Focal verse

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, ‘Sit here while I go over there and pray’” (Matthew 26:36).


From my spot in the kitchen while prepping dinner, I can tell there’s been some mishap. I hear a thud. Cue the tears and screams. My son comes to me, cradling his arm, and whispers, “Sit with me, Mama.” He reaches for my hand, and together we sit together on the couch, his body nestling into mine. His tears fall and eventually slow, and his breathing gets easier. He’d hurt his arm, and his immediate need was for someone to be with him. “Sit with me, Mama.” Whether it’s an injury or an angry outburst when he’s tired, his first response is to want someone to sit with him.

My son’s words could be all of ours this Lenten season: “Sit with me.” Maybe you’re in a season when your kids’ needs are many and you find yourself holding many tears and outbursts. Or perhaps you’re the one in need of someone to sit with you. Your schedule and to-do list are never-ending. You’re shuttling here and there. You just need a break.

This month, as we continue toward the cross and resurrection, we still have a few more weeks of Lent. A few more weeks to wrestle and wander in the wilderness. A few more weeks to draw closer to God in prayer and fasting and serving. A few more weeks to sit in God’s love.

Jesus invites us to stay with him, as he did with his disciples in his moment of need. And we, too, can invite Jesus to sit with us when we’re tired and lonely, in pain and uncertainty. My son’s plea to me encourages me to offer my presence to those in need but also to offer my own cries and to feel God’s comfort envelop me.

It may still be dark and cold, but the light of the resurrection is near. Your heart may be restless and weary, but God’s hope declares that we are never alone.


  • Take some time to sit and be still. Try this as a family and start small. Maybe go outside, take a few deep breaths and see what you notice together. Or, if you’d like to try centering prayer, pick a phrase—”peace,” “hope,” “stay with me”—and repeat the words over and over.
  • Read the new book Easter on the Farm by Phyllis Alsdurf (Beaming Books, 2024). This bright, hopeful story invites readers to gather and celebrate the beauty of spring.

Prayer practice 

Find a cross in your home—one that hangs on your wall, a small wooden one or one you can make out of paper—and hold it. Pass it around to your family and see how it feels. Pray together: Dear God, thank you for Jesus and for this season of Lent, when we get to focus on how much you love us. Teach us to share your love with others. Help us to be bearers of your peace. Amen.

Kimberly Knowle-Zeller
Kimberly Knowle-Zeller is an ordained ELCA pastor, mother of two, spouse of an ELCA pastor and co-author of The Beauty of Motherhood: Grace-Filled Devotions for the Early Years. She lives with her family in Cole Camp, Mo. Her website is

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