Pray40Days is a 40-day prayer experience led by Fr. Michael J. Denk. If you are visiting for the first time, scroll down to the first post and read the introduction.

What if I told you right now that in these next 40 days your prayer life could be set on fire? What if I told you that within our own Catholic Faith Tradition we have all the tools that can allow us to receive the Holy Spirit and experience God the Father as a tender, caring, deeply personal presence in our lives? What if Jesus were actually real to us and we realized that in Baptism we are actually baptized into Christ? What if the Holy Spirit was not just some ambiguous, abstract idea, but a real personal force of inspiration, presence, and overwhelming joy in our lives? Sounds pretty amazing doesn’t it?

My spiritual director once told us in the seminary that “prayer should never be boring.” If it is boring, you’re doing it wrong! While reading this text, you will be far from bored. You will stand in awe and wonder when you discover just how real God is and how much The Father loves you.

Welcome to Pray40Days. Over the course of these forty days, you will finally have the prayer life you have always wanted. Most of us go our entire lives praying like we were taught in the Second Grade. What you learned in the Second Grade was not wrong. It’s a great thing if you already pray every day. But have you grown? Has your prayer life deepened and evolved each and every day, week, month and year since second grade? If it hasn’t you may be spiritually out of shape, spiritually dead, and possibly on the verge of losing eternal life.

How is your prayer life? What is it like? Is it boring? Are you hot or cold? Are you moving closer to God every day or growing distant every day? If you responded that your prayer life was simply “ok,” “fine” or “good”; you just may be lukewarm. The worst thing for a prayer life is that it remains lukewarm for too long.

There’s no such thing as staying the same; you are either growing, or your are decaying. Your prayer life is either bringing you closer to God, or you’re growing more and more numb to Him. It is better for your prayer life to be either hot or cold; whereas, the worst thing for your prayer life is to be “lukewarm”.

The God of all creation says this: I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. I advise you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich, and white garments to put on so that your shameful nakedness may not be exposed, and buy ointment to smear on your eyes so that you may see (Revelation 3:15-19).

This “lukewarm” could be translated as: “I’m fine,” “I’m doing alright,” or “I’ve got everything I need.” But we have no idea how completely poor, spiritually weak, and completely blind that we are. We have plenty of jewelry, but do we have the “gold refined by fire?” We have closets full of clothes, but are we shamefully naked when it comes to our “wearing” a life of deep prayer? We have glasses, contacts and now even laser eye surgery, but are we actually spiritually blind?

Mother Teresa, who is going to be canonized at the end of the Year for Mercy in 2016, warns: “The greatest disease in the West today is not tuberculosis or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for. We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair and hopelessness is love. There are many in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love. The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty; it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God” (Mother Teresa, 1995).

If this is true, then the greatest disease that we face in the western world is a spiritual one! It is a poverty greater than any other because it impacts the way we relate to God and the FIRST and GREATEST Commandment is: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Matthew 22:37).

Do you love God with ALL your heart, with ALL your soul, with ALL your mind, and with ALL your strength? Or is your heart divided? Is your soul cast down? Is your mind scattered? Is your strength spent, leaving you tired? Do you find yourself constantly exhausted? Lazy? Slothful? Complacent? Numb? Lonely? There is a hunger for love, a hunger for God, a poverty of loneliness, and ultimately a poverty of spirituality. The poverty is that not only have we stopped growing in prayer, but we have even lost a desire to grow in our spiritual life.

What if I told you that in the next 40 days, very similar to an intense, insane workout program for your body, can help transform your heart, mind, soul and entire being? What if God could become “real” to you? What if you could receive all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit? “The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord…“The fruits of the Spirit are perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory.” The tradition of the Church lists twelve of them: “charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, modesty, self-control, and chastity” (CCC, 1831-1832). Who doesn’t want these gifts and fruits? They do not come to those who are lukewarm.


This text is designed to guide you through various forms of prayer during the Lenten season. However, you can use it at any other time of the year as well. The program is designed to be read on a day by day basis, with each new post representing a new day of prayer. The first three days (preparation days) will help you prepare for your new prayer life. The next portion will take you through the 40-days of Lent as well as the seven Sunday Masses during the Lenten season. If you are someone who goes to the Saturday Vigil Mass, then swap the Saturday and Sunday prayer days.


To obtain various video and audio meditations for each day’s prayer, go to But don’t worry, the transcripts of each audio meditation are included here with each day’s prayers. You’ll also find a wonderland “Video Journal” by the first one to ever go through Pray40Days! Olivia Sliman, who is a beautiful and talented young adult at St. Joseph volunteered to be the first to take the challenge! She is a graduate of Kent State University, majored in production and even worked on the Ellen Show! You may know her from “Olivia’s Got Talent Tuesday’s!” On YouTube. Her sincerity, candor, wit and humor will not only inspire you and entertain you but help you journey with someone else who walked the journey of Pray40Days for the first time!


You are given a time of silence following each meditation. This silence can last a few minutes or as long as you need to reflect on the prayer experience. It is extremely important that you make a firm resolution and commit to a certain amount of time for silence each day. Maybe it is 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or even one hour; whatever the time commitment is, do not leave a moment early come “Hell or High Water!” Make a resolution at the beginning of Pray40Days that you will stick to for the entire program. There will be a thousand and one different excuses and distractions and if you do not remain firm and committed, the enemy will win in distracting you. However, if you are resolute and firm, the enemy will take flight and God will reward you for your generosity and trust in him. After the time of silence, you will want to journal the experience. So get a journal or a notebook and a pen so you can write about your feelings and what you heard God say to you after each day’s prayer. You will be surprised at how much you learn when writing down your thoughts. Remember Pray40Days every day spend time come “Hell or High Water!” You only have to keep your commitment for 40 days, but when you’re done you may just find yourself wanting more time with God!


Accountability in your prayer life is also important. The program can be done individually, as a family, or within a group of friends. I would recommend that you form a “prayer group” that meets weekly so you can reflect upon the week’s prayers and pray the daily experience together whenever you meet. For a limited time, you can also register for weekly spiritual group direction with Father Michael J. Denk at

The program was designed to be done during Lent, but you can do it any time of the year – so if you get a late start, don’t worry so much as to “catching up”, just begin with Day 1 and take each day at a time. Remember, it’s not a race and the journey is the most important part! You can also “swap” days, such as doing the “Praying with Sunday Masses” on Saturdays if you plan to attend the Saturday Vigil Mass for that week. Also, the chapters don’t necessarily have to be read in order – so if you decide to start with Day 1 on Ash Wednesday (or later), simply skip to the next “Praying with Sunday Masses” on the day you attend Mass each weekend.

© 2016, Fr. Michael J. Denk. All rights reserved. No portion of this content shall be reproduced without written consent. Contact: