To prepare myself this lent, I decided to start this 40 day lenten devotion. Starting Ash Wednesday till Easter Sunday, I will be writing a simple prayer/reflection that is based on a verse from the bible or gospel reading of the day. I will be sharing them here with you in the hope that these will help you in your own lenten preparation as well. This list will be updated daily.
1. “Lead me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.” (Psalms 115:35) May my heart always finds its way to you my Lord, for there is where true joy lies.
2.”If you wish to be a follower of mine, deny yourself and take up your cross each day, and follow me.”(Luke 9:23)—Reading the gospel today reminds me of the late Fr. Lisa, former chaplain of Paref Woodrose. He used to say, “With joy, not a single day without the cross.” St. Josemaria Escriva explained it as a day without a cross is a day without God. Our own cross that we bear with so much love, strength, and grace is what keeps us close to the Father. And as we carry this cross, this burden, and follow Him everyday, we’ll be surprised at just how easily His own cross takes it all and how abundant his shower of blessings is on us in return.
3. “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:10) Dear Jesus, I know that the “little deaths” I experience as I bear my own cross everyday are nothing compared to your own sufferings on the cross. In your grace, may I always find the strength to overcome adversities and through the light of my own faith, see them as opportunities to love and glorify you.
4. “Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands.” (1 Timothy 2:8)—Prayer makes us closer to the Lord. It is in prayer that we cultivate a grateful and a giving heart as well as a heart that desires to give up wordly things for the Lord. Prayer puts meaning and joy into fasting and almsgiving. Without prayer, they merely become actions we do out of tradition. This lent, lets persist in praying. #threepillarsoflent
5. “Let all that you do be done with love” (1 Corinthians 16:14)—Lord, help me find ways to show your love.
6. “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.” (Isaiah 49:16)—The hardest question that’s often asked of me is, “How did you get over the pain of losing your husband to death? I am always at a loss for answers when people asked me that because honestly, painful isn’t the word I would use to describe it. I wasn’t screaming or crying because it hurt all over. When it happened, I felt the opposite instead. I felt numbed all over. Loneliness and sadness to this day yes, but pained never. Maybe because the Lord in His wisdom, wrote my name on the palm of His hand even before I came to be. He did so such that when this tragedy finally strikes me, the pain from the wounds that his hands incurred from being nailed down would already be enough to save me from unbearable heartache. He took my pain with Him when He suffered and died on the cross such that I would never feel burdened by it forever.
7. “Your Father knows what you need, even before you ask Him.” (Matthew 6:8)—Dear God, thank you for always anticipating my needs..for lining up solutions to my problems even before I bring them to you…for being one step ahead of me all the time…for blessing me with so much more…Knowing that you hold my future, that you have complete control of my life, brings me peace.
8. “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me in quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)—Dear God, life is tough but, you and I together are tougher. Thank you for getting me through anything and for providing me with the strength I need during times when I feel like I’ve nothing left. I am grateful for your showers of miracles and blessings everyday. They assure me of your presence. I also appreciate your staying with me even long after the storms in my life have passed to do much greater things. You have kept your promise of a life made victorious on the coss. In return, I pledge to keep my heart turned towards you always and to speak only of nothing but faith and victory.
9. “Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth!” (Psalm 86:11)—Dear God, teach me wisdom that I may strive to understand and respond to others only with kindness and respect. Help me grow in maturity that I may to learn to accept others’ preferences, choices, faith, and beliefs even when they run contrary to mine. Show me the way of humility that I may learn not to force my own or insist that mine is better than rest. Amen.
10. “Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act.” (Psalm 30:7)—Dear Lord, teach me patience so I may learn to joyfully wait for your answers to my prayers. Show me the beauty in waiting so that my faith and trust in your own perfect plan and timing will continue to blossom and grow.
11. “So you see, a person is justified by works, and not by faith alone.” (James 2:24)—Dear God, I know that more than hearing me profess my faith, what will bring you true joy is seeing me transform my faith into actions. Do bless me with your grace so that I may continuosly give life to this faith by doing good deeds that will help, inspire, and touch others.
12. “Create in me a clean heart, O God.” (Psalm 51:10)—Dear God, strip me of bitterness, stubborness, laziness, anger, and pride. Teach me instead the way of love, compassion, obedience, patience, and humility so I may become like you.
13. “Let the greatest among you be the servant of all.” (Matthew 23:12)—Over the years, I have met a lot of people who have made it their business to help. People who would graciously and generously offer their time, skills, knowledge, and expertise simply because doing so makes them happy and also because they genuinely care. I’m thinking that if all of us would just transform ourselves into this kind of people, we wouldn’t see a thousand different faces in the crowd. Instead, everywhere we look we would only see one face, that of God’s.
14. “She said, “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” (Matthew 20:21)—Dear God, may I fully learn to entrust my fate and surrender my future in Your hands.
15. “Blessed is the man who puts his trust in Yahweh and whose confidence is in him!” (Jeremiah 17:7)—Dear God, I oftentimes give in to fear especially when things I cannot understand or control happens. I tend to forget that I only have to call on you and blessings and graces will come marching right down in front of me from heaven. When I am beset with worries, bless me with the eyes of faith so that I may always see you at work in everything. When I am consumed with fear, calm my restless heart so I may find rest in your unfailing love. Amen.
16. “What we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” (Romans 8:18) Dear God, may we learn to find joy in the midst of sorrow and peace in the midst of suffering. May we always see our cross as our way to heaven and our opportunity to live and receive your graces. Amen.
17. The father said, “My son, you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But this brother of yours was dead, and has come back to life; he was lost, and is found. And for that we had to rejoice and be glad.” (Luke 15:32)—Dear God, no matter how frequent we break your heart by sinning and falling into temptation, you still contine to love us. Nothing seems to make you love us less. Your love indeed is the only one that is perfect. It remains constant, unchanging, endless, and complete even if at times we are underserving. Thank you for being that amazing.
18. “God called him from the middle of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!” (Exodus 1:13)—Dear God, if there is one thing I learned from the story of Moses, it is that you certainly have a plan for each one of us and that there’s really no getting away from that plan. You will eventually call us and use us for greater things and purpose. Let your spirit drone out the voice of worries, self-doubts, and fears in our heads then so that when you call us to lead or do what you have set our hearts to do, we can boldly and FaithFULLy say YES to you like Moses.
19. “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30)—Dear Lord, when I start to compare myself with others, please send your Holy Spirit to stop me from doing so. It is because I realized that if this will always be the case, even the big things that I or others do will never be enough to make me happy. Remind me instead to use only you as my measure, to approximate my thoughts, words, and actions with that of yours so I will always stay humble, content, and grounded unto you. You are greater than me and I am nothing next to You.
20. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways, says Yahweh. For just as heavens are above the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts.” (Isiah 55:8-9) —Dear God, I can never out think you. I can never figure out the plans you have for me. No matter how much I demand, dictate, or insist on something in prayer, if it is not what You want for me, it will never happen. This is why I constantly ask you to bless me with the grace to accept and embrace your will as my own so I may learn to take delight in your wisdom and ways.
21.”On the other hand, whoever obeys my commands, and teaches others to do the same, will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:19)—Dear Jesus, I often wonder why in the gospels, you always implore your disciples to follow you right away, like the time you commanded them to lower down the nets even if they adamantly told you that there’s hardly any fish in the sea. Now, I understand. Had the disciples refused to lower the nets and depended only on their own understanding, they would’ve missed the great catch that awaited them. You are always insistent when it comes to our obedience because you do not want us to miss God’s blessings. Please show us your way then Jesus so that we may know how to quickly respond with obedience at the Lord’s promptings.
22. “Walk in the way I command you and all will be well with you.” (Jeremiah 7:23)—Dear God, please continue to bless me with an obedient heart that longs to please you so that I may continue to live the blessed life that you have promised. Amen.
23. “You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11)–Dear God, I woke up today with the same set of problems and worries. The pile of work that I need to finish did not disappear overnight like how I wished they would, and my family and life struggles still remain. But for some weird reason and despite all these, I woke up feeling happy. If this is what it means to live in your grace Lord, with gladness, I look forward to everyday. Thank you.
24. “Let us strive to know Yahweh.” (Hos 6:3)—Dear God, sometimes we get lucky and meet friends who’ll make us feel like we just had the best conversation with you after being around them. It is because when they speak of the faith, their words ring with sincerity, wisdom, and truth. They live out the faith with so much passion also, they radiate joy. I just want to say thank you Lord for blessing my life with this kind of friends. Friends who help me grow in faith, and make me appreciate and love you.
25. “Whenever you feel unloved, unimportant, or insecure, remember to whom you belong.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)—Dear God, you’ve been attentive and faithful to my every need, how can I not feel loved by you?! When I feel small and insignificant, your grace moves me to do great things. When I feel discouraged, your spirit fills me with joy. When I feel worthless, I only have to look at you on the cross and I’m reminded of my value. Your sufferings and death alone show just how important I am to you. Clearly, I belong to you and for that, you have my heart forever
26. She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness. She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness. Her children stand and bless her. Her husband praises her.” (Proverbs 31:25-28)—Dear God, with your grace make me into this kind of woman everyday. Firm yet loving. Strong yet compassionate. Fearless yet wise. Gentle yet tough. Turn me into this kind of woman who is not afraid to fully embrace triumph and defeat, and joy and sadness in her life. Inspire me to be this kind of woman who deliberately work at creating for her family a home of quiet refuge, where faith, hope, love, and charity thrive.
27. “Unless you see signs and wonders, you will not believe.” (John 4:48)—Dear God, teach me to find miracles in the mundane and ordinary so I won’t have to demand big things from you before I believe in your capacity to meet my needs. Train my eyes to see the blessings that you so generously give everyday so I won’t need convincing of how a great a Father you are to me. Open my heart and mind so that I may understand that the wonders and signs of your love aren’t always spectacular. In fact, it is nothing but simple and poignant, you dying on the cross to save us.
28. “Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” (Ephesians 4:2)— Dear God, teach me how to demonstrate love in big and small ways. Teach me how to value people the same way you value me. Teach me how to show genuine mercy and compassion towards others so they may always see and feel your love through me.
29. “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)—Dear God, help raise a visionary child. Help me mold my daughter into the kind of person who can dream big things, desire good things, and do great things not only for herself but for others as well. Bless me with your grace so I will be able set good examples to her on how to be God-seeking instead of self-seeking in her pursuit of happiness and success in life.
30. “Led by mistaken reasons they think, “Life is short and sad, and there’s no cure for death.” (Wisdom 2:1a)—Dear God, when Nan died I was so consumed with grief I thought I will never be happy again. I’m grateful that you’ve met every occassion of sorrow in my life with grace until there’s nothing left for me to feel but joy in your presence. Thank you for making me see everyday that though life is short by human standards, every second of it is still worth living and that the cure for death is simply a whole lot of prayers and faith.
31. “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7)—Dear God, train my eyes so I will learn to see the beauty in others. Train my tongue so I will learn to speak only the language of love and respect. Train my mind so I will have nothing but good thoughts about others. Train my heart so I will learn to forgive and understand easily their shortcomings and mistakes. When I thread the path of self-righteousness, Lord, let your Holy Spirit enlighten and lead me back to you.
32. “You know all things even before they come to be.”(Dn 13:2)— Dear God, you clearly own my tomorrow. I have complete trust in your great design for me. I know you always have my best interest at heart. You’ve brought me this far so I am sure that you have prepared a bright future for me as well and that, you’ll take me even farther than my hopes and dreams.
33. “Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.” (Psalm 116:2) Dear God, when I want to do little else but pull my hair out or throw my hands up in the air in frustration, I am glad there’s always heaven to look up to and you to call on. Thank you for being my 24/7 hotline and lifeline.
34. “As for God, his way is perfect.” (Psalm 18:30) Dear God, amazing how everything falls into place when it is your plan. I’m sorry if I allowed doubt to creep in and fear to grip my heart when I was trying to work things out on my own. Forgive me because I tend to forget sometimes that I need not do things alone because I always have you to run to.
35. “The Lord is my strength and my shield, in whom my heart trust.” (Psalm 27:6)—Dear God, thank you for turning my battlescars into victory marks. Wounded, blessed, loved, and healed. That’s me after you took over my fights.
36. “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14)— Dear God, today I realized that even the little things that you called me to do have meaning and purpose. And that, when done with the same amount of love and effort as the big important tasks, they become my simple yet significant way of loving and glorifying you.
37. “Faith is the way, and all is given, by grace.”(Romans 4:16)—Dear God, my faith is what allows me to move forward despite life’s many setbacks, and your grace is what connects and propels me to the greater things that you have in store for me. Thank you for the gifts of faith and grace, I’m truly blessed beyond measure.
38.”He humbled himself by being obedient to death, death on the cross.” (Philippians 2:7)—Dear God, today I realized that what will bring me to heaven is not so much the gravity or weight of my own cross but the way I carry it with so strength, cheerfulness, and grace. Make me like Jesus Lord so I may learn to lovingly accept and embrace my own cross everyday.
39. “Though the Lord gave you adversity for food and suffering for drink, he will still be with you to teach you. You will see your teacher with your own eyes.” (Isaiah 30:20)—Dear God, though it may seem like I’ll never recover from the blows of life, I realized that I can. I can heal from the ache, bounce back from the hurt, and get up from a fall. If I just draw near you, if I just live under your shadow and bask in your light, I can.
40. “I went to those who were not looking for me, I was found by those who sought me not.” (Isaiah 65:1)—Dear Jesus, there are times when a cross appears without my looking for it. When this happens may I recognize that it is you seeking me out. May I learn to fully embrace this cross and offer my own “little deaths” on it for your glory. May I learn to serve and save others in my own unique way as well and make your death on the cross truly worth it everyday.
41. “And whoever does not take up his cross and follow me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:38)—Dear God, thank you for making me realize that, though the cross often signifies death and suffering, it actually means so much more. A shot at heaven, a chance at my own resurrection, and a way to show my deep love for You. So even if my cross is heavy, even if it pains me, I will try my cheerful best to embrace it with open arms, close to my heart. Truly, my cross is sweet because if I allow it, it will open a lot of opportunities for me to live and receive your graces.
42. “O all you that pass by the way, look and see, was there ever a sorrow to compare with my sorrow.” (Lamentation 1:12)—Dear Mama Mary, I never really knew how painful it was for you to see Jesus suffer on the cross until I stood beside the recovery bed of my own suffering child after her surgery. My sorrow even then was nothing compared to your sorrow. As I watched my child cry in pain, my heart broke into a thousand pieces. I can only imagine what your own heart must have felt like seeing your own child die on the cross to save us. As I venerate the cross today Mama Mary, I venerate you as well for giving birth and raising our reedemer, our savior, Jesus Christ. You are the perfect example of deep courage, humility, and trust. May I learn to be a perfect handmaid of the Lord like you. May I learn to carry grief and sorrow gracefully, and may I learn to submit myself and surrender my child graciously to the will of God like you.
43. “But the men said, “Why look for the living among the dead? You won’t find him here. He is risen.” (Luke 24:1)—Dear God, your easter message is not lost to us. There is no easter surprise like what the easter egg hunt or some easter bunny has been claiming about only an easter promise fullfilled. The promise of a new beginning after that somber ending. We will make sure to rejoice in that.
44. “The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said. They fell to their knees, embraced his feet, and worshiped him.” (Matthew 28:8-9)—Dear Jesus, I am still able to smile despite difficulties because you, my Lord and my Savior, has shown me that at end of each season of suffering comes resurrection. Victory is indeed ours, thanks to you.
This ends my 40 day lenten devotion, thank you for praying with me. Happy Easter.☺️
Updated: March 27, 2016