Hope to Carry On: March 21, 2024

Lenten Devotional Book 2024

Read: Hebrews 5:5-10

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications …” – Hebrews 5:7a

I am not a pray-er (one who prays). That is, I am not much given to praying. At least not in the conventional sense. I struggle to keep my mind clear and quiet, so times of praying are, for me, a struggle. I enjoy the Lord’s Prayer, of course. I love the prayers and collects of our liturgy. I thank God that people have collected these wonderful, deep, theologically sound, and astute prayers over the years.

I find them helpful. I love that there are words I can use when I have no words of my own. I have prayed, of course. I do pray. But they never feel adequate. A friend of mine died the other day. He lived in another part of the country, so we hadn’t seen one another in several decades. But we stayed in touch via social media. He suffered from a wide variety of ailments, both physical and mental. But he never gave up on life. Every day was a new day for him. “Once more into the breach,” he would say. His life was a prayer, as much as his words.

Anything I had to say to his friends and family paled in comparison to what my heart was saying, feeling, thinking, wanting. What comforts me, though, is that God knows our hearts and minds. What’s more, Jesus continues to offer up prayers and supplications for us and on our behalf. I don’t think that was just “in the days of his flesh.” I think that’s true in the here and now, and that is one of the things that gives me hope to carry on. My desire is for my life to be the prayer my mouth wants to share.

Dear God, help me to live my life with dignity and respect. Help me to honor those who have gone before. Help me not to just find hope and love, but to be a living example of hope and love – both of which I have in You. Amen.
-Fr. Keith Axberg