A novena is an ancient devotion in which you pray certain prayers for nine days for special graces, a specific intention, or in preparation for a feast day. Many people don’t understand the power of novenas but they are, indeed, very powerful. When people pray novenas, they don’t always receive specifically what they request, but they do always get an answer in some form.
9 Ways Novenas Can Help Us Overcome Disappointments
Recently, I completed two novenas that helped me greatly and have started a third one. The first novena provided me with clarity that I needed and the second novena gave me peace with a decision, so I do believe the third novena will be helpful as well.
In honor of the all the graces I received from the novenas I completed, here is a list of nine ways I believe novenas can help you overcome disappointments in life.
1. You learn to surrender your hopes.
You may have expectations about the results your novena will bring. But as you begin your novena, you learn to let go of those expectations and surrender your intentions to the Lord. You realize that the novena is supposed to change you and help you align your will with God’s will.
2. You grow in love of prayer.
If you didn’t have a great appreciation for prayer before, you will once you start a novena. Novenas require faith and the commitment to praying specific prayers for a certain period of time. You will start looking forward to praying the novena for your specific intention and your faith will also increase.
3. You gain a sense of humility.
You only get to the point of praying a novena when you recognize that you can only accomplish so much alone. You need the intercession of Saints and the help of God for things beyond your capabilities. You realize that you need to humble yourself to ask for help from above.
4. You start to trust God more.
In Luke 17:6, the Lord says:
If you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you may say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted, and be transplanted to the sea.’ And it would obey you.
When you pray a novena, your faith will allow you to start trusting more in God and His plans for you.
5. You begin to believe the truth about your own goodness and self-worth.
Novenas can help improve your self-esteem by showing you that you are worthy of many things, including love, answered prayers, joy, acceptance, and contentment. If you’re praying the novena with a community, you can develop a sense of belonging and accountability.
6. You relate more to the Saint who is interceding for you.
If you’re praying the novena of a certain Saint, you will naturally want to learn more about that Saint and will probably discover that you have more in common with the Saint than you originally thought. The Saint had trials and difficulties just like you, yet persevered and reached Heaven. Since the Saint faced similar circumstances as you, you know that he or she can be your best advocate to God.
7. You become more realistic about your intention.
There will come a point in time, usually in the last days of your novena, when you start getting an answer for your intention. Maybe you prayed for a sick aunt and she has started recovering, or maybe you prayed for a future husband and he’s nowhere to be seen. At this point, you become more realistic about what you asked for and what God was able to do for you.
Does your aunt’s slow recovery mean that she will ever be 100%? She may never be, but the slow recovery does mean that God wants her to have some comfort and wants you to believe for–and continue to pray for–her healing. Does the fact that you didn’t meet a man by the end of your novena mean that you’ll never get married? Well, it could mean that or it could mean that it is not yet God’s timing. The novena may, instead, help you confirm your vocation is marriage and help you be more patient in selecting and praying for your future spouse.
8. You develop a sense of peace.
Before the end of your novena, you will develop a sense of peace within yourself. You have prayed fervently for your intention and you have gained the understanding that God is working on you and for you. If your heart is open to the graces a novena can grant you, you will obtain peace and spiritual healing. No matter what the results are, you are at peace knowing that everything is in God’s hands.
9. You increase your gratitude.
Lastly, as you start to develop peace, joy, acceptance and contentment, your gratitude will also increase. Whether the answer to your intention was what you wanted or not, you become grateful for the opportunity to complete the novena and grow in your faith and trust in the Lord. You will recognize that the Lord was moulding you during your novena and that many of your worries and fears began to dissipate while you were praying. You also begin to grow in confidence that God only wants what’s best for you and for others.
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Maria Montemayor is a Toronto-based writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and political science. She loves hearing from her readers. You can write to her at maria.montemayor (at) hotmail (dot) com.