A Fortune For Your Prayers

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Abby Summers

Being nearly halfway through this year’s Lenten season, it’s sometimes hard to stay true to your Lenten Promise. Similar to a New Year’s Resolution, it’s easy to go into it with confidence and the notion that “it will be different this year.” But as the days go by, most people, at least I, have trouble keeping up with the promise. It takes too much work. I’m tired and don’t feel like it, so maybe I’ll just pick it back up tomorrow. Jesus will understand, right?

My life is crazy. Between work and school, I definitely don’t have time to juggle a prayer life, too. So maybe, if I just give up something like soda or candy and call it a day, I’ll be doing something. At least, this has been my mentality in previous years.

Then, I rewind and think about the encouragement from Ash Wednesday Mass and what Jesus went through. Carrying the unimaginably heavy cross up Calvary Hill before his flesh was nailed to it. Getting mocked, being yelled at and dying for billions upon billions of people who weren’t even born yet. One of those billions being me, the person who is too tired to give God even a fraction of my love. And suddenly, I gain a whole new perspective on it.

So, when this year’s Ash Wednesday rolled around, I thought of it as the locker room pump-up before the big game. I planned out how I was going to reach my goals each day, made notes, told myself that I could do it and asked for God’s guidance during these forty days. And my desire to stay in touch with God lasted for a few days. I went to Eucharistic Adoration on Wednesday and set goals of taking at least 15 minutes a day to pray, attending weekly Adoration, trying not to complain, and giving a weekly offering to the Church. But, then I came to a stand-still. I always get so excited thinking about how I plan to grow, but I never really follow through.

But, a few days later, in my Christian Vocations class, my teacher kept giving us readings about “mental prayer,” and I just felt this subtle tug from God, pulling me closer to Him. I know it was no coincidence that, as I was struggling to make time for God, we spent days talking about the importance of persevering in our prayer lives. In my time of idle nothingness, God continued to look out for me and remind me of His desire to know me. In James 1:12, he writes “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”

So, what I encourage you all to do is to just keep going. No matter how tired you are, how you’d rather be watching Netflix or listening to music on your way to school, stop and give a few minutes of your time to God because He gives all of His time to you, all the time. It doesn’t have to be perfect. God has no standard and doesn’t expect you to be a saint who gives every waking second to Him. Just be raw; be you and make an effort to let Him know how wonderful He is because He deserves that much.

As this Lenten season continues and you haven’t yet made a commitment to God, it’s never too late to start. Making small sacrifices each day is enough for God, and even just a few minutes a day will allow you to grow in your relationship with Him. Baby steps are steps, nonetheless, and could be the turning point in your faith life. So pick up your cross, no matter how small, and walk with Jesus through this Lenten season to a place of newness and love that you can only find in Him.