Lent is supposed to be a time of preparation, contemplative prayer, and sacrifice. But then you throw your family and daily grind into the mix, and Lent is rarely the time of penance and spiritual growth I want it to be.

Or is that just me?

I find that when I have a guide of some sort, I am able to gain more focus in my prayer life. It might be a daily devotional or it might be something I can do with my hands. Rosaries are great for that of course, but I also love embroidery.

I started embroidering last year, and I just recently started thinking of how if could be a form of prayer. More on that idea in a minute, but if you want to learn this super simple craft, I have a tutorial waiting for you. And if you're a seasoned stitcher, you can jump right in.

Download this free pattern, and stitch with me while we wait in joyful hope.

lent stitch right click and save to your computer; learn how to transfer a pattern here

My hope is that the repetitive and flowing lines in this design will be the perfect companion to meditative Lenten prayer. So cozy up with a cup of tea and your stitching supplies. And, as you guide you needle through the fabric, keep your mind focused on the pillars of Lent and how they will work in your life this year. Think about the wood of the cross and the weight that it bears.

You might finish it in one sitting, or you might work on it a bit each of these 40 days. Either way, when you're done, you have spent quality preparatory time with the Lord, and you will have a reminder piece to bring out for each Lent to come.

Copyright 2014 Jenna Hines