Hope Reflected

Encouragement and Hope from God's Word

prayer Archive



March 2022

Preparation for Easter: A Primer on Lent

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What is Lent?

Lent represents the number 40 and means 40th day. Lent is taken from the Latin term quadragesima. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

I’m glad you asked. Lent is a season in the Christian liturgical calendar that remembers the 40 days Jesus spent in the desert fasting. You can read more about Jesus being tested in the desert in the Gospels: Matthew 4, Mark 1, Luke 4.

In present day, Lent is the 40 days (not including Sundays) that start Ash Wednesday through to the Saturday before Easter.

During Lent, participants will often fast, giving up specific foods (or alcohol) or activities that they would usually enjoy. You may be familiar with “Fat Tuesday” which is the feast or celebration (a time to indulge) right before Lent starts on Ash Wednesday.

Why is Lent celebrated or practiced?

Lent observes the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness, where He was tempted of the devil and He fasted. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

Lent is a time of preparation and reflection leading up to Easter. Lent is practiced in an effort for Christians to get their hearts right and follow Christ’s example.

Who should participate?

While it is not limited to Catholics and Christians, usually those who believe in Jesus and follow Him participate in Lent.

During the 40 days (not including Sundays) leading up to Easter, we prepare our hearts by reflecting on Christ's example. Read more about Lent on hopereflected.com

How do you participate?

While there is no official sign up sheet, many churches make arrangements in the weeks leading up to Lent to help people prepare their hearts and minds for the Lent season.

Fasting and reflection help to focus our hearts on the greatest sacrifice, Christ's powerful and selfless gift of salvation, and His ultimate sovereignty. Read more on hopereflected.com

During Lent, people may choose to study specific parts of the Bible, read books or devotionals that help them to reflect on the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

Questions about Lent? Drop your question in the Comments section below!

Looking for appropriate devotional materials leading up to Easter? Please read Hope Reflected’s Easter Reflections!



September 2021

One of the most practical ways we can help

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer. Read more at hopereflected.com

“I pray for you every night.”

Some of the most encouraging words are when someone shares that they are praying for you. Prayer offered up on the behalf of another is powerful. Paul wrote in 1 Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”. Jesus is our greatest example of interceding prayer, when He prayed for us, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9). My Grandmother once wrote of this verse, “This means Christ prayed for me that day.” Consider this: If you are a Christian, then Christ has interceded for you. He has spoken your name to God the Father and taken your needs before Him. What a thought!

Interceding prayer is purposeful and persistent

Take Abraham’s prayer for Sodom, for example. We’re told in Genesis 18 that Abraham stood before the Lord, and “drew near” (v. 23). He wasn’t aloof, he didn’t head with the other men toward Sodom; he purposefully drew near to the Lord and prayed. He pleaded with the Lord on Sodom’s behalf. Abraham was both engaged and confident that the Lord would hear him. Matthew Henry said, “In the word God speaks to us; in prayer we speak to him… God’s word then does us good when it furnishes us with matter for prayer and excites us to it.” When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another?

When was the last time we were excited for prayer, especially praying for one another? Read more at hopereflected.com

Understand one another’s needs and requests

My niece and nephew have been praying specifically for months that our baby will sleep through the night, and the Lord hears their prayers. When we see God working, that should excite us to pray more! Interceding prayer is personal and particular. An example of this is the prayer of Abraham’s servant in Genesis 24, and David’s prayer for his son Solomon in 1 Chronicles 29. David prays that the Lord will give Solomon “a perfect heart, to keep thy commandments… and to build the palace,” (v. 19). Matthew Henry said, “God’s providence extends itself to the smallest occurrences and admirably serves its own purposes by them.” God cares about each and every detail, so we ought to be particular when we’re praying for one another. Sometimes the very things we think don’t matter, matter to God.  

When we pray - for one another, for our community, for our country, - God hears. Read more at hopereflected.com

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,”

James 5:16

Interceding prayer is powerful. In Exodus 17, when Amalek fought with the children of Israel, Moses stood on the top of the hill and prayed. When Moses held up his hand, Israel prevailed, and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed (v. 11). Aaron and Hur interceded and helped hold up Moses’s hands and Israel ultimately triumphed. When we pray – for one another, for our community, for our country – God hears. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” James wrote in his eponymous epistle (James 5:16). Prayer is one of the most powerful and practical ways that we can help each other.

Originally published as “One of the most practical ways we can help.” Independent Plus. April 15, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



August 2021


Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

The Bible says "and it came to pass," It did not come to stay! God is with us. Read more at hopereflected.com

We are living in some dark days. People are plagued with anxiety and stress, and are grappling with grief. It’s easy to caught up in our circumstances; just look around.

It came to pass

What’s not easy during times of distress is remembering that this season will end. Throughout the Bible we read, “And it came to pass,” – it’s been said before that these words can act as a reminder that everything comes to pass, it does not come to stay! Dark days can be daunting, discouraging, and demoralizing, but God, even in our darkest days, is still with us. Even when we think He is being silent, even when we think He is not near, and even when we think He doesn’t know what’s going on.

“God, even in our darkest days, is still with us.”

Hope Reflected

God is our source of light

“For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD God will enlighten my darkness.” (Psalm 18:28). David penned this psalm after Saul’s death (we think we’re living in difficult times; for a reality check, read about Saul and David’s tumultuous relationship in 1 Samuel). Being relieved of someone who tried multiple times to kill him wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Being crowned king wouldn’t enlighten David’s darkness. Only the Lord could enlighten David’s darkness. To what, to whom, and where are we looking to light our candle? No person, no place, no possession can do it for us; only God can enlighten our darkness. He is our source of light.

Where do we find light when we’re having trouble seeing in the dark? “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.” (Psalm 19:8). Similar to another psalm he wrote (Psalm 119), David uses Psalm 19 to praise the virtues of God’s Word. Among them, “enlightening the eyes”. Cheer and comfort, commandment and correction, everything we need to navigate the darkness can be found in God’s Word.

“I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.”

C.S. Lewis

The Power of Prayer

We can also find light for our darkest days through prayer. Yes, to the tired soul it may sound trite, but it is true. When we pray, we understand that the eyes of our understanding are enlightened (Ephesians 1:18). Prayer should always be a priority, but it’s a misconception that our prayers must always be pretty and put together. When we come before Him, He sees every tear we cry. God doesn’t merely comfort us; He collects our tears and keeps track of them (Psalm 56:8). Our Lord knows every thought, even the ones we don’t acknowledge to Him (Psalm 139:2). Even when we can’t speak, God hears every groan (Exodus 2:24, Psalm 6:6). C.S. Lewis wrote that, “I believe in Christ like I believe in the sun, not because I can see it, but by it I can see everything else.” Getting closer to God is of utmost importance at all times, even when we find ourselves in dark days. Jesus promises, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12).

Originally published as “Illumination.” Independent Plus. February 18, 2021: 5. Print. Web.



June 2019

The Necessity of Prayer

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Prayer does not change God, it changes us. Prayer is action.

Through our prayers – through Christ – we open ourselves up to new opportunities for contentment, focus, forgiveness, hope, trust, peace, provision, transformation, glorifying God, and growing deeper in our relationship with Him.

It’s easy to see the consistency in Christ’s character as we look at His life through each Gospel account in the New Testament. During His ministry here on earth, Jesus lived a life filled with action – He didn’t just speak life; He showed us how to live life by His example, including teaching us how to pray.

In Luke 11, the disciples ask our Lord to teach them how to pray, and He responds, “When ye pray, say…” and goes on to pray what we recognize today as the Lord’s prayer.

Now, I realize that there are some who don’t believe that prayer is action or relative to our character – perhaps because not every body sees it or perhaps because it can take time before we see results – however it’s important to remember that prayer is action, and it is relative to our character. Prayer is a surrender of our own abilities and power, and the realization and recognition that it is not our prayers that are making changes – it’s Who we’re praying to that makes changes. Jesus knew this, and we see His reverence toward God in how He prayed.

He addressed God as Father. “Our Father which art in heaven,” (Luke 11:2). Wes recently finished a book called “Father Hunger,” by Douglas Wilson, in which Wilson addresses the importance of fathers. While I haven’t read it myself, the book explores the impact that fathers – or a lack thereof – have on us as society as well as us relating to our heavenly Father. God is our Father, and the ultimate Father at that. He provides all our provisions; He satisfies all our needs and wants. He loves us more than our earthly Fathers ever could.

Jesus also sought time alone to pray. “And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23). Jesus purposefully set time out in His day to be alone to pray. “And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed.” (Luke 5:16) “And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.” (Mark 6:46). While you can pray anywhere, anytime, seeking time alone and away from distractions can help you concentrate as you still your heart before the Lord.

Beyond seeking time alone, Jesus taught us that in our prayers, we should give thanks to God. We should give thanks when God answers and hears our prayers, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth…” (Matthew 11:25). We should give thanks before we eat, as Jesus taught us at the feeding of the five thousand, “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks…”. We should give thanks in every thing, as Paul did from Christ’s example in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.

Time spent in prayer is one of the most important parts of life. As C.S. Lewis once said, “I pray because the need flows out of me all the time – waking and sleeping. Prayer does not change God – it changes me.”

Originally published as “The Necessity of Prayer.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate, Walkerton Herald-Times. February 7, 2019: 6. Print. Web.



May 2019


Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work

Perseverance is not for the faint of heart

Perseverance: "Run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1) | see more at hopereflected.com

Right now in our devotions, Wes and I are reading through the book of Genesis and history of Joseph. Widely remembered for his longsuffering, his forgiving spirit, and his strong faith, Joseph is an excellent example of perseverance.

By this point in the New Year, many people who have made New Year’s resolutions have already given up on them. As humans, we have a tendency to start out strong and enthusiastic towards our goals, only to get distracted by other priorities, or even laziness. We lose sight of – or maybe aren’t even sure of – our reason why we started in the first place.

Joseph isn’t the only figure in the Bible who gives us a great example of perseverance; his father Jacob also provides an excellent framework around what it is to be patient, as does Esther, Ruth, David, Hannah, and many others.

When you’re tempted to give up because you’re not seeing progress, or you just don’t get the point, don’t lose heart! That is precisely the time when you must keep going. God acts on behalf of those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:4). Perseverance is as much about patience as it is about waiting well. Perseverance requires work, and if you don’t think waiting is work, then you’re likely not doing it right.

From credit cards and food to cell phones and the internet, we want everything now. Living in a society where everything is instant means that learning the value of true perseverance can be difficult.

As Christians living in today’s world, it can be wearying to hear about the injustices happening all around us, but we must persevere. We are called to let our light shine before others (Matthew 5:16), we are called to let His light shine and be the difference. When we know the right thing to do and we don’t do it, that’s called sin (James 4:17). One of the best ways you can help your Christian brothers and sisters to persevere is to pray. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” (Ephesians 6:18). You can also persevere by being courageous (Psalm 27:14). It can be difficult to persevere when you feel like you’re alone, but remember, you are not alone. “Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass.” (Psalm 37:7). Perseverance is not for the faint of heart; remember, we are to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1). “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9). As Oswald Chambers once said, “Perseverance is more than endurance. It is endurance combined with absolute assurance and certainty that what we are looking for is going to happen.”

Originally published as “Perseverance.” Minto Express, Independent Plus, Arthur Enterprise-News, Mount Forest Confederate. January 31, 2019: 6. Print. Web.



October 2017



September 2017

Hope Reflected | Encouragement | Zechariah 10:1

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Encouragement

"Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain." Zechariah 10:1 | See more at hopereflected.com

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1

Here’s what Matthew Henry has to say about this beautiful passage of scripture, Zechariah 10:1.

“Spiritual blessings had been promised under figurative allusions to earthly plenty. Seasonable rain is a great mercy, which we may ask of God when there is most need of it, and we may look for it to come. We must in our prayers ask for mercies in their proper time. The Lord would make bright clouds, and give showers of rain. This may be an exhortation to seek the influences of the Holy Spirit, in faith and by prayer, through which the blessings held forth in the promises are obtained and enjoyed.”

How often do we not receive from the Lord because we don’t take the time in prayer to humbly approach the Lord and ask?

Ask ye of the Lord.

As you head into this week, remember that God is with you. Whenever you’re ready to start a conversation with Him, He’s ready to hear you.

“Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.” Zechariah 10:1



August 2016

Wednesday Wisdom: The Power of Prayer

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Wednesday Wisdom: Max Lucado Prayer Quote

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One Who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.” Max Lucado

You may not always feel like praying, but God is always ready to listen to your prayers. At times, prayer may not seem convenient; it may not seem necessary, but it is. We don’t always realize the significance and importance of praying, especially when things are going well. We ought always to give God thanks and share our gratitude for His blessings, and to bring our concerns, worries, anxieties, hopes, fears, and requests to Him. But do we always? The answer is, unfortunately, no.

Why is it that quite often we view prayer as a last effort, rather than a proactive practice? Each of us has heard (and possibly used) the statement, “All we can do now is pray!” No! Prayer should be the first thing we do. First thing in the morning, and last thing at night, and at all points in between. Not just when we need something. Prayer is about more than just selfish requests. It’s about recognizing the Lord as our hope, joy, trust, relying on Him, putting our faith in Him, leaning on Him for grace, mercy, healing, understanding, comfort, peace, and company.

Here are some 15 great Bible verses about prayer:

  • “My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.” Psalm 5:3
  • “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.” Psalm 42:8
  • “I call upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place.” Psalm 118:5
  • “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.” Psalm 145:18
  • “Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.” Jeremiah 29:12
  • “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” Jeremiah 33:3
  • “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7
  • “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” Matthew 21:22
  • “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” Romans 12:12
  • “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hears and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
  • “Continue in prayer, and watch int he same with thanksgiving.” Colossians 4:2
  • “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
  • “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16
  • “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16
  • “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us.” 1 John 5:14




September 2014

Hope, She Wrote: Alleviating Anxiety

Written by , Posted in Christian Living, Published Work, Uncategorized


Competing priorities between work and family. Too much to do and not enough time to do it. A bunch of bills to pay, and they never seem to stop. Broken hearts, disagreements, and other relationship issues. Wars waging and people suffering the whole world over – seems like there’s always something out there to worry about.

As long as we’re human, each one of us will worry in some way or another. It’s unavoidable. And while my worries may not be the same as the next person’s, that doesn’t make them any less legit. The problem is when you let worry consume you. Especially in today’s fast-paced world, more people seem to be carrying the weight of worry and anxiety than ever before. If you’re suffering in silence, talk to someone. Don’t let worries fester or hide them inside because you’re afraid you might be judged. I guarantee that there is someone out there who can relate, and sometimes an outside perspective can help you refocus.

According to Strong’s Concordance, the word ‘worry’ comes from the Greek merimnáö, which translated means, “a part, as opposed to the whole”. Authour Max Lucado defines worry like this: “Worry cleaves the mind, splitting thoughts between today and tomorrow. Today stands no chance against it. Fretting over tomorrow’s problems today siphons the strength you need now, leaving you anemic and weak.” When we worry, we’re not doing ourselves any favours (just the opposite, really). Worrying about your circumstances or situations never makes things better; in fact, it can actually make things worse.

So how can we worry less and have more peace? While there’s no shortage of how-to guides out there, here are a few practical ways I find helpful in my daily quest to “fret not”:

  • Pray about it. I get that not everybody believes in prayer, but for me, it is a very real thing. Also, the simple act of keeping a gratitude list can work wonders. “Count your blessings, name them one by one” – that old Bing Crosby song isn’t just for Christmas, it’s something we can put into practice everyday! You’d be surprised how much worry can be watered down when you recall how blessed you are.
  • Don’t dwell too much on the past. Or the future. I had a ten-year plan, which has become a seven-year plan – those of you who know me, know I talk about “the plan” in jest; but the truth is, I really am a planner! While it’s responsible to plan and make accommodations for the future, there’s a big difference between being responsible and fretting about the future. Letting your mind move back to the past or forward too far in the future means you aren’t able to put your all into today (see the aforementioned Greek meaning of the word ‘worry’).
  • Talk about it, and look out rather than in. Communication and conversation are two important keys to alleviating anxiety. Bottling anything up inside isn’t healthy, and if you have a confidant you can trust, sometimes sharing your worries can lessen them. Also, don’t spend too much time wallowing in self-analysis or self-pity. Get out and help someone. Put your energy into encouraging another individual rather than dwelling on yourself.

“Don’t worry about it” is a famous last phrase, but putting those words into action can be incredibly challenging. Worrying doesn’t give you any more control over your current circumstances; it only strips you of your joy in the present moment. Each day is a new opportunity to challenge ourselves to overcome our anxieties; we just have to make the choice!

Robertson, Hope. “Alleviating Anxiety.” Minto Express 27 August 2014: 5. Print.