Hope to Carry On: March 22, 2024

Lenten Devotional Book 2024

Read: Hebrews 5:5-10

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, He offered up prayers and petitions with fervent cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” –Hebrews 5:7

I am not a morning person. I know, I know. The rest of the world is, or so it seems to us non-morning persons. Early morning texts and phone calls. Knocks at the door. And me, still in my robe.

As early as high school, and continuing through college, I never started studying until 11 p.m. and often stayed awake past 2 a.m. Night owls, we’re called, those of us who thrive in the dark. Not surprisingly, I do my best writing late at night, too, cocooned at my desk with only owls and my imagination as company.

Night is also my unfettered prayer time. Because there is nowhere to go (except to bed), I linger over nightly prayers. Now that I have returned to the Roman Catholic Church, I have added the Examen of St. Ignatius of Loyola to my nighttime ritual:

—Give Thanksgiving
—Ask for the Spirit
—Review and Recognize Failures
—Ask for Forgiveness and Healing
—Pray about the Next Day

However we pray, we are called to pray without ceasing, and, although I fail miserably at this, I try to frame my days—and nights—with a prayerful heart. Jesus’s example in this passage reminds us that all our prayers—whether offered day or night—are heard (. . . and he was heard because of his reverent submission.)

And that sends chills up my spine. The Lord hears us.

Hear our prayers, O Lord. Amen.
-Ashley E. Sweeney