Second Sunday of Lent

My Heart Tells Me to Pray

Psalm 27: 8

Christians pray at all times and on all occasions in many different ways.

We pray the Lord's Prayer, which Jesus taught us to pray, and we use the Prayer for New Beginnings, the Prayer of Saint Patrick, the Prayer for the Healing of Children, and many different table graces as we go through our days.

One of the oldest Christian prayers is the Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

This prayer was repeated over and over by early Christians to clear their minds in order to welcome the presence of God.

Out of this tradition, we encourage each child to create his or her own Breath Prayer, a prayer that comes from their hearts and always stays with them.

This prayer is a prayer of praise and petition. It is very short - from three to nine syllables (not words) - and is made up of two parts.

The first part (which may be placed anywhere in the prayer) is a praising name of God: Lord Jesus Christ, Heavenly Father, King of Kings, Lord of Lords and so on. Let each child choose a name of God that makes God the most real to him or her.

The second part of the prayer is a petition: have mercy on me, forgive my sins, hear my prayer, watch over me, and so on. Again, each child's petition should come from his or her heart and should be something the child would ask Jesus for directly.

Putting the two parts together, Lord Jesus Christ, hear my prayer, or King of Kings, keep me safe, for example, will give each child a unique prayer that he or she can keep in her heart and always have with her, a prayer that is as simple and as close to each of us as breathing is.

Deborah Spaine explains the prayer more fully in The Breath Prayer.

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