It’s true. Nothing will help support your ministry like prayer. So let’s get to some prayer ideas to try for Lent:
- Pray through your calendar.
As you review your schedule do it prayerfuly. Do this monthly, daily, and weekly as you plan. Approaching your activities with prayer rather than with the frantic sense you will never get it all done can transform your experience of it. It will help you thoughtfully choose your priorities. You know you can’t do it all, and that means making choices. Don’t go it alone. Ask God for help on what to do and-even more importantly-what not to do. You have to do some planning anyway, so it won’t even take extra time.
- Practice intercessory prayer.
You’ll find it easier to persist in ministry if you pray for your people and for the ministry as a whole.You can pray for the leaders and potential leaders, for your staff, for those in difficulties. This doesn’t take hours. A few minutes daily or a few more minutes weekly will help you considerably.
- Practice meditative prayer.
Most of us pastors love to talk. Much of the prayer we do involves talking to God, whether publicly or privately. I recommend trying meditative prayer for five minutes or less. I find even that brief time helps my busy mind calm down. As challenging as quiet prayer is, I think it is unsurpassed at helping us find more peace, not only when we are praying but throughout the rest of our day.
- Pray while walking or running.
For some pastors, sitting still is like pulling teeth. I’ve known a number of clergy who run or walk daily and use that as their prayer time. I met one pastor from the upper Midwest who even ran on ice with special shoes, and he prayed throughout. The rhythm of your gait can act like a prayer word or phrase to help you keep your mind on your prayer. If you’re a runner or a walker, you can pray without adding any time to your schedule.
- Pray with others.
For extroverts who find being alone a challenge, group prayer can be a wonderful practice. For introverts, it can be a structured way to be with others (far easier than the church coffee hour). If you have any special Lenten gatherings, try including five minutes of group prayer-for your own sake, as well as for others.
Of course, praying is not simply about saving time. However, I find it’s easy for pastors to feel guilty that they aren’t praying more. Don’t let time be a roadblock. Simply take five minutes today and try one of these ideas.
How do you pray? I’d love to hear what your practice is.
And here are some additional ideas for Lenten practices.