Praying with intent

North Texas Catholic
(Mar 22, 2024) Faith-Inspiration

Teens pray during an evening of Adoration and meditation. (NTC/Juan Guajardo)

Throughout Lent, we are called to grow closer to God and Jesus.

These 40 days of fasting, almsgiving, and prayer signify Jesus’s retreat into the desert. The purpose of the Lenten season is to allow our hearts to be changed as we grow deeper in faith and prepare for renewal and joy of the resurrection of Jesus. This time of purification challenges us to be “saints'' of God, and, in order to be saints, we must be intentional. 

For my Lenten journey, I chose to be intentional about developing my daily prayer life. My calendar fills up quickly with daily activities, homework, and chores. I struggle to make time for my faith. Knowing that I will soon be off to college, I want to begin my next chapter of life with a solid commitment to daily prayer.  

Prayer allows us to better understand our desires and the need for God in our lives. In fact, prayer allows us to realize the more we pray, the more we need/want to pray. 

Many paths lead to a healthy prayer life. At Nolan, we replicate a “house system,” meaning the entire student body and faculty are divided into six different houses to encourage inclusion and relationships among all members of the house. As chaplain for the House of Namur, I thought the Lenten season would be a great opportunity to deepen spiritual and personal relationships among house members through the power of prayer partners. This idea gave both students and teachers a chance to bring their needs and intentions before God. 

As children of God, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ for one another. By praying for each other's needs, we show our love and support for them and are reminded that Lent is a time to focus on our relationship with God and with others. This experience has given me the chance to grow deeper in my faith as I get to spend time with God, thanking and praising Him for all He has done for me and remembering the intentions of my prayer partner.

Since focusing on developing a better prayer life, my relationship with God has deepened as my conversations have become more intentional. I’ve attended Catholic school since pre-kindergarten and over the years have learned to recite many written prayers such as the Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be. Now, having incorporated prayer for my house partner into my daily life, I’ve become more comfortable in conversation with God and less reliant on written prayers. 

My deepened relationship with God has also made me more comfortable in receiving the sacrament of reconciliation. In the past, going to confession felt more like an obligation rather than an opportunity to talk to God and ask for His forgiveness. I was nervous and more concerned about the actual process rather than being open to the Holy Spirit to provide guidance and peace.

Focusing on prayer as part of my Lenten journey has brought many blessings to me. As I reflect back on my growth, I realize the changes in my prayer life are surprisingly simple. I have learned that in order to grow in a relationship with anyone, especially God, I must make it a priority and spend more time developing the relationship. I also learned the impact of intentionality as my prayer life transitioned from reciting written prayers to more of a conversation in prayer. 

I am excited to take my new prayer skills with me as I make the move from high school to college. I am quite certain I will use them.

By Jenna Tayag, a senior at Nolan Catholic High School in Fort Worth. 

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