This past Friday I was looking ahead to a weekend schedule that allowed little time for sitting down for a cup of coffee between the Masses, events, commitments and meetings on my calendar. In my car on Friday afternoon, driving back from a meeting in Boston, I prayed about the weekend. I asked the Lord to give me some perspective on it. I asked for the grace to walk through it one event, one liturgy, one commitment at a time, not letting the whole thing loom and tower over me. I asked the Lord to give me a good spirit, a generous spirit with which to approach everything ahead of me. I asked the Lord to help me trust that indeed, Sunday night would come, a packed two days would diminish in my rear view mirror, and that I'd breathe easy once again.
And you know what? My prayer was answered.
That doesn't mean I didn't do some grousing along the way - I did. And I'm grateful to those who were patient with my moans and groans! Perhaps their patience was part of the Lord's answer to my prayer. My schedule didn't miraculously change or lighten, but in the company of colleagues and friends in the sacristy and the parish hall, I made my way from event to event, growing to appreciate each moment along the way. Indeed, I found I had the energy, the will and the spirit to do what I needed to do, one step at a time, one event at a time, one responsibility at a time. Looking back from this perspective: it was a GREAT weekend, filled with much work, prayer and joy!
Talking things over with the Lord in my car this morning (he always rides shotgun!) I thanked him for answering my prayer and making of a dreaded schedule a weekend of grace.
And I realized that although I don't often enough ask for the Lord's help in this way, nonetheless - the Lord often enough carries me through all kinds of days and weekends (and sometimes weeks and months) for which my own strength would never suffice.
So, I know that I need to pray more often for God's help in making my way through good days and hard days and that I need to look back more often to see how God's strength, not my own, has been the grace that helped me survive and succeed in situations where I otherwise would have failed.
Some thoughts, then, to help prepare for praying today...
How often do I stop to consider that the Lord is my strength and that without his help I would be lost?
How often do I look to see how God's hand is guiding me through the maze of my nights and days, leading me always and never leaving my side?
How often do I congratulate myself on this or that when, indeed, all the praise, all the glory is owed to God who is the source of every good thing in my life?
How often do I remember to call on God's help when I see some rough water ahead of me?
How often do I ask God to give me the energy and will to move from moment to moment in my day, not letting my fears and anxieties mount up as something that seems impossible?
How often do I ask God for a generous spirit to help me welcome what comes my way and to see in all that comes my way a path that can lead me to peace?
How often do I thank God for having brought me down a difficult path? How often do I thank God when I've taken a difficult step, even if it's only one step? How often have I looked back to see how God has been my help and guide every step along the way?
Find some quiet time... find a quiet place... breathe deeply... breathe in the peace and presence of God...
Be still... know that God is near....
Know that God has always been near...
Know that God is with you every single step along your way...
Know that God will always be there with you and for you...
Be still... and know that God will provide what you need
and give you the energy, the will and a generous heart
to walk the path that is yours...
Be still... and know that God is with you...
This setting of a prayer attributed to St. Patrick might help you in your prayer today:
Are you new to "Praying 10 Minutes a Day in Lent" - or are you having trouble getting started? The first installment offers some thoughts on getting started, as do the subsequent posts in the series. So take a look and join us!
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