"My Lord, our King, You alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but You, for I am taking my life in my hand." -Esther C:14-15
As Esther prayed to the Lord, she said that she was taking her life in her hand because she was about to go to the king without being invited. This act was punishable by death (Est 4:11, 16).
Likewise, we are living and praying in a life-or-death situation. We are endangered by "the terror of the night," "the arrow that flies by day," "the pestilence that roams in darkness," and "the devastating plague at noon" (Ps 91:5-6). Our opponent, the devil, who is "the prince of death" (Heb 2:14), and his destroying angels (see Rv 9:11) are "prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (1 Pt 5:8). Our guardian angels have done a fantastic job to protect us from repeated attempts on our lives.
So pray as if your life depends on it, because it probably does. Fast and pray as if this Lent is your last one on earth. Fast and pray with utter trust in and abandonment to the Lord. We live and pray in the shadows of death (Ps 23:4, RSV-CE) but also on the threshold of entrance into the eternal life of heaven. Pray: "Now, Master, You can dismiss Your servant in peace" (Lk 2:29). "Father, into Your hands I commend My Spirit" (Lk 23:46).
Father, "this is our accepted time, this is our salvation." May prayer and fasting be our hope. May penance be our vocation. (From the hymn This is Our Accepted Time.)