Lent is an incredibly powerful time of year. We read daily scripture or stories leading up to the arrest, judgment, crucifixion, resurrection, 40 days Jesus lived on earth and the final ascension. It’s important as believers that we know WHY we are saved, the sacrifice that was made for our freedom from sin, forgiveness and the promise of an eternal home.
The road to the cross was heartbreaking for all who had walked with and followed Jesus’ ministry. From his family and disciples, to those who had been miraculously healed, shared in a meal of fish and loaves that fed 5,000 people, water turned into wine.
Jesus was loved and held. His mother wept and grieved. Some denied His existence. Others ran from guilt. And in the end, He took the nails for us. By His stripes we are healed. He arose from the dead. He walked for 40 days in human form. And then, in a cloud of glory Jesus returned to Heaven to sit at the throne with His Heavenly Father.
I have recently started an online study titled: “The 28 day Prayer Journey.” The reminders of why prayer with our Heavenly Father is so important are compounded with simple words of grace.
Prayer connects us to God, any day, time or situation.
Believe that He hears you.
God WANTS to talk to you.
As human beings we tend to get into prayer holding patterns. A prayer before a meal, or before bed. Perhaps with our coffee in the morning. These are good, and important, but are we having actual conversation with our Savior? Are we allowing ourselves to spill the agony, embarrassment, defeat? Are we excited to share wonderful news? A new grandchild, the blessing of a prayer answered (asked so long ago)?
My own prayer habits have changed. I used to pray for those who had specific requests while I folded laundry. Now I’ve found myself hustling through the “chore” of folding laundry, not talking to God and not using this valuable piece of time as I once had. What changed? Maybe it was the monotony? The boredom of the “same old prayers.”
Use 2021 to grow in your prayer life. See how God change your heart.
We already are a people that expect change to happen fast, problems to be solved and pain to dissolve.
But in light of the pandemic, we’ve had to slow w-a-y down! We’ve been forced to stay at home for our own well-being and that of others. And perhaps we started eating out of boredom. Binge-watched reality TV, or on the other side of the spectrum, began cleaning and sorting and packing to give away belongings.
But through it all, where was our faith? I found mine slipping away silently from lack of church services and activities. Coffee visits with friends I had relied on for my mental health were now gone “just like that.” Sitting became the new cigarette and (over)eating became the new weight gain.
Discontent is the tool of the devil. He uses it to distract our perspective and attitude. It took a few weeks for me to discover just how deep into discontent I had become. What does the Bible say about this kind of thinking/living?
Some churches have opened with specific rules, smaller groups, masks. I have still not felt comfortable to make this journey. Instead my Sundays looks a lot different. I do not “honor the Sabbath,” I do chores and grocery shop and pull some weeds in the garden. I intentionally find time in the Word, with Mother Mary, Jesus in podcasts and prayer. I cling to my rosary beads with a new passion. As a new-two year Catholic, I find the pandemic to be incredibly hard, relating to my faith. I miss the social groups, in-person bible study (not a fan of Zoom/video chats), working in the physical church, praying Adoration on Tuesday, checking out books in the library. It’s a new normal. I am not adapting well!
There will always be prayer that needs to be done, and that can be accomplished anywhere. I am hopeful for the future, that our entire world can heal from this virus and can find the space and comfort in which to worship. Me included.
1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
The Pieces book was written from scraps of paper (pieces). Living through Covid19, we are learning all kinds of new words. Social/physical distancing. Stay safe at home. Coronavirus. Flatten the curve. Pandemic. Self quarantine. Face mask. Ventilator. And my NOT favorite: PPE (personal protective equipment) i.e. mask, specialized clothing or equipment.
We have a friend living in Iowa, who’s neighborhood is a “petri dish.” She has been in a serious quarantine situation for 9 weeks!
There is a prayer going through social media and many church emails for the end of this virus. Would you like to pray it with me? I’m sure you know it by heart, it’s The Lord’s Prayer:
There is also a specific prayer for people on the front line, medical staff, healthcare workers, support staff.
This is the strangest post I’ve ever written. The past three weeks have been a time of anxiety and fear for people across the globe. Including me. I have a suppressed immune system for medication I take and have recently (2 years) had cancer. I’m 55, so not in the elderly group, but that’s about all I have going for me.
Well, that and tons of hand sanitizer. Oh and an active prayer life. Those two will hopefully save my sanity.
The Coronavirus ranks with school shootings and tsunami’s. There is very little we can do after the fact, but a lot we can and must do now.
The obvious; wash your hands, sneeze into your elbow, keep six feet away from people, don’t shake hands or hug.
But what can you do on a larger scale? Volunteer with the local Red Cross, volunteer to deliver groceries for the grocery store (they are overwhelmed with deliveries right now). Find out how to safely check in on your neighbors. Don’t keep the momentum going on buying toilet paper, hand sanitizers, milk or food. Buy what you normally need. Share your overstock with the local food-banks.
And mostly, be kind. Be the (helping) hands, and eyes that see (need) of Jesus.
Are you a believer in the power of prayer? Why? Why not? I personally have been on the receiving end of countless prayers throughout my life while dealing with chronic health issues.
I’ve also come to believe that it’s okay, and necessary at times – to pray for yourself. It’s not selfish or weird! God wants to hear from you, so share everything that’s in your heart, especially in the areas you are weak; it is there, that he meets you.
I’ve seen prayer move mountains. I’ve seen people come to Christ who were nope, no way every gonna change their mind of God. They were just gonna hang onto their atheism and indifference until the end of time. But little did they know, someone was praying for them!! I’ve seen it happen. A wife never quit praying for her husband, for decades she prayed for his salvation. Now he writes a column for the church newsletter, he teaches adult Sunday school, he is an active member of the ministry. He is also sensitive to those walking the path he once did. I admire his walk of faith. Prayer did that. God did that.
On my journey to becoming Catholic, I have experienced God on a deeper level, mainly through new ways of prayer. Adoration is one that I find incredibly moving and soulful.
Webster defines it as this: the act of adoring, the state of being adored
The first time I experienced the Adoration prayer was during the 2nd day of a 3-day retreat by Fr. Dave Pivonka at my parish. Google him if you haven’t heard him speak; he is truly a messenger of God. He carried this very large gold & flashy cross from the front of the church to every row filled by people.
I have since learned this is called the “monstrance”, containing Jesus — body, soul, blood, and divinity.
Fr. Dave encouraged us to bow our heads and pray. I don’t know how much time went by, but I found myself in a deep, meditative state, filled with joy and tears. I was overcome by God’s grace.
Our parish prays adoration every Tuesday from 8:30 am to 8 pm. I try to go each week, and although I haven’t experienced that same feeling from the first time, I do feel that I am in the presence of our most holy and heavenly Christ when I pray in this setting.
It’s not so much becoming Catholic as it is rediscovering Jesus in a new light, He is touching my life in places I never knew existed.
Empathy. Comfort. Care. Concern. All human beings need understanding. Oftentimes, listening is the best gift you can offer.
Prayer with another is also comforting. The words aren’t important, just sit together, pray silently, read an inspirational poem or scripture, have some tea and cookies.
Solitude makes depression and worry so much worse for people. Email and a card in the mail do when you aren’t close in distance, but if you are – stop by with a bouquet of yellow flowers, a book your friend might enjoy, but DO stop by.
Jesus was friends with many people and in our quest to be more like Him, we share our life with friends also.
There are many variations of the bible; versions such as King James or the Living Bible, Good News, etc., but until today I had never heard of The Message. I love how it breaks down these verses in Job 29:3-5
Job now resumed his response: “Oh, how I long for the good old days, when God took such very good care of me. He always held a lamp before me and I walked through the dark by its light. Oh, how I miss those golden years when God’s friendship graced my home, When the Mighty One was still by my side and my children were all around me, When everything was going my way, and nothing seemed too difficult.
What a beautiful definition of friendship with God.
Today I spoke with a friend who is a snowbird in Texas. We try and talk once a week now, but oftentimes it’s less often. I miss seeing her whenever I want, but I know she is just a call away.
Maybe we feel that way sometimes with God. We haven’t been studying His word, or spending time in prayer, worship or in solitude. He too, is just a call away, He is always here, we just have to ask, cry out or pray. Sometimes all three!
May you be blessed this week, finding time with a good friend and with the best friend; Jesus.