The second recommended Lenten activity is Prayer. Naturally, you should be praying all the time (if you are lucky enough to be living the monastic life style) or at least have some form of regular prayer life/schedule (in a monastery, the whole schedule is based on prayer). Lent is a time to renew a flagging prayer life or add a little lagniappe to the routine.
What have I decided to do this Lent? A good strategy here is to be honest with yourself about your prayer life. I don't do a lot of formal prayer. I listen to the Divine Office on a podcast but a lot of the time it is just background noise while I go through daily routines like feeding my 16 month old son Jacob breakfast. Lots of distractions equal not much praying. So I'm looking for a way to be more focused when I listen. That's the weak part of my Lenten prayer, because I don't have a specific plan and it may possibly go down the drain.
The other common Catholic prayer I have been neglectful of is the Rosary. I used to be great at making time to pray the rosary as a child and at college. But the habit fell away somewhen afterward. Now, when I try to pick it up, it is very rote and my mind wanders all over the place. Anywhere but on the prayers or on the mystery. In an effort to return to the habit and do it well, I've decided to say one decade a day. It's a small start but is easy to do. The idea is to train with it like you would to prepare for a marathon--start slowly with short distances and work your way up to longer runs and faster paces. I am using a book of meditations and pictures by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, The Rosary, Chain of Hope. I read the meditation and then say the decade as I look at the Renaissance painting in the book. (The book includes the new Luminous Mysteries, in case anyone is wondering.) So far it has worked really well, though I am only on day three. The hard work will come later when it isn't fresh and new and fun and other things start trying to squeeze it out of my schedule.
Starting from this foundation, I will build up to the traditional sets of mysteries and will be better focused on what I am praying for. Now if I can just get my toddler to pray along with me...
Tomorrow, the ever popular almsgiving!