Our Lenten practice today is to pray about the word PATIENCE. That’s a difficult one for most of us. Our world gets faster and we get used to having things NOW. Patience truly takes practice. As you pray today, take some slow, deep breaths. Slow down.
What can you do with your child together today that encourages patience? Consider planting a bulb that can slowly bloom over the next few weeks. Look here for instructions on planting an amaryllis bulb with children. Narcissus paperwhites are also good for spring blooming indoors. It will take several weeks, depending on the type. What a beautiful way to practice patience during Lent as we prepare for Easter.
Our invitation today is to fast from toys that require batteries or electricity. What does that mean to you as the adult in the family? What are your toys? While you and your child figure it out, consider spending some unplugged time together preparing or enhancing a Lenten prayer space at home that you can use through the rest of this season. Click here for ideas from BuildingFaith.
Did you know that our church has a weekly time of centering prayer? On most Wednesdays from noon to 12:30, a small group of people gather, usually in the prayer chapel just off the sanctuary, and pray together. They hear a scripture, and a brief reading, then share a few thoughts with each other based on the reading. Then a timer is set for 20 minutes, and they pray in silence. It sounds wonderful to some people, and terribly frightening to others!
The practice of contemplative prayer can include focus on one particular word. Today our Lenten practice is to pray about the word SPIRIT. Though I’m still a beginner at it, and an irregular attendee, when I can go I often use Spirit as the word I think about during the 20 minutes of silence. You are welcome to come try it any Wednesday!
In the meantime, trying a breath prayer is a simpler and shorter way to pray, focusing on a word or phrase. Read about it here, and try it with your children, using our word for the day.
Our Lenten practice today is to pick up litter outside our house or at a park. Even with slush on the ground, is there a way to carry out this service idea? Try this idea adapted from Vibrant Faith at Home as you work on it as a family.
Say this prayer aloud to begin: Creator God, thank you for all you have created and for this opportunity to spend time in your creation today. Help us to take good care of it. Amen.
Walk together through your neighborhood or a local park. Collect trash as you walk and talk, taking care to be safe in what you collect.
Have your child share about what they love about spending time in nature. Some prompting questions can be:
- What is it like to live in the middle of God’s creation (nature and other people)?
- What is something you have learned about creation when you’ve been outside?
- When have you experienced something new in creation (sleeping outside, seeing stars, hiking, swimming).
- What have you learned about God as creator?
Read aloud Psalm 148 (click here). Discuss these questions:
- What does this Psalm teach us about God as creator?
- How can we praise God as our creator at home?
Close in prayer: Almighty God, we praise you for your glorious works, and for how the earth you created feeds us and clothes us and provides for us. Help us to praise you with our hands and our minds and our hearts as we work to protect all that points us to you. (The Green Bible Devotional, HarperOne, 2009).
Read a reflection from one Catholic mom on why she lets her kids pick up trash.
Our Lenten practice today is to fast from fancy food. We are asked to eat very simple meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. What that looks like on your table will be particular to your family.
Consider going a little further and set aside the difference in cost to donate to our 10-cents a meal offering, usually taken on the first Sunday of the month. Your fasting will then have very real impact on someone else’s hunger in our local community. Read more here about this idea, and about Stop Hunger Now, a mission project our youth and Mission Kids have participated in for the last two years. Look for more information about how your family (all ages) can get involved when we work with them again in September.
Today we are invited to pray about the word (and the person) JESUS. There are many ways you could do this. One is to use the praying-in-color method. Doodling is encouraged! This method of prayer comes from Sybil Macbeth, who has a book for adults, one for children, and a great webpage that includes simple instructions.
Praying in Color = prayer + d o o d l i n g. It’s particularly good for those who are visual and tactile. Give them a pen and some paper, or better yet some colored pencils, and they will make something happen on the page; but ask them to pray out loud with words? Much harder! Start here if you want to give it a try.
Today we are observing Lent by gathering 5+ items to donate to a food bank. Did you know that we have a regular First Sunday Food Drive at the church? We deliver any items placed in the labeled Welcome Center bins to the food pantry at Loaves and Fishes. The Lenten calendar suggests holding the items you gather today to deliver on March 28th. Let me challenge you to go ahead and deliver them this Sunday (first Sunday in March) to the church, and then collect AGAIN on March 28th to deliver for the first Sunday in April food drive as well. Let your child help pick the items from the pantry, and place them in a bag. Don’t look for the out-of-date can of olives and the dented tomato paste. What would you want to choose for your hungry family to eat? Say a prayer together over the bag, then place it by the door so you remember to put it in the car. We are blessed to be a blessing!