NIGHT PRAYER: Tuesday 10/20

It was over seven months ago (April 2) that I began this series of daily Night Prayers. In announcing this, I wrote, "This will be a trial period.  I pledge to provide a daily Night Prayer at least until the 'stay at home' regulations are relaxed.  At that point, and with an eye to your response, I'll take stock and decide whether or not to continue." 
    Well, we're far beyond those initial "stay at home" weeks - but the end of restrictions on our comings and goings and our interactions with each other is certainly yet farther down the road.  So these Night Prayers will continue - and I'm happy to continue to provide them since writing them has become as much a part of my prayer life as reading them has become part of yours.  
    In the beginning, these prayers were much more specifically "night" prayers - but there are only so many ways you can vary that theme!  So, while my Night Prayers generally aren't texts I post for each day's morning Pause for Prayer, they've become more thematically general.  I think at this point, I can't imagine not writing a night prayer for my blog, for you, my faithful readers...

we're here again tonight, all of us,
all of us who come to this cyber chapel each evening,
some just after supper, some much later, just before bed...

We gather together
    though we don't see each other,
we pray together
    though we don't hear other voices,
we sing together
    though we don't know if we're all in tune...

What we do know, Lord, is that every evening
    you meet us in our virtual chapel,
    you're there waiting for us when we drop in,
    you're all ears, listening to hear the story of our day,
    you open your arms to gather us in and gather us together,
    you hold us close and whisper,
    All shall be well, all shall be well,
        all manner of things shall be well...
Tonight we pray for one another, Lord,
    for all of us gathered by the wi-fi of your Spirit's power,
    connected by faith, united in trust, made one in the prayer
    we offer you together...

Make us mindful of one another, Lord,
and know that in the heart of each
is a prayer for the needs of all
and love for the many
who are one with us tonight...
Protect us, Lord, while we're awake
and watch over us when we fall asleep
(in different time zones 'round the world!)
that awake, we might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...
Two options for our musical reflection tonight.  First is an instrumental piece by Arvo Part, one of my favorite composers.  I offer it with the thought that you might just close your eyes
and imagine in your heart all those who are with you in spirit as you pray this post tonight... And second is John Rutter's "Deep Peace" which I offer as a blessing/lullabye each of us might pray/sing for one another as we gather in the Lord's presence this evening...

Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in the Mirror) by Arvo Part
  Leonhard Roczek, cello; Herbert Schuch, piano

Deep Peace by John Rutter, performed by Libera


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Pause for Prayer: TUESDAY 10/20

  Like everyone else, Lord:
   I just wanna to be happy...

And like everyone else:
   I know there are things
      I think will make me happy
   and things
      I wish would make me happy,
   and things that promise I'll be happy
      - but leave me feeling not very happy at all...

And like everyone else, Lord:
   I know the things
      that do make me truly happy,
   and I know the people
      who lift my heart and spirits,
   and I know the times and places
      where I spend my happiest days...

I know that being happy comes
   from seeking true and real and good,
that being truly happy
   is a gift no money can buy,
and that being happy has much more to do
   with having less than having more...

Help me discern, Lord,
between the ease of fleeting pleasure
and the depths of heartfelt joy...

Help me really let go 
   what fails to make me happy:
   what neither satisfies nor makes me whole...

Give me the strength to sacrifice and work
  for peace that settles deep within my soul...

Help me make choices and decisions
   leading to contentment, serenity and joy... 

Help me let go my fears and worries, Lord,
   and lift my heart to faith and trust in you...

Open my eyes to see what makes me happy
   and to know what never will:
 help me understand the difference
   and to walk on wisdom's path...

And remind me, Lord, today and every day:
   I won't be truly happy
      'til I find my joy in you...



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NIGHT PRAYER: Monday 10/19

Photo by Dan Tobyne











I'm grateful for the mystery of gourds,
beautiful fall gourds!

I wish we'd found a finer moniker 
for things as delightful and colorfully variegated as - gourds...
perhaps their beauty will eventually convince me
that gourd's a fitting name...

And their mystery?
Why did you create them, Lord?
They're hard to open and when you do,
there's little inside for nourishment
and what's there, I'm told, is bitter to the taste:
so their only purpose seems to be
their service as vivid, eye-cathching punctuation
in autumn's prose of rusty orange and dusty brown...
But I'm grateful for the gourds' annual appearance
and the joy they bring my soul
as nature all around me nods
and drifts towards barren winter's long, cold sleep...

I'm grateful for gourds, Lord, and look -
their name rhymes with yours
and perhaps in that alone is found
the beauty I'd thought missing...

Open my eyes to your beauty in all things, Lord,
and especially in the counter, original, spare and strange*...
I thank you, Lord, for gourds!
Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me as I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

Given the playful colors of gourds, I've chosen for tonight's song, "Pied Beauty," a poem* by Gerard Manley Hopkins.  There's a beauty in the sound of this poem that comes across when it's read well, even exquisitely, as it is in the first video here, featuring Michael Graves.  The second video is an oh-so-simple sung version of the same poem by Alana Boudreau.  The text of Hopkins' poem is between the two videos.

Glory be to God for dappled things—
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
       For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced—fold, fallow, and plough;
       And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.

*All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
       With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                     Praise Him.



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Monday Morning Offering: 10/19

  Image: George Mendoza

Good morning, good God!
These pandemic days, this pandemic year 
has been so hard on so many, Lord:
    those who've been sick,
    those who've lost loved ones,
    those who lost a job,
    those who've gone into debt,
    those whose life plans have changed,
    those who've gone without the company of others...
Many have had their lives turned upside down, Lord,
while many of us have just been inconvenienced, 
annoyed, unsettled, a bit off balance, 
impatiently awaiting a return to normal:
I'm in that second group, Lord,
and that's what I bring to prayer this morning...
Help me, Lord, to reach out and help those in the first group,
those whose lives are in turmoil, whose needs are so many,
who are losing hope for the future:
show me ways to reach out and help...
And there's something else...

While others have sustained great damage
my pain and losses have been relatively small
so I offer you this morning my advantage, my gain, 
and the blessings of my comfortability:
in any way you can, Lord,
move some of the benefits in my assets column
to the debit column of those with great and pressing needs...

I have much more than I need, Lord:
help me to be generous to others
and please be generous with all that's mine
when you hear the prayers 
of those who seek your help...



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NIGHT PRAYER: Sunday 10/18

Sometimes, Lord, even often, 
seems what I see inside me 
doesn't exactly match
what others see on the outside...

I disguise and hide my brokenness
and the walls I build inside 
keeping me from others and from you,
and from the person you're calling me to be...

Somewhere deep inside 
I'm dissatisfied with who I am:
I deny my own goodness and strengths,
I see only my shortcomings and weaknesses,
my gifts go unopened while my talents waste away...

Lost in a maze of feelings and thoughts
I can't find my way out on my own:
I need you to lead me and guide me, Lord,
to mend and heal me from the inside out
'til I'm whole and made holy by your grace and your touch,
by your Spirit, your mercy, your love...

Rebuild me, Lord, from the inside out,
rebuild me to shelter your presence and grace,
rebuild me to shelter your name...

Protect me, Lord, while I'm awake
and watch over me when I sleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

Shelter Your Name by Danielle Rose

You are all I am not
You are all that I am
Break down these walls
Take all my brokenness
Rebuild me to shelter your name

You are all I am not
You are all that I am
Jesus, break down these walls
Take all my brokenness
Rebuild me to shelter your name

Help me forgive myself
Help me to lift the cross
I've laid upon my soul
Help me to look at myself
Through your eyes
To see all I am
And still be satisfied
Help me forgive myself


Within my secrets, Jesus
There you reside
And I need you to reconcile
To renew all that's inside
For if I want to love you
Then with your love, Jesus
I must love myself humbly, too



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In case you missed us on Sunday morning!




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Pause for Prayer: SUNDAY 10/18

It's Sunday, Lord...

It's the Lord's Day, your day:
at least that's what we say...

Of the week's seven days,
this one's yours, Lord -
at least in theory if not in my practice...

So, help me, Lord,
help me live this day, your day,
a little more faithful to your word,
a little more grateful for your gifts,
a little more attentive to your presence,
a little more mindful of my neighbor's needs,
a little more measured in my pace,
a little more generous in my giving,
a little more open to this day's opportunities,
a little more trusting in your mercy,
a little more loving in my words and deeds,
a little more present to you in prayer...

I guess if you add up all my "little mores"
it comes out to be quite a lot -
but even with all of them,
it won't be more than I ought to give you this day...

It's Sunday, Lord,
the Lord's day, your day:
help me spend it with you 
- and if not all of it -
then help me spend a little bit more time with you today
than the time I gave you yesterday
in gratitude for the time you offer me
every day...



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NIGHT PRAYER: Saturday 10/17

It always helps me to remember, Lord, that:
    no matter how scattered my thoughts might be,
    whatever the feelings that flood my heart,
    in spite of how garbled the words I speak,
    even when I haven't a word to say,
    regardless of whether I pray or not
even then, Lord:
    you read my confusion with wisdom and ease,
    you know what I mean when I don't know myself,
    you're at peace with the feelings I fear and avoid,
    you understand clearly my mumbling and babbling,
    you know my heart's longing before I can name it,
    you hear my prayer when it has no words...

It always helps me to remember this, Lord,
so please don't let me forget it!
Protect me, Lord, while I toss and turn
and watch over me when I fall asleep
that awake, I might keep watch with you
and asleep, rest in your peace...

Tonight's song for prayer is a simple chant from the
Taize community in France.  You might sing along 
with the audio or just let it be the background for your
remembering how God knows our every prayer, even
before we speak it, no matter how clumsily we phrase 
it - and even if we don't say it...

O, Lord Hear My Prayer (Taize) by Xara

Oh, Lord hear my prayer,
Oh Lord, hear my prayer
When I call answer me.

Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
Oh Lord, hear my prayer,
Come and listen to me.



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Pause for Prayer: SATURDAY 10/17

They're all around me, Lord!
They're everywhere!

Good people, fine people: all around me:
folks who care for others, selflessly,
with not a hint of complaint,
no expectation of reward...

So many good people, Lord:
folks who work behind the scenes, 
who do the tasks that others won't,
who find their greatest joy in giving...

Good people, Lord:
already busy with their own
and yet they find the time
to reach to those in need...

Generous people, Lord,
whose very presence is a gift
and makes a difference
- long after they've gone home...

They're all around me, Lord -
good people everywhere -
and I'm grateful just to know them
and for all they give and do...

So, open my heart today, Lord
and help me be a helper;
open my eyes to those in need
and make of me a ready, cheerful giver...

They're all around me, Lord!
They're everywhere -
and for this I give you thanks and praise!



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Well, this should be interesting...


This link will go live around 9:50 on Sunday morning!


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