I have felt challenged over the years to get into the Lent spirit, trying out fasting, Ash Wednesday services and trying to pray more. I have always found this last one difficult to maintain throughout Lent, so, this year, I have produced a small, creative liturgy to journey through Lent with.

It comprises of a single, sheet of A4 printed on both sides, folded up into a small book shape. Sounds simple? As you unfold the paper, a series of prayer exercises are revealed; each one leading on from the last. The aim is to take you through a cycle of being still before God, confessing, setting out on a journey into the wilderness to pray and listen to God, before praying for others, recognising our forgiveness, and turning towards Good Friday and Easter.

Simply print out the pattern for prayer onto a single side of A4 (back to back, being careful to get it all the right way up!) Then open the Powerpoint file and follow the folding instructions, and the guide to use the pattern. Once you've followed the instructions, you probably won't need them again, and you have a simple, portable, pocket-sized pattern for penitential prayer.

These are the prayer exercises:

1. Be still and know (Psalm 46:10)

This is a little prayer exercise to get going. Each of the little crosses mean you should repeat a section. Add a word in, one at a time, repeating everything you have so far:

i.e. Be...Be still...Be still and...etc.

Until you have the whole verse, then say it again, then start taking the words away again:

i.e. Be still and know that I Am God...Be still and know that I Am...Be still and know that I...etc.

2. Jesus Prayer

This is prayer from the Orthodox tradition, and is what's known as a breath prayer. You breathe in while praying one half of the prayer in your head, and breathe out while you say the second half. Again, the little crosses are to remind you to repeat this prayer 6 times which represents imperfection (7 is perfect). This is appropriate as in Orthodox tradition, only God is Holy and perfect, and its a prayer of confession after all!

3. Sentence Prayers

This one is in three parts. You read the 6 sentences slowly about Jesus going into the desert, pausing between each statment. Open the left hand flap; this reveals 6 more beginnings to the sentences. We follow Jesus' example and imagine going out into the desert to pray and be with God. Next open the right hand flap, again, 6 more sentences. These are prayers for us in the desert.

4. In the desert

This one is about waiting, confessing and listening to God. The words are from Psalm 51 (vv 2,4,10 & 17) and this is the Psalm set for Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Its a psalm of confession and asking for God's forgiveness. Use this prayer reflection to be still and having confessed what gets in the way of your relationship with God, spend time listening to what God might be saying to you. Here are some quesitons you could ask while you wait: Are the footsteps going away or coming towards you? What is on the horizon? How much of the temptation narrative is here? How are you tempted? Where are you going in your life?

5. Labyrinth

This is about praying on the journey through life. It begins and ends with Psalm 143:1. As you follow through the maze, head towards the different words. What do they mean as part of a maze? What is blocking your journey towards each of the words? Who is with you on the journey? The maze heads towards God, represented as a symbol for the Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) and then out again.

6. Look to Easter

Here in a simple drawing we see the cross of Calvary and the empty tomb of Easter. Lent is about looking forward to Christ's passion, Good Friday and Easter Day. However, as Christians we live in the light of Easter day as forgiven children of God. If we spend time focused on our sinfulness, we need to be reminded of our forgiveness received through Christ. 'It is Finished' are Christ's last words on the cross. 'There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus' is the high point of Paul's arguement in Romans, because of the cross and the empty tomb, we are forgiven.

7.Closing Prayer

We ask finally for God's mercy and compassion as we pray trusting that as we focus on God, we are changed because of his self-same mercy and compassion.

Now unfold everything, and refold it, ready to start again! Think about using the prayers everyday through Lent. Let us know what works well and what you would change.