[DAY 1] Gratitude

[NOTE FROM JESSICA: Go here for the archive of emails from the 9-Day Prayer Challenge: May 21-29, 2018].

Dear friends (old and new!),

Thank you again for your YES in coming together and praying in one accord for these next 9 days of prayer.


After today’s email, my goal is to send an email out in the early morning, so that you have some flexibility in choosing a specific time to pray during your day. (I promise the rest of my emails will not be this long.)

You are encouraged to pray at the same time everyday, hopefully in the same space whenever possible. I’ve heard setting an alarm on your phone is helpful. I like to light a candle. Do what you can to set yourself up for success.

I’ve found that limiting my time to 15 minutes (at the most!) makes it more likely for me to pray again the next day. Remember that prayer is a marathon, not a sprint.

I will be emailing a specific intention everyday to help focus our prayer, followed by some of my own thoughts and words from friends who share my passion for prayer.

Finally, you are invited to make this prayer your own (and if that means not reading everything I write, that’s okay!). I only ask that we commit to praying everyday for the next 9 days.

  • If you have a heart for worship, choose a song to listen to and let that be your prayer.
  • If you have experienced God’s grace in praying the Rosary or Chaplet of Divine Mercy, consider incorporating that into your prayer time.
  • If you have the gift of tongues, spend time exercising that gift.
  • If you experience God in meditation or centering prayer, do that.
  • My favorite way to pray these days is using the Ignatian Examen/Prayer of Awareness.

I say all of this because I have friends from all faith traditions and recognize that we each have our own unique voice in crying out to God. Do what gives you life. Full disclosure for those who don’t know me: I am a Catholic married to a Protestant, and so ecumenism and Christian unity are always at the forefront of my mind whenever I talk about my faith.

I think that’s it! Read on for the intention and reflection for Day 1.

INTENTION: Gratitude

Let us begin our 9 days of prayer together with gratitude:

  • For the gift of children, for the joy and playfulness that they bring to the world, for the way that they inspire/compel us to stretch and get out of our comfort zones, for the way they bring hope and light in times of darkness and great fear.
  • For the gift of today, that we were able to get up and roll out of bed, that in waking up this morning, it is a foreshadowing of the resurrection from the dead that is promised to all believers.
  • For this gift of community, that even though we may never meet face to face that, in stepping out in faith, we believe that the Spirit uses even email(!) to bring God’s people together.
  • For what are you grateful for?
REFLECTION: You are not alone.

I begin with this because it is often in times of despair that I find myself feeling the most fearful and isolated. May we recognize that the prayer we enter into for these next 9 days — the prayer for the healing and redemption of the world — is one that has been prayed by God’s people since the beginning of creation.

This prayer will continue long after our time together, and is one that we must continue to plant and sow in those that come after us. You are one among many saints and prophets who, in saying yes today, have come to recognize God’s voice to pray unceasingly.

Know that as you pray for these 9 days, you join 40 other people (and counting!) who have answered this call to prayer.

May God’s wisdom, courage, and the peace that passes all understanding be with each of us as we recognize that all is not lost.

“…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21).