During Lent, there is one spiritual activity that I look forward to most. Before Lent starts (though it’s never too late to begin), I get out my calendar and I write the name of one family member, friend, coworker, neighbor, acquaintance, or someone I’m not too fond of on one of the 40 days of Lent. On that day, I offer my prayers and petitions, frustrations, joys, and sufferings for that person’s intentions.
This practice is truly transformative. First, it encourages me to take the Lenten pillar of prayer more seriously. I feel like I have to pray hard each day; otherwise, it’s almost as if I let that person I’m interceding for down in some way.
Second, it allows me to become a sort of spiritual companion to another person on their own Lenten journey, particularly by letting them know that I am interceding for him or her on that day. Often times, the individual will give me specific intentions to pray for, making the day of prayer even more meaningful.
Finally, it gives me a chance to catch up on my “I’ll be praying for you” promises. Admit it. You do it, too. We’re always telling people that we are praying for them, but sometimes, our prayer for them just isn’t as frequent or as deep as we would like it to be. This Lenten prayer activity changes that. You devote an entire day of focus to one person and their struggles, hopes, spiritual life, family relations, health, and whatever else that soul uniquely needs from you and your intercession.
I encourage you to join me in this special prayer journey this Lent. I love how connected I feel with others through this exercise. It reminds me that, especially during this penitential season, we are all one body, helping to bear each other’s crosses so that, at the end of these 40 days, we can come to rejoice in each other’s Easters.