Prayer for Sitting Watch with Christ

tabernacle - Warling Studios. © Loyola Press. All rights reserved.

Every time I have needed Christ, I have found him waiting patiently for me in a school chapel. The first school chapel I visited regularly to seek Christ’s presence was my dorm chapel at Notre Dame. I went there often when no one was there to have a little one-on-one time with Christ. That would hopefully offer me clarity and answers to all the questions laying heavy on my heart.

In the back of this chapel, there was a folding, accordion-style wall. When it was pulled out taut, it hid behind it one of the most unusual tabernacles I’ve ever seen. It was a thick wooden cross that hung suspended from two metal chains. At the back of the cross was a small keyhole that opened the door to the carved-out space where Christ was held.

Every time I went to that chapel, I went to the back, stood behind that accordion-style wall, and looked up at that simple cross, knowing that Christ was right there, hidden in plain sight. I would sit down on the green carpet, legs pulled up to my chest, and look up at him, begging him to answer all my questions.

This habit continued for me, year after year, new chapel after new chapel. Every time I needed Christ, I went to where I could most feel his presence and sit arms and heart wide open. It was only recently that I put down into words the prayer that is most often on my heart whenever I enter a chapel to spend time with Christ. Perhaps it will help you find the words you want to share with Christ as well, as you sit watch with him.

I am here, God,
arms wide open,
straining to hear Your whisper,
but truthfully longing
for a deafening, reverberating shout instead.

Tell me, Lord,
in clear words I cannot miss:
What is it You have planned for me?

I know it’s ironic, Lord,
that I sit here before your cross,
asking for You to shout out to me.

How is it that I fail to see this sacrifice
as your biggest, loudest reply
to each and every prayer I offer?

I can almost hear you saying:
“What more do you want from me, child?”

But you wouldn’t say that.
Would you, Lord?

Instead, you are always willing
to do more,
to say more,
to offer more,
until I am finally able
to hear You above all the rest.

So, here I sit
arms and heart wide open,
praying You have
a little patience left for me.

I promise to listen
a little harder this time.

So will You tell me just once more
what you want from me
so I may honor You
with this one, precious life?


  1. Thank you Gretchen for this meaningful, inspiring prayer.May the Risen Lord bless you abundantly
    Sister Anthony Joseph

  2. It is the prayer that I have always needed to say to Him. Thank you so much Gretchen for such a heart felt prayer for Holy Thursday’s watch. Have a blessed Easter, Gretchen

  3. Gretchen,
    Your inspired prayer! A beautiful gift to us all during Holy Week as we contemplate the meaning of the cross and our life’s purpose. Thank you and …..

  4. This is beautiful Gretchen. It’s a good reminder that Jesus wants us to be completely open with Him, as all Lovers do.
    Thank you for sharing this very personal prayer with us. I would love to pass it on to my Sisters.
    God bless your Holy Week and Easter Season.

  5. Gretchen – I love this prayer it’s exactly how I feel most of the time. Thank you for sharing. Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!

  6. Gretchen, on this first day of Holy Week, your anointed prayer nourishes my soul as I, too, sit watch with Christ this holiest of all weeks for me. Thank you for the spiritual bread.


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