This is a question any Catholic would ask. Doubts run in the minds of Catholics who haven’t discovered a reason to pray novenas. Before we immerse ourselves in the discovery journey, let’s first answer the question. Are novenas biblical?
Yes, they are!
The next question you’d ask is; “can you point me to the Bible verses to support your answer?”
Here we go!
If the Bible would be written event after event, word-for-word, it would be a library filled with volumes of the Holy Book. God compressed the Bible while keeping important factors intact.
A good example is the reduction of the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament (Exodus 20). Love for God and the neighbor are the Two Commandments in the New Testament that accommodate all the Ten Commandments (Matthew 22: 34-40).
Many people struggle with reading the Bible. Who would walk into the library to read a heap of books representing the Bible?
Now, God left it to us to derive relevant points from any scripture or verse we read from the Bible and apply it. That’s how novenas came up.
The Birth of Novenas
Let’s start with the Old Testament.
When Moses went to meet God on Mount Sinai, they were in a conversation. God had tasked Moses with the responsibility to deliver the Israelites from their suffering.
Moses stayed with the LORD for 40 days and 40 nights eating and drinking nothing (Exodus 34: 28). He was fasting, while in communion with God!
At the end of the fasting journey, Moses received the Ten Commandments.
Assuming Moses slept at night, God engaged him for 40 days. Whatever they discussed for 40 days was minimized into scripture we read for minutes. Through novenas, we enter into a deep discussion with God. More often than not, we receive the fruits after the novena.
Moses entered into a covenant with God and received the Commandments. He learned what God expected of the Israelites before he relieved them of their pain. That was a novena for Moses; prayer and fasting! Moses went ahead to share the instructions with his crew.
Maybe, it was a discussion between God and Moses. In our lives today, a private covenant time can help us pray our novenas without destruction.
God went ahead to help us understand novenas better in the New Testament.
Novenas in the New Testament
Is it possible to pray today and expect an answer tomorrow?
Yes and No.
It depends on what we want. Let’s take an example of sickness. God can heal someone immediately. On other occasions, it takes time before the sick person gets well.
Jesus repeatedly spoke about persistence in prayer.
Persistence is a virtue we carry along when we pray novenas. If Mary the mother of Jesus in her purity got an answer to her prayer after nine days, what of me, a sinner?
God heals us through the power of the Holy Spirit. That’s why the descent of the Holy Spirit on the ninth day of prayer in the upper room was that significant (Acts of the Apostles 1: 12 – 2: 13). The Catholic church birthed the 9-day novena period from this. By honoring the Pentecost Novena, we experience the good things that come with the power of the Holy Spirit.
In unison, Mother Mary and the disciples waited for the Holy Spirit to descend. The upper room symbolizes retreating to work it out with the like-minded.
Praying novenas is one of many ways the Catholic church helps Faithfuls converse with Jesus intimately. I have benefitted from praying novenas. These methods will help you choose what suits you.
So, are novenas biblical? The word novena may not be in the Bible, but the act is well represented in the Holy Book.
More Insights about Novenas
Breaking through a difficult situation requires repeated prayer thus novena. If we want to “Passover” the next phase of our lives, we need novenas. Passing over means moving from point A to point B!
People we can refer to as sinless in the Bible persisted in prayer. What lesson do we get from that?
Scrutiny of the Bible is the sure way to believe the novena is Biblical. Start by trusting in the Lord’s servants; the priests. Do what they say and learn as you grow.
Are you convinced?
Next time someone poses the question, "are novenas biblical?” Say a big YES and share this article with them.