Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Praying 10 minutes today: TUESDAY 6/26


Find a quiet time and place to pray... take a few deep breaths...
be still... and know that God is near...


A word to reflect on:  
How long, O Lord?
I cry for help but you do not listen,
   you do not intervene. 
Why do you let me see ruin; 
   why must I look at misery?
- Habakkuk 1




I'm jealous of this time with you in prayer, Lord,
   just the two of us,
but today I bring some others with me, in spirit, in prayer...

I have parishioners and friends for whom Habakkuk's word
   is not just a verse in the bible - it's their plea,
      a prayer that has welled up from their hearts
         so many times, for weeks and months and years...

How long, O Lord?
For some it's been a very long time of praying and waiting,
  longing and waiting, looking and waiting, hoping and waiting,
      and praying and waiting again and again...

And so many
   have been so faithful in such prayer
      for so long...

Though they've been tempted to give up, they have not.
Though they've wondered "Is it all in vain?" - they've not despaired.
Though the answers seem never to come, they wait and pray
   and pray and wait...

They cry for help but fear that you're not listening.
They look for your strong arm
   and wonder when you'll intervene,
      and why you haven't,
         of if you ever will...

Some look around and see only misery,
   so long have they lived in their worry and fear.

From a spring within the depths of their souls,
   tears without end blur their vision
      and blind them to your presence, your care,
         your strong arm reaching out to support
            and embrace them in their pain...
   
They ask me where you are, Lord.
They ask me if, indeed, you hear their prayers.
They ask me if you've forgotten them.
They ask me if you'll intervene and finally heal
   and mend and reconcile what troubles them so deeply...

I believe you're everywhere, Lord,
   and I believe you're especially close to those who suffer
      and so I pray:
         show yourself to my friends, wipe away their tears
            and help them see how close by their side you walk...

I believe you hear every prayer, Lord:
   the prayer we speak and the prayer we cannot bring to speech,
      the prayer for which we have no words
         and the prayer your Spirit groans within our souls
            when we know not how to pray...

Find a way, Lord, to help my friends trust, know and believe
   that you hear their prayers, every one,
      and take to heart what they say and what they cannot say,
         what they pray and what they cannot pray,
            what they want to tell you
               and what they cannot bear to tell themselves...

I know you've not forgotten any one of us,
   that you've known each of us by name
      since before we came to be in our mother's womb.
You know our comings and our goings,
   our joys and sorrows, our dreams and despair -
      and you never leave our side.

Refresh my friends' memories, Lord,
   of the times when they've known you were right by their side;
In remembering how you've been there for them in the past,
   help them see you've never left their side,
      that their names are written on your heart.

Open their hearts to hear you call them by name
   and help them know and trust again
      that they are loved and not forgotten,
         remembered and always cherished,
            inscribed forever in your heart...
           
I know you desire our peace, Lord:
   you gave your life for us that we might have joy
      and have it to the full...

I know that your strong arm can do all things:
   - sometimes you intervene and make all things well...
   - sometimes you hold back your arm and give us the strength
        to make the changes we need to make
          to help make all things well...
   - sometimes your arm reaches out to our pain,
        not to take it away, but to support us,
           to help us live through our troubles and learn from them...
   - sometimes your arm offers the shoulder we need to lean and cry on,
         the place where we find respite and refreshment...
   - and sometimes, Lord, you reach out with your powerful arm
        and intervene and heal and make a new path for us --
           but when misery has become our home
               we might fail to see, to believe, to accept,
                   to take joy in what you offer us...

Help my friends know the slightest movement of your hand in their lives.
If you but touch them with your finger tip,
   help them feel it and rejoice in your presence.
Help them see that patience provides a depth of healing
   no instant cure can provide.
Help them lean on the shoulder of your compassion and consolation
   and find good rest by your side.
And open their eyes and hearts to the times they may have missed
   when your strong arm has lifted them up, defended them in danger,
      supported their efforts, wiped away their tears
         and laid for them a new path
            on which to walk from their sorrow to joy in you...
      
As I pray each day for myself, Lord,
   so I pray today for my friends...

Lead them to a place and time of peaceful quiet...
Wipe away their tears and draw them close to your side...
In the stillness: speak to their hearts,
   call them by name, refresh their faith and trust in you,

Help them find in your own suffering, Lord,
   the strength they need to lift their eyes to your face,
      to speak the prayers of their hearts,
         to open the doors of their souls,
            to invite you in to mend and heal
               whatever their pain might be...

Show them your love and help them see how you are with them
   day by day, a day at a time, an hour at a time
      and that you'll never forget or abandon them...

I entrust my friends to your heart, Lord,
   because it's in your heart alone
      that our restless hearts will find the peace they seek...
         
To ponder and pray over...
Do I sometimes pray, "How long, O Lord?"
   How shall I share my longing and waiting the the Lord today?
Do I know others who ache for an answer to their prayers?
   How might I pray for them today?  How might I reach out to them?
      How might my arm be the Lord's arm in the lives of those around me?
What will I ask of the Lord today?
From this prayer time, what word or phrase will I keep with me
   to carry through the rest of my day?
(After you spend some time with these questions,
   pray the reflection above one more time...)


Here are some tips for praying 10 minutes a day.  If you find these daily prayer reminders helpful, please let me know - and share them with others.  You'll find an archive of these daily posts here.

 
 
   
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