Praying 10 minutes today: FRIDAY 12/21

The days ahead will be hurried and harried for many of us, myself included. Today's prayer comes right from my heart and I'll be praying it over the weekend and into Christmas. Perhaps it's a prayer that you'll find helpful, too.

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:   

O little town of Bethlehem:
   the hopes and fears of all the years
      are met in thee tonight...

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

Dear Lord,
I know I'm getting way ahead of myself
   and certainly ahead of the calendar
but between now and Christmas, just a few days,
   there are so many hopes and fears...

The world is yet to find a way to be at peace
   some 2,000 years after your birth...

Our brothers and sisters are at war in foreign lands
   and they'll stand in harm's way 
      through Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
      and who knows for how much longer...

While we bake our goodies, as we feast and party,
   so many will go hungry while we have food to spare...

Our nation mourns a tragic loss,
   not the first nor likely the last, 
and it seems we don't know what to do
   or do we lack the faith, the conviction, the love we need
       to do what must be done - and do it soon...

So many face these days of too much of everything
   with not enough in hand to pay the rent or heat the house
      or supply the basic needs a family has...

Though not as great or many, Lord,  
   I have my own hopes and fears
and just this time of year it seems 
   the burdens of my mind and heart grow heavier
and the needs of those around me more demanding
   and I wonder from what store of gifts might I supply
      what I would love to offer and to give...

In these last few days of Advent, Lord, 
   bid me come near the stable and the manger
      to see again how simple was your birth,
      how beautiful your coming to be with us,
      how uncomplicated, selfless and revealing of your peace
         that night you took our flesh to dwell among us...

In the quiet of my prayer, Lord, even now,
   be born again within my heart and of my soul a dwelling make
      that I might carry you within,
         as Mary carried you within her womb...

In the stillness of my prayer, remind me of those starry skies
   and let me hear some angels singing Glory to your name...

And in their song give me new hope and calm my fears
   that I might welcome you as did the shepherds and the sheep...  

In the quiet, hear my prayer, Lord:
   for your peace to settle in among all nations near and far;
   for your Word to nourish us to share our bounty 
      with those whose wants are many 
         while we have more than we could ever need;
   for your mercy, Lord, to heal our wounds and grief
      and strengthen us to make our towns and cities safe;  
   for your peace to settle in my heart and ease my fears,
      forgive my sins and mend my brokenness;
   for your Spirit to renew your grace within me
      that I might celebrate your birth with joy...  

As you awakened shepherds to share in Christmas joy
   I trust that you'll find ways to nudge me from what sleep,
      what sadness keeps me from this season's peace...

As the angel told the shepherds not to be afraid
   I trust you'll strengthen me to take a step beyond my fears,
     in faith, and draw me closer to your side...

As Christmas celebrates with joy your coming as a child,
   rekindle in my heart a child's pure and simple Christmas joy...

When a carol or a Christmas card stirs something in my heart,
   when a string of lights aglow illumines memories old and sweet,
      when a hug or gift or greeting opens me to healing grace,
          when the story of your birth and Silent Night refresh my soul,
             when Communion with your presence is the best gift I receive:
   let nothing, Lord, 
      let nothing keep me from the joy you offer 
         in this blessed Christmas time...

Help me to be still, Lord, 
   help me be quiet enough to hear angels sing,
      to hear you speak in my heart, inviting me to share
         in the joy of these days...

Help me be still and know that you are God,
   that you are near, that you are here...    

To ponder and pray over...
What hopes and fears of mine are met in Christ this year?
What keeps me from Christmas joy?
Will I pray for God's grace to open me to the joy of this time?
When God nudges me to open up to grace,
   will I invite him in?
Will I find time to pray in these hurried and harried days?
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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