40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 40, or The Strife Is Over

 

 

40 Days and 40 nights we’ve lived in the desert, journeying the rough path of fasting, prayer, repentance, and reflection. Now we’ve seen it through. We’ve reached the end. We’ve made it out of the desert.

 

Our Savior has triumphed over the grave! He has redeemed the world and opened the gates of Heaven! He has conquered death and sin! No more do we need to remain chained to pride and sorrow, it’s time to dance for joy!

 

And we should dance and sing for joy so that the world, so starving for hope, can see and discover the cause for our rejoicing, the cause for our faith, the cause for our peace. Let the light of His resurrection shine through you!

 

 

“Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
― Pope John Paul II

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Lord, thank you for all You have revealed to me through this season of Lent. Help me continue to grow in my faith as the Easter season continues, and let me be an instrument of Your love.

 

Amen.

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40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 39, or From His Side

 

On the darkest of days, in the most desperate of moments, when it seemed the light of the world had been extinguished, in fact it was our very salvation being brought about. So deep was Jesus’ love and mercy for us, that even from the grave, He gave of Himself so that we might be redeemed.

 

Though we couldn’t see or understand how the story could go this way, how all our hopes could end in tragedy, God, in His infinite wisdom, was crafting a far more glorious destiny than we could ever have imagined for ourselves. Out of the sin and pride of man, which caused our death and His, He showed us the way to everlasting life, so that we might strive to gain eternity with Him, without ever straying from His side.

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Oh blood and water, which gushed forth from the heart of Jesus as a fountain of mercy for us, I trust in you!

40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 38, or Symbol and Sacrifice

 

 

 

One thing we see often in the gospels is Jesus leading by example. Our good shepherd doesn’t lead us where He does not go Himself. He acted no differently on what He knew to be the last night before His death.

 

On that night, He showed us what it means to be a servant. He showed us the importance of putting others first. He showed us that real love is sacrifice.

 

On that night, He showed us how He would truly and tangibly be with us after He left this earth. He showed us in symbol, but also, most importantly, in substance.

 

 

Luke 22:19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

 

 

After seeing what our Lord carefully and purposefully chose to tell us before He died, will we really doubt the physicality of His sacrifice? Will we really not obey His command? Will we really call it just a symbol?

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Jesus, let me always feel Your true presence in the Eucharist with awe and reverence.

 

Amen.

40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 37, or Holding Our Breath

 

 

We know what’s coming. We’ve read the gospel, we’ve heard the story. We know what will transpire and how it will end.

 

Or we think we know.

 

Many of us have experienced the journey of Holy Week many times in our lives, and we have traditions and rituals that we stick to every year. We know what we will do. But can we really know what will happen?

 

It’s easy to go through the motions assuming that it will all be the same as it’s been before and that we won’t discover anything new. But if Holy Week is about anything, it’s about conversion and renewal. Complacency should have no place in our attitudes as we hear again the familiar but mystifying story.

 

God is speaking to us, now and always, about the ways He wants to change our lives. If we incline our ears and open our hearts to what He whispers, we will discover new meaning in the celebration of His life, death, and resurrection again and again, every year, every day, and in all we do.

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Father, banish my arrogant belief in my own understanding, and let me see with the eyes of a child, that I may hear and see You with a pure and willing heart.

40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 36, or His New Creation

 

After the long and fearful night, we wake to a horizon that is open and free, clear of the terrors and pain of our past. The things we struggled with have no power over us on this new day. And surely we will struggle again, but we walk on having laid down the burdens we carried for so long.

 

We are tempted to distrust this beautiful new dawn, as we remember the clouds that overshadowed us yesterday. But we must allow the warmth and light of the sun to remind us of the bright future ahead of us. We must allow ourselves to believe that we can truly have a new life, that we can become a new person every day.

 

Demons from our past and skeletons in our closets will follow close at our heels, trying to tell us that we can never undo the sins we’ve committed, that we can never become better than we are. But God has other ideas. A glance at the ministry of Jesus shows us that He came to transform the hearts of us all, to cleanse even the most stained of sinners, and to awaken slumbering souls. He came to conquer death and bring new life to the world. And it’s time for us to trust that He does the same for us.

 

 

2 Corinthians 5:17  So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Lord, when I feel the weight of my past holding me back, help me to hope and have faith in Your resurrection.

 

Amen.

40 Days, 40 Prayers

Day 35, or Already There

 

There is a dread that fills me each time I prepare for confession. Despite the knowledge of the joy and peace that is to follow, despite the closeness to God and the strength in my faith I know it brings me, each time trepidation rises within me in anticipation.

 

But why do I fear? All that waits for me in confession is the breaking of my chains, the release from my burdens, the slate wiped clean. My sins are a fact that can’t be changed, and they’ll cling to me and hold me back until I release them. God already knows my failings. Nothing I say will surprise Him. What He hasn’t heard is me admitting my weakness.

 

So I should be running to forgiveness, to redemption, to mercy, to transformation, to love. He’s already there waiting for me.

 

 

Isaiah 1:18

Come now, let us argue it out,
says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be like snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

 

My prayer for today:

 

Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

40 Days, 40 Prayers

 

Day 34, or Praise in the Hallway

 

Discerning God’s will for your life is a journey unto itself, with its own peaks and valleys, advancements and setbacks, triumphs and disappointments. There is a lot of waiting, wondering, and hoping required, none of which are very solid things to hold onto. Impatience and discouragement come so easily as it is, but even more so when we have no milestone, no deadline by which to mark our place in our progress.

 

The truth is, there is really no end to this road of discernment. When one thing is answered, there will be another question. In our search for a finish line, we neglect the events along the way. The answer lies in the searching. We must trust that God has a plan, but accept that the plan may not be a final threshold, but an entrance to a series of corridors that we must walk through.

 

 

Jeremiah 29:11 For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.

 

 

 

 

My prayer for today:

 

Lord, grant me faith and patience to seek out Your will continually and tirelessly.

 

Amen.