Using a calendar template is a simple, daily prayer practice for making the journey through Lent. Each day choose a word to ponder or a person to pray for. Write the word or name in the allotted space with a pen and draw or doodle around it. Add color with colored pencils or markers. Let the word or name speak to you. If words come to you as you draw, pray them. If not, just continue to draw, stay quiet, and let the word or name burrow into your mind and heart. Returning to the calendar each day establishes a hallowed time and a place to be present to God and listen.
Think of each mark of the pen or stroke of a colored marker/pencil as a small non-verbal prayer. The goal of the doodling and drawing is not to make a beautiful work of art, but to create a visual prayer. Drawing/doodling invites the body into the prayer, gives the eyes and hand something to do, and helps to focus attention on the word or person.
Praying on the calendar is a visual and kinesthetic Lenten discipline. The accumulation of words or peoples’ names on the calendar creates an emerging tapestry of your spiritual journey through the forty-plus days of Lent.
BELOW are three templates to download. Choose the one or ones you like and click on the link below the calendars. Download the template first, then Print. Below the templates are some suggested ways to use the calendars. Since the spaces are small you can take the template to a copier and enlarge it (129%-132%) onto an 11″x17″ piece of card stock. Although Lent is officially 40 days, there are 46 spaces on each template to include the weekends. Further down the page are some finished templates from previous years. Feel free to Share this post and the templates with others.
Ways to Use the Calendars:
1) Pray for a person each day of Lent.
2) Use a daily book of Lenten meditations. Read the mediation for the day and select a word that jumps out at you. Meditate on the word as you draw and color around it. Let it enter your heart and mind. Ask God what you need to hear from the word.
3) Follow a daily lectionary and choose a word from one of the Scripture readings.
4) Read the same Psalm each day and choose a daily word. Psalm 51, for example, is a penitential Psalm with lots of juicy (sometimes depressing) words in it.
5) Read a different Psalm each day and choose a word.
6) Use nouns or adjectives that describe the nature and character of Jesus: savior, redeemer, healer, radical, obedient, forgiving,…
7) Since Lent is a time for reflection and self-examination, scatter your confessions, character defects, regrets, worries, fears, and sorrows on the template. Ask the Holy Spirit to be present as you reflect on these. This is not meant to be an exercise in self-flagellation, but a way to be honest with yourself and draw closer to God and god’s unconditional love. Mix in some dreams, hopes, and thanksgivings.
8) Create a visual gratitude list. Each day add a word or an image. The items on your gratitude list can be important and profound or simple and fleeting: a cup of coffee, a walk around the block, a smile from a child….
Here are three examples of finished calendars from previous years.
Thanks to Lynne M for permission to use her calendar in the middle from 2011.
Thanks to Connie D for her Lenten calendar in the top row of calendars, second from the right.