Prayer: It’s not what it used to be

DeadEndI make no secret of the fact that I go through seasons in the desert with my prayer life. There are times when all I can seem to utter is, “God, please help me.”

I am reading this book; “Still ~ Notes on a mid-faith crisis.” It has been difficult to put it down. So much of what the author, Lauren Winner writes, resonates with me.

The following is written word for word from her book.

“‘Without prayer,’ Catherine Doherty once wrote, ‘the life of the Christian dies.’ Her words scare me; I have edged closer to them than I like to admit. The problem is that your Christian life gets sick before it dies, and it is hard to keep praying when you are sick.

I can paint my walls with slogans about staying faithful to the spiritual disciplines, about formation and habits to carry you through, about how wonderful it is that we Episcopalians have this great incomparable liturgy that keeps us tethered to prayer when our own heart’s a-wandering, but the simple truth is when you don’t know what you believe and don’t know where you are or you think you’ve been deluded or abandoned or you’ve glutted yourself with busyness and you are hiding from yourself or the day has just been too long – if that is who and how you are, prayer sounds like a barefoot hike from Asheville to Paris: it would be nice if you got there, you are sure there is a nice glass of wine and a nice slice of brie waiting for you at some cafe somewhere, but there is really no way you can imagine actually making the walk.

In those instances it can be hard even to put your body in the posture of prayer…

Because it is easier to read about prayer than to pray, I have shelves of books: meditations on the Lord’s Prayer by a dozen different authors; scholarly accounts of prayer in the twelfth century, the eighteenth century; Hasidic wisdom on prayer; manuals for knitting a prayer rug, a prayer shawl, a prayer blanket, a prayer tree. (I don’t alas, know how to knit.) Sometimes I think that all this reading gets in the way, that the books become excuses, something to do in lieu of praying. Other days, I know that to read about prayer is at least to indulge my desire, to acknowledge that I want this thing, that I long for it…

…I can participate in prayer (or not), show up to pray (or not), but I am not the author of my prayers; when they come, they come from God.”

* Excerpts were taken from pages 67, 75 and 77.
To listen to the series on “Red-Letter Prayers,” click here

School Massacre: 20 Children, 6 Adults killed

connecticut-school-shooting-elite-daily-31God help us. Please…help us.
There have been lives lost. Among them, innocent children.
Instead of celebrating birth this season, mothers and fathers will be mourning the loss of their child. Instead of visiting the manager, they will bury their son or daughter.
We don’t pretend to understand.
I know that vengeance is yours and still my anger burns bitterly.
God, I don’t seek answers as much as I would ask you to come quickly and save us from the atrocities of which we are capable.
We are not a people on our knees, but instead on our pedestal. It is such a long way to fall.
May you fill our hearts and our minds.
Clear away the wreckage we create.
Make us a people who love our neighbor as ourselves.
Give us faith in the midst of adversity.
Teach us how to pray, Lord.
The pain is too deep.
The wound too fresh. It gapes open, hemorrhaging.
Voices fall silent as words are not enough and at the same time, too much.
Father, for those who are mourning the loss of their loved one tonight, please comfort them. Envelope them in your peace that passes all understanding. Quiet their restless and broken heart. May your whispers of truth be a salve for their soul.
God, we need you.
Hear my cry for mercy.
Be present.
Be here.
Be stability when there is quicksand.
Jesus taught us to pray saying, “Our Father…”
We are your children and therefore come to you now, as a child to a parent, longing for reassurance and hope.
Be near to us.
Our hearts are broken for the innocence lost.
Tonight we hold our babies closer. We thank God for giving us another chance, another day, another moment with our children.

image taken from google

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