Prayer is response to God reaching for us

"Christians pray in the knowledge that, although unworthy, we are still loved. Prayer can take any number of different forms, but what truly matters in God’s eyes is that it penetrates deep within us and chips away at our hardness of heart, in order to convert us ever more fully to God and to his will." — Pope Francis, 2020 Message for Lent

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that God initiates prayer. "The living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God's initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response" (no. 2567). Lent is designed to help us respond to that invitation. There are as many ways to pray as there people in the world. We all have a unique prayer language in our relationship with God. St. Thérèse of Lisieux said that for her, "prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy." According to the catechism, there are five distinct forms of prayer that have been revealed in the apostolic and canonical Scriptures and remain normative for Christian prayer (2625-2643). They are blessing and adoration; petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise.

Prayer suggestions during Lent

Updated Feb. 26, 2021

If you are struggling in your prayer life, Lent is a good time to start something new. The following offers a variety of ways to pray.

Bible Study

Check out the online Bible studies being hosted by Little Rock Scripture Study, the internationally recognized Catholic program that began in the Diocese of Little Rock. Or start an online study on your own with family or friends using these free articles, available in English and Spanish, that offer challenging questions for group study. Consider "Be-Attitudes for Believers" a new series from Cackie Upchurch, general editor of the Little Rock Catholic Study Bible. Or you may also want to explore this helpful Q&A about reading the Bible and guide for reading it in chronological order. Ascension Press also has some great offerings. Do you like podcasts? If so, check out the new, "Bible in a Year Podcast," hosted by Father Mike Schmitz. Another option is "Lectio Divina" ("Divine Reading"), which is a monastic tradition where you read several Bible verses aloud, pause on one word or phrase that touches your heart and repeat the word or phrase and dialogue with God about it. Then sit quietly and listen. Still another way is to pray the daily readings accompanied by daily video or audio reflections from the U.S Conference of Catholic Bishops 

Bishop's Homilies

Reflect on the homilies of Bishop Anthony B. Taylor preached at Masses in parishes across Arkansas and beyond in English or Spanish.

Eucharistic Adoration

Spend time with Jesus, who is truly present, body, blood, soul and divinity in the Blessed Sacrament at a Catholic church near you. Ascension Presents offers helpful videos on the importance of making time for adoration and what to do during adoration.

Liturgy of the Hours, Centering or Charismatic Prayer

Lent is a good time to try a new approach to prayer. This article from Arkansas Catholic gives a good overview of the Liturgy of the Hours, the universal prayer of the Church, "Lectio Divina" ("Divine Reading") of the Scriptures, Centering Prayer, a contemplative prayer form that uses a prayer word or "mantra" to rest in God's presence and Charismatic Prayer, which that focuses on the nine charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit. (See also Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 2003) See also "Lent 2021: Pray Without Ceasing," from Arkansas Catholic, which offers several additional resources on prayer.

Prayer Book of Intentions Online

Submit your prayer needs or join Bishop Anthony B. Taylor in praying for all the intentions added daily. Submit a prayer request in English or Spanish.

Pray Penitentially

Given the penitential nature of Lent, praying the Seven Penitential Psalms and the Songs of the Suffering Servant help us recognize our sinfulness, express our sorrow and ask for God’s forgiveness. In addition to the stations on Good Friday, consider these options: Praying the Steps: A Good Friday TraditionStabat Mater; and Tantum Ergo.

Pray Traditional Catholic Prayers

Visit this page to find traditional Catholic prayers including the Our Father, Hail Mary, Divine Praises, Act of Contrition, Guardian Angel Prayer, Peace Prayer of St. Francis and more in English, Spanish and Latin, as well as a special prayer for vocations to the priesthood and religious life written by Bishop Anthony B. Taylor in English or Spanish.

Online Retreats

Retreats are a good way to take a break from the busyness of daily life and are a natural fit with Lent, which calls us into the desert to deepen our relationship with God. In-person, Lenten retreats or missions at Arkansas religious communities or parishes may be suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact a religious community or a parish near you for details. The diocese's annual Ignatian Silent Directed Retreat will be held, but with restrictions. Several online options are available, such as the one from Catholic Relief Services, Creighton University, the Ignatian Workout for Lent, or one with the Trappist monks at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit.

MOMMS Prayer Watch

Join this group and lift up the Diocese of Little Rock seminarians in prayer each week in English and Spanish.

Way of the Cross: Stations and Meditations From Arkansas

Enjoy reflections from Catholics in Arkansas and photos from churches and monasteries across the state; follow along on our website or watch the videos on our YouTube channel. Or find out how this ancient devotion began and how it has evolved to be one of the most popular ways to enter into Christ's passion and death in the Catholic Church. Or walk in the footsteps of Christ with this prayer feature that offers a map of the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem along with photographs from the path taken during the Arkansas Catholic Pilgrimage to the Holy Land.