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Food for the Soul: A Series of Lenten Meditations (Day 1-Day 10 )

Day 1 (Ash Wednesday)

Read Philippians 3:13.

I used to let my past failures and disappointments get me down. I used to return to old friends who used drugs, only to reactivate my own addiction. It's only since I've truly studied the Scriptures that I have been able to understand myself and the power of the Word that God promises. I pray that my past suffering and pain may be used to help others who are going through the same kinds of things.

Prayer: May God touch and heal all those people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and turn their suffering into a gift of hope for others to have new life.

Day 2
Read John 11:35.

How many times have you or I heard someone say that real men don't cry? I often wonder what non-feeling fool came up with this idea. Women are not the only ones allowed to have feelings and emotions, or the only ones allowed to express them. Feelings and emotions are such a small portion of our lives; yet, if we are to stay healthy, they cannot be suppressed or ignored. Besides that, I feel that 'if it weren't for the bad times, how would we know how good the good times are?'

No one can say that Jesus was not a real man because he cried. That would be one of the most ridiculous statements that anyone could make. Jesus was so human that he showed many different kinds of emotions. He even showed anger when be chased away the people out of the temple who were selling animals to be sacrificed. He also expressed love in many ways. Most importantly, when he gave up his life so that we may have life eternal. I'm glad to know that He cared enough for his friends that when he heard that Lazarus had died, "Jesus Wept."

Prayer: Thank you, Jesus, for loving us so much that you were able to come to earth in human form, to show us that it is not unmanly to express our feelings and emotions, caring enough to shed tears for a friend. AMEN.

Day 3
Read John 11:35.

When I was arrested, I knew God had brought me to this place to save my life. I had been what I would call a "convenient Christian." When it was convenient or I needed something from God, I would be a Christian. God was always there for me, but Satan always lured me away by making me feel that I would not be able to survive as a Christian in the world.

Then I came to prison. (Me, an upper class white woman with a college degree, having worked for a prosecutor who sent other people to jail!) Now, I had brought myself here! And while on my knees in county prison, I thanked God for saving me by showing me the truth about myself.

I have to spend one year and thirteen days in prison. When I got here, I could not imagine spending even one day, and now I have lived through 188 days. My last 6 months will be spent on work release. God showed me his love is unconditional and that the direction he has for my life comes in his time, not mine. For that I am thankful, Praise God!

Prayer: Thank you LORD for loving me unconditionally and for hearing my daily prayers that guide me to do your will, in Jesus' name. AMEN.

Day 4

When I was in county jail, I was waiting for my sentencing date. My lawyer and I had hoped for probation, but I was sentenced to 4 years. While I'm waiting for my parole date, I've been attending religious services of several denominations. I've taken several courses at the school and learned many things that I can use when I'm released. Then I plan to take more courses.

I've been in continuous touch with my brothers in Idaho, where I plan to live when I'm released. I'm also in touch with members of a church there.

Prayer: Lord, help us to rest in your promises and not to worry about our future. AMEN.

Day 5

I have many examples of having to wait for the consequences of my negative behaviors. Through most of my life, I have looked at this as punishment for my flaws. But as I get closer to God and turn to him in times of waiting and need, I have been shown how to learn, grow, and mature through my mistakes. Prayer has taught me to have positive expectations while I'm waiting, and also about the true nature of my wrongs.

At times, God can be our only friend while waiting. But being honest, in times of trouble, the thing I need most is a friend or someone to talk to. I can say the Lord is the best friend I have found.

God can show each of us the many things to give thanks for and also help us to know about rewards that waiting has brought to others in the past.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for helping me to learn while waiting, and for being my friend in times of need while I wait. AMEN.

Day 6
"Hasten, 0 God, to save me; 0 LORD come quickly to help me" (Psalm 70:1).

They say that "Patience is a virtue." But, I say patience is a process in this journey we call life. First, you hear that it's going to happen, and you're excited and anxious and nervous. You ask yourself, "What will I say? How will I look? Will it make sense?" All these questions, and more, run through your head while waiting.

The day comes for the event to happen, and you forget all you thought about. You keep that one moment in your mind; and play it over and over. And when it's over, you ask yourself, "What was I so nervous about?"

My father is coming to visit, and I haven't seen him for a year. I've learned that patience is my life now. I cannot live by the motto "God grant me Patience, but hurry!" Now I must believe that it will all come naturally, like it hasn't been that much time at all.

Prayer: God, thank you for giving me patience for my easiest times, and for my hardest times, throughout all my life. AMEN.

Day 7

Before last year, I had never taken part in Lent, but I gave something up. My decision to give something up was really for me to read several Bible passages each day and write them down.

As I did this, I found I had more kind words to give away to the female prisoners around me. It has been a struggle to remain strong in my faith with these prison walls and all the negative attitudes around me. But my list of strengths grew every time I picked up my pen. For I found that the Lord guided me to find his wisdom that he knew I needed to have.

Now, the end of my time here approaches. My faith is still intact and growing stronger with each gift of insight from God. I am blessed to be a part of his great plan. Patiently I wait, while I walk the path he leads me down.

Prayer: Dear Father, as your child, let the light of Jesus shine through me to all those I meet. AMEN.

Day 8

Since being in prison, I've finally learned the true meaning of waiting. I've learned to put my total trust in the Lord to get me through each day while I wait to be released.

Lying quietly in my cell each and every night, I poured my heart out to God for help, to give me patience, and most of all, the peace that passes all understanding. And I learned how to give everything to God and to ask him to answer my prayers in his time, and not my time. And to give me the faith to wait until my prayers are answered.

I also learned not to take my request back from God, or to try to solve things myself. Now, I know to leave my prayers with God each and every day, and sit back waiting faithfully for an answer.

Prayer: Lord, help me to step out in faith and to know wholeheartedly that my prayers will be answered. I thank you Lord, for as long as I have asked in Jesus' name, I know it shall be granted unto me. AMEN.

Day 9

Waiting, waiting on God for answered prayer, I have been in prison for 2 1/2 years on a 30-year sentence. So many times I have prayed that God would work a miracle and send me home now to be with my children. But, as I have been faithfully waiting for him to answer this prayer of my heart, God continues doing so much more in my life than I would have ever thought possible.

God is taking this time to build up my character into the exact mold that he has always had in mind for me. So waiting on the Lord is an honor and a blessing. Time doesn't even matter so much anymore, as long as I stay close to God. He is making me see things and people as God sees them.

Waiting, waiting on the Lord has made me realize that I am still not in charge, and never was, but now I am grateful for it. Of course, waiting is hard. It is very much like Christmas when you're a child. You wait for your parents to give the okay for you to dig into your pile of gifts. That's what it's like for me now waiting on God. I'm waiting, waiting for my heavenly Father to answer my prayer, another question, give me an instruction, or show me another new direction in my life.

But one thing I know I never have to wait on is his love. And God loves me exactly the way I am.

Prayer: Thank you, Father, for in waiting, I am still in your presence and I can watch you work. AMEN.

Day 10

After I got to prison, I was baptized and have been living for God every day. I asked him to show me the right way in life. But the devil has been trying to change me back to my old ways. So, I just keep asking God to help me out, and he has been a very real help. I know myself, I couldn't do it by myself.

Thank you Jesus. I trust you; I thank you.

Prayer: Dear God, you so loved the world that you gave your only begotten Son for me, to die for me so that I can give my life back to you and witness to your Word. AMEN.

Food for the Soul: A Series of Lenten Meditations
Copyright © 2003
Prison Congregations of America.
Used with permission.

Categories: Worship, Lent - Easter - Holy Week