Lent 2023, Day 12: Prayers and Purpose.

Photo by Jack Sharp on Unsplash

We’re about two weeks into Lent, and perhaps, like me, you could use a little spiritual reinforcement. I found this list of daily devotions and short prayers on Public Theology by Reverend Ted Peters to be pretty helpful:

A Short Prayer for Each Day of Lent 2023

From Cross to Crown. An inescapable tension. In the Good Friday cross of Jesus we see how hostile to God the human race has become. But on Easter Sunday God raises Jesus from the dead and crowns him King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Christ’s crown announces the forgiveness of our sin and the redemption of all things in creation.

Ash Wednesday marks the first of forty days of discipline and devotion, as we meditate on what happened and thank God for divine grace in our lives. This 2023 Lenten season I recommend you engage with one Short Prayer per day, six days per week, until Easter.

Here’s an excerpt from today’s entry:

It was five minutes before noon on Saturday, May 28, 1977.  I had just conducted a funeral for Mrs. Violet Harmen and had left the cemetery outside New Orleans.  I recall driving down the interstate highway in the left hand lane at 55 miles per hour.

My mind was on the morning and the afternoon.  I was thinking about death and dying. I was thinking especially about the death of a pleasant elderly lady and the tears of anguish which I had just shared with her stalwart family.  I was also thinking about our own family plans to spend the afternoon swimming at the pool in the backyard of some friends.

The medium strip separating the two directions of interstate traffic is lined with large bushes.  I thought I was seeing some brush flying out of those bushes.  Then, suddenly, there was a flash of orange color and a loud smash.  Glass rained down upon me from a broken and spider-webbed windshield.

“Where did that blood come from,” I wondered, “there’s nobody else in here but me?”  Then I saw, of course, that I was I who was pumping the blood.  The shock had temporarily shut out the pain.

Calmly and silently I thanked God—paradoxically, in retrospect—for my safety.  Then strong arms went to work to pull open the car door and draw me out onto the grass.

Later I was told that the other driver had been on drugs, racing, going perhaps 80 miles per hour, lost control of his car, crossed the neutral ground, and hit me head on.  My car was taken to the junk yard, a total loss.  But I was far from being a total loss.

Photo by Clark Van Der Beken on Unsplash

“Fool!,” God says to the person who lays up treasure on this earth.  This night—this very next moment—might be the deadline, the moment when one’s soul is required.

And when our soul is taken, it goes alone.  No earthly treasure goes with it.  None of the money we have earned.  None of the community respect or national fame we have established.  None of our hobbies or habits.  None of our life’s accomplishments accompany us beyond death.  Whatever we have beyond the gates of death is what God will give us.  We are utterly impoverished and totally dependent upon God.

When reflecting on my accident and the close brush with death, I frequently ask myself:  why did God permit me to live?  I don’t know, really.  But I can speculate.  God has granted me an extension of life probably for the same reason God has let you the reader live:  namely, to serve one more day in love for other people and, thereby, to become rich toward God.


God of death and resurrection, help us to face our death with confidence while accepting our poverty before you, and thereby, become sources of richness in life for others. Amen.

  • You can buy Ted Peters book, Short Prayers, here.
  • Why short prayers? Mr. Peters explains here.
  • Listen to the “Our Father Prayer” in Aramaic, the language Jesus is believed to have spoken:

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