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7 One-Word Prayers for Lent

With this simple plan for this inspiring season, you may be more ready than ever for the glorious celebration of Easter.
Woman praying one-word prayers for Lent
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Very early in the life of the church, followers of Jesus began observing a season we now call Lent, a 40-day season of spiritual preparation for the holiest of days in the Christian calendar: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Silent Saturday, and Easter Sunday. Lent often involves spiritual discipline and practices such as fasting, meditating, or giving something up. It is a time of intentional, focused prayer and contemplation. Could using one-word prayers for Lent be helpful?

In the clamor and frenzy of our daily lives, it’s difficult to mark this season of confession, repentance, and humility as we’d like. But it’s not impossible if we have a Lent plan. One way is to select one-word prayers for Lent. Use one each, starting on Ash Wednesday and ending just before Maundy Thursday.

Lent one-word prayers can be offered silently or whispered during daily activities—while dropping kids at school or waiting on hold. They can offer a prayerful respite in the most mundane moments. All it takes is a little intention, a momentary awareness, and sometimes a helpful trigger or reminder. Maybe before opening the mail. Or after hearing a car horn or barking dog.

So, here are seven one-word prayers for Lent I suggest for praying throughout the days and weeks leading up to this year’s observance of Christ’s Passion. Let them bring meaning to the Lenten season.

Week 1 of Lent: Confess

In the first week of Lent, cultivate a heightened awareness of your own frailties and shortcomings by regularly praying “I confess…”

Week 2 of Lent: Silence

The next week, speak this word into the busyness and noise of your life. Make it a prayer for quietness. Use it as a reminder to calm your own mind and heart. Let it be a request for more moments of silence during this holy season.

Week 3 of Lent: Surrender

In the third week of Lent, take every opportunity to say “Surrender,” submitting to God in humility, obedience, and worship. Let it remind you of Gethsemane, where Jesus prayed, “Not my will, but yours be done.”

Week 4 of Lent: Mercy

Let this word make your fourth week of Lent a continual cry for mercy, for yourself and for others.

Week 5 of Lent: Break

As you pray into the fifth Lenten week, you may have become more aware of your sins and shortcomings, habits and tendencies that aren’t helpful to you or pleasing to God. Speak the word “break” often in the course of your days, asking the Lord to break up those patterns and proclivities.

Week 6 of Lent: Need

Among the blessings of Lent is a deeper and broader awareness of how much we need the powerful presence of Jesus in our lives. Repeating the word “need” as often as possible can become a petition for God to “meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19 NIV).

READ MORE: Is Lent in the Bible?

Week 7 of Lent: Jesus

In the final week of Lent, as you prepare for the events of Holy Week, speak the name of Jesus, invoking His presence, praising His beauty, and asking for His blessing and working in your life and in the lives of those around you.

Try it. Sprinkle each of these seven one-word prayers for Lent through your days, hours, and minutes between now and the annual observance of Christ’s Passion. Then you may be more ready than ever for the glorious celebration of Resurrection Sunday.


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