So often, I hear amazing stories from people who have just finished a novena. It seems the moment their nine days of prayer ends, a miraculous answer to their request appears. If it’s possible to be jealous of people praying, I often am. Not once has a novena I’ve prayed resulted in anything so inspiringly beautiful.
It leaves me wondering if maybe I didn’t pray hard enough. Or with enough intent. Or maybe my mind wandered somewhere in the middle of day 4 and God knew. Or I accidentally skipped a day, causing the novena to be null and void.
It would be frustrating if I believed that every time we pray we should expect an answer, but thankfully I don’t. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Garth Brooks Unanswered Prayers era hearing that “Just because he doesn’t answer, doesn’t mean he don’t care.”
Or maybe it’s because I’m Catholic, and believe that prayer is more than just throwing our requests up towards heaven and then waiting for the answer to shower down on us. Instead, I believe that the action of throwing our prayers up leaves us with our hands raised, volunteering to be a part of the response. That we are active participants in our prayers, not passive recipients.
Over the past nine days, I have prayed the Surrender Novena with @beaheart. I was hoping to have some clarity to life or a grand story to tell today, but instead I found something else. Peace.
The chaos of this past week has left me completely unfocused, jumping from news story to news story as I try to navigate our world, my community, our school plans, and (because I rarely go small) my entire purpose in life.
Today, the day after I completed the novena, instead of the constant buzz in my head, I feel peace. After nine days of repeatedly praying the words, “O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything,” it seems I finally believe that they are true.
Maybe that’s what novenas really are for some of us, a way to reconnect our hearts to God and get out of our heads.
Lucky for us, @beaheart saved this novena in her Instagram stories. Visit her page whenever you need a reminder that Jesus loves you fully and deeply and will take care of everything.