Lenten Challenge…Finish Strong

“Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matt. 5:44)

Here we are, halfway through Lent, a good time to do an inventory of how Lent is going so far…and to challenge ourselves to finish strong so we feel the “fullness of joy” and peace Jesus wants us to experience during the Easter season. I am often telling my Master Class writing students and book coaching clients that it’s super important to finish strong when it comes to their books so they transform those who read them. I believe the same goes for any worthwhile journey, especially this spiritual one.

Journey So Far…

I have been focusing this Lent not so much on giving up something (although I am obeying the Catholic guidelines to give up meat and fast on Fridays and Holy Days of Obligation) but taking on practices that will bring me closer to Jesus–more prayer, meditation, Bible reading, journaling, self-reflection, confession, in short, more effort at spiritual growth. I have also been taking part in a Lenten Bible study focused on the Gospel readings chosen for the weeks leading up to Easter with our pastor, Fr. Rich Jasper, at Immaculate Conception/St. Jude parish in Elkton, MD. And at one of these sessions, I felt a small miracle occur as I was praying for forgiveness, both from those I’d harmed, and for those who had recently harmed me.


During this time I have also been going through a spiritual struggle with someone I feel is speaking against me and also trying to punish me for the way I, in their opinion, wronged them. Naturally, at times I feel “justifiable anger” and other times, hurt. A spiritual advisor prompted me to start praying for this person, so they feel God’s love and experience peace and happiness (not praying they forgive me, but that I forgive them.) I’ve practiced this in the past…praying for 21 days for a person who hurts us, the length of time a habit forms…and when I did this, miraculously my anger and hurt were lifted and sometimes the wrongs were simply forgotten and the relationship was healed.

Peace Prayer

I also started praying the “Peace Prayer,” often called the Prayer of St. Francis,” which is also known as the “11th Step Prayer” in the 12-Step Recovery program. And here’s the small miracle: After a session of the Bible study was over one night, from where I sat in the church pew, I glanced over a mosaic of Jesus with the words inscribed underneath, “I Trust in the Lord.” I had seen it before, and when I attend this particular church it always draws me in. But this time, I also noticed a pedestal with a book opened on top and I felt called to walk over and check it out. I had been struggling with forgiveness that same week and I looked down to find…you guessed it, the Peace Prayer on the page.

I felt like God was confirming my course of action to try to increase my humility and my ability to forgive, and to spread the word that hopefully others would gain from this humble yet powerful prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace:
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Lord, I pray that those of us on a Lenten journey practice forgiveness and finish strong so we can experience Your peace and joy during this Easter season. Amen.

For more #Inspirations blog posts, Book Coaching tips, or to contact Michele visit: MicheleChynoweth.com or YourBookDoneRight.com

Michele Chynoweth


  1. Andrew McDowell on March 5, 2024 at 10:42 pm

    Excellent post, Michele.

  2. Laurie Schnepf on March 10, 2024 at 5:37 pm

    I really enjoyed your beautiful, heartfelt post. Very powerful & uplifting. THANK YOU! 💕