By this point we are well into Lent. Perhaps you’ve figured out your Lenten project, perhaps you haven’t. There is still time to do so. If you’re still looking for something here’s a suggestion that is doable by all: 1. At some point during your day find three minutes (we all have three minutes, right?). 2. Find someplace quiet (hey, that’s why they make bathroom locks). 3. Close your eyes and take a deep breath and let it out. 4. Touch your thumb to your pinky finger and say to yourself, “God have mercy, Christ have mercy, Jesus mercy, me a sinner. 5. Take a deep breath and let it out. 6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for the next two fingers. 7. On your pointer finger say, “God have mercy, Christ have mercy, Jesus mercy, me beloved.” 8. Remember that you are a beloved child of God, even in your “less than-ness.” Repeat this process for five more times. The first few days it might feel awkward or forced. But, over time this will begin to feel natural. Soon you’ll find yourself saying this little mantra throughout your day and well on the way to what St. Paul refers to as “praying without ceasing.”
While it sounds like an audacious, insurmountable goal at first, praying without ceasing is mostly about creating a new habit, just like any new habit. You just have to decide that it is important to you and start, committing to one day at a time. Just three minutes at a time. Aristotle wrote, “We are what we repeatedly do.” Creating the habit of this little three minute prayer puts you well on the way to becoming prayer itself. Which is kind of cool, if you think about it.