Amen.