Novena what is novena? is designating a spiritual devotion consisting of the recitation of a set form of prayer for nine consecutive days, in the petition for a divine favor or preparation for a liturgical feast, or as participation in an important event
Why pray a novena? We pray for novenas for a specific intention or grace, such as for a loved one, healing, forgiveness, clarity with a big decision, etc. However, they aren’t magic. We cannot assume that our prayers will be answered immediately. And, sometimes, what we pray for isn’t exactly what we need. Rather, we pray novenas to grow in patience and place our trust in God, just as the Apostles prayed in anticipation of the Holy Spirit coming to them.
We pray novenas to become disciples, growing in discipline and opening our hearts to God’s will. Whether our intention is answered or not, we finish the nine days in gratitude for God’s presence in our lives.
When do you pray a novena? Some novenas are prayed during specific times, such as the Divine Mercy Novena that begins on Good Friday. Traditionally, many people choose to pray novenas asking for a saint’s intercession on the nine days leading up to that saint’s feast day. If you’re praying before a sacrament or event, you’ll pray the novena for nine days before or after it. In truth, you really can pray a novena at any time. Novenas guide us to grow our trust in God — and that’s something we need in all seasons of life.
How to pray: A Novena Identify your intention. Before you commit to praying for nine days, take some time to consider what your intention is for prayer. Are you looking to prepare yourself for an event spiritually? Or pray for a loved one that is struggling? Maybe you’re simply looking for encouragement to develop a strong prayer habit. Remember: asking the Holy Spirit for guidance is never a bad idea.
After you’ve taken some time to prepare yourself for prayer, select a novena that matches your intention. This might be a prayer for that specific intention, or it might be a novena to a saint who is known and loved in the subject you’re struggling with or feeling gratitude for in this season of your life. Know that it doesn’t have to be a “perfect” fit; taking time each day to pray for a special intention will hopefully bring you clarity, and peace and guide you to put your trust in God.
Dedicate nine days. Once you start a novena, dedicate time each day to being present with God and pray it with Him. Sometimes staying on track is difficult. We recommend setting aside a specific time and setting a reminder on your phone (or in Hallow) or adding it to your calendar for the nine days. You might also consider asking someone to pray the novena with you to hold each other accountable.
Embrace the novena. When you set out on this prayer journey, try to embrace it each day fully. Each day might look a little different for you, but try to accompany your time in prayer with other acts of faith. This might be fasting from social media or gossip, or it could be doing a kind thing for someone else each day. Let these nine days of prayer transform you in more ways than just devoting the time to pray each day.
Be patient. Remember, novenas aren’t magic. If you come to the end of your novena and your prayers appear to be unanswered, know that God hears your prayers and loves you. And often, our prayers are not answered in the way we hoped. Ask for God’s help in trusting in Him and in desiring that He will be done.
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