Praying 10 minutes today: SATURDAY 7/21

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:   
I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord...
- Psalm 104

(Before moving on to the reflection below,
   spend some quiet time with the scripture verse above...)

Singing and making music, all in praise of you - 
   that's the easy part, Lord...

The third line's the hard part:
   May my thoughts be pleasing to you... 

Whether I'm paying much attention or not,
   I don't think I have a waking moment without a thought
      of some kind or shape or form...

Even asleep, I have dreams
   (but I know you don't hold me accountable for those).
But my thoughts, all the hundreds and hundreds of thoughts
   that pass through my mind every day -
      I couldn't even begin to count them -
   they come and go and link from one to another so quickly
      I dont' know the beginning of the next one 
         from the end of the last...

On the one hand, 
   I have too many thoughts to keep track of,
but on the other hand, 
   I can quickly list the thoughts
      you might find less than pleasing...

I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord... 

Less then pleasing, Lord,
   are my bitter thoughts of others in my life,
my jealous thoughts, green with envy,
   my resentful thoughts, grudged deep within my heart...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my proud thoughts, my quiet gloating,
      over others' faults and failings and misfortunes...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   my judgmental thoughts in the courtroom of my mind
      where I am prosecutor, judge and jury...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my selfish thoughts blinding me to the needs of others,
         those right by my side who seek my help...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my lustful thoughts, reducing to my crude fantasies
      the beauty of others, made in your image, 
         deserving of my reverence and respect...
Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my greedy thoughts, hoarding in my mind
      so much that I desire but do not need...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my hateful thoughts, disdaining, dismissing, dicarding
      those who've hurt and harmed, rejected and ignored me...

Less than pleasing, Lord,
   are my wasted thoughts, my foolish thoughts, my silly thoughts,
      my childish thoughts, my angry thoughts, my careless thoughts;
less than pleasing, Lord,
   any thought of mine that leads away from you, from my neighbor,
      from your Spirit living in my heart...

Lord, that's my litany of less than pleasing thoughts,
   my listing of the ways my thoughts lead me astray
      from all you offer, all you want and all you ask of me...

I want my thoughts to please you
   but they stray, they wander, 
      they leave the path I want to walk, 
         the road I mean to travel
and route me in directions I'd never planned to go...

But they are my thoughts, Lord:
   they belong to me and I must own them.
My thoughts have patterns and habits and,
   it seems sometimes, a mind of their own.
But they're the thoughts of my mind, Lord,
   and any mind my thoughts possess
      is the mind I've loaned, supplied and given them...

And so I need your help...

My less than pleasing thoughts can shape
   a less than pleasing heart 
and a less than pleasing heart can yield
   a less than pleasing life...

Send me your Spirit, Lord, to sweep and broom, to chase
   the less than pleasing from my mind,
      and all that is unpleasant from my heart...

Speak your word 
   and plant within my thoughts the seeds of all that's
      sweet and savory, humble and forgiving, 
         merciful and understanding, pure and true, 
            selfless and giving, and generously compassionate...

And help me nurture what you plant, Lord, until
   your thoughts are my thoughts, 
      your heart is my heart 
         and your ways are my ways... 

In the stillness of my prayer,
   help me know which thoughts need to be swept away
      and open me to thoughts that will truly bring me peace...

In the quiet of this time, with your Spirit's power,
   refresh my mind and heart, Lord, 
and fill me with thoughts pleasing to you
   that I might praise you all my life
      and make music to you while I live...

To ponder and pray over...
What's my own litany of less than pleasing thoughts?
How do these thoughts shape my heart?  my words and deeds?
What thoughts of mine are already pleasing to the Lord?
What seeds of pleasing thoughts might I pray for today?
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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1 comment:

  1. Father
    I just have to take the time today to thank you for your reflection.You have such a great understanding of our human nature, it's weaknesses and the struggle to become holy.
    So many times you have brought me to tears and at the same time given me hope that the struggle can be won if we but trust in His merciful love.
    Thank you for sharing your gifts with us.


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