40 Ways for 40 Days: Staying Rooted in Prayer this Lent

Sometimes it feels as though the seasons pass by with an unattainable swiftness.

Just at the point when you’re ready for long days at the pool, Target unloads its school supplies — reminding you with a metaphorical side-eye that soon you’ll be sitting at a desk for eight hours a day. Or doesn’t it seem like by the time you’re ready to sip your pumpkin spice latte, Christmas lights are twinkling on your neighbors’ rooftops, welcoming in this magical season of hope?

It’s a universal truth that seasons come and seasons go; after all, we are not meant to live within one season forever. But, maybe we feel as though seasons go so fast because we don’t slow down long enough to enter deeply into them? Perhaps this pace is but a motorboat skimming across a deep, vast, and beautiful ocean.

The Church invites us into the season of Lent as a way to stop “grazing the surface,” to strap on our scuba gear, to discover the depths and beauty of the vast ocean that is Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. While Lent may not be as busy as Advent, it does come with its own set of challenges. And, sometimes we can be tempted to want to get into that comfy ride atop the surface of this season because Lent is long and fasting is hard.

But, you know what happens when you take on hard tasks when you plunge into the depths? You grow.

And growth is good; growth is necessary; growth is a vehicle to a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God.

Remaining Open to Prayer

If you’ve ever watched a tree grow, you know growth is not for the impatient. Each inch takes time, and each inch seems insignificant. But inches turn into feet and eventually feet turn into a tree, healthy and strong.

Let each of the following prayers act as an inch to your tree of faith this Lent. Each prayer is designed to lead you more deeply into this season and the majority can be prayed in 10 min or less. Pick and choose one prayer for each day or simply repeat one of these prayers for the 40 days of this season.

Whatever you do, offer yourself to the Lord, seeking His aid and grace to help you grow into the saint He has created you to become.

Short Prayers — 1 Minute or Less

To be said in rhythm with your breath or repeated and meditated upon throughout the day.
1. The Sign of the Cross — (Breathe in) In the name of the Father, and the Son, (Breathe Out) and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. The Jesus Prayer — (Breathe in) Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God (Breathe out) have mercy on me, a sinner.
3. Mark 9:24 — (Breathe in) I believe (Breathe out) help my unbelief.
4. Psalm 91:2 — (Breathe in) You are my refuge and fortress (Breathe out) my God in whom I trust.
5. Psalm 23:1 — (Breathe in) The Lord is my shepherd (Breathe out) there is nothing I lack.
6. Psalm 27:14 — (Breathe in) Wait for the Lord. (Breathe out) Be strong and take heart.
7. Psalm 80:3 — (Breathe in) Restore us, O God; (Breathe out) Let your face shine, that we may be saved.

Short Prayers — 5 Minutes or Less

8. The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on Earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

9. The Anima Christi
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me. Within your wounds hide me. Separated from you let me never be. From the evil one, defend me. At the hour of death, call me. And close to you bid me.
That with your saints I may be Praising you, forever and ever. Amen.

10. The Fragrance Prayer by Cardinal John Henry Newman
Dear Jesus, help me to spread your fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with your Spirit and Life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that my life may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through me and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel your presence in their soul. Let them look up, and see no longer us, but only Jesus!

Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be a light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you; none of it will be my own. It will be you, shining on others through me. Let me then praise you in the way you love best, by shining on those around us. Let me preach you without preaching; not by words but by example, by the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear for you. Amen.”

11. The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to Your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.

12. Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen

13. Memorare
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto you, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

14. St. Michael the Archangel
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

15. Act of Spiritual Communion
My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the Most Holy Sacrament. I love you above all things, and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this moment receive you sacramentally, come at least spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were already there and unite myself wholly to you. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen.

16. The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and Earth;
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son Our Lord,
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
He descended into Hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
He ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty; from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.

Long Prayers — 20 Minutes or Less

17. The Litany of Humility
18. The Stations of the Cross — Life Teen’s VIA
19. The Rosary — Sorrowful Mysteries
20. The Divine Mercy Chaplet
21. The Seven Last Words by Fulton Sheen
22. St. Faustina’s Litany of Divine Mercy
23. The Seven Sorrows Devotion
24. Novena to St. Mary Magdalene — to be said daily for nine days
25. Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows — to be said daily for nine days

Scripture Meditations — 20 Minutes or Less

Lectio Divina is a beautiful practice to use when reflecting upon Scripture. Click here for detailed written instruction, or here for video explanation on how to meditate with the Scripture stories below. For community participation during Lent (and beyond), please join us on our YouTube page every Wednesday at 6pm EST for Life Teen’s Lectio Live.

26. Luke 15:11-32 — The Parable of the Lost Son
27. Luke 18:9-14 — The Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
28. Luke 22:39-46 — The Agony in the Garden
39. Matthew 4:1-11 — The Temptation in the Desert
30. Matthew 27:32-56 — The Crucifixion of Jesus
31. John 20:1-18 — The Empty Tomb
32. Acts 2 — Pentecost
33. Matthew 17:1-8 — The Transfiguration

Prayers of Action

34. Fasting
35. Adoration: Spend 15-30 min in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
36. Almsgiving: Donate to charity, tithe to your parish, and/or buy a meal for a friend in need.
37. Receive the Sacrament of Confession.
38. Attend one daily Mass, in addition to your regular Sunday attendance.
39. Serve in a local ministry, either at your parish or in your community.
40. Pray with this list of quotes for the season of Lent.

Whatever your practice of prayer is this season of Lent, let it be one of patience, peace, and hope. My hope is that by choosing to dive into this season (instead of skimming over its surface), you are provided with great fruit and knowledge of the Lord’s incredible sacrifice for you and I. May these prayers be but a small, yet fierce, reminder of His rich mercy and unrelenting love.

Know of my prayers for you today and always!

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash.