Praying 10 minutes today: WEDNESDAY, January 2

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:  The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds.  And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart... Luke 2

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

Who could know all you kept, Mary,
   all you held, and pondered in your heart?
Only a mother, I think, might know the joys,
   the hopes and fears and dreams,
     the bonds that bound your soul in love
        to the child born of your womb... 

And as he grew and you saw the man be came to be,
   as you took pride and joy in him, your own,
   as you watched to see the friends he chose,
   as you listened to his words and wondered at his wisdom,
was there room enough within your heart to store
   your love for him, your faith in what he'd come to do?

And in those last few years and final days
   when you saw clearly where his path would take him,
did the simple joys of years before suffice to soothe
   the ache, the pain you held within as you watched
      and saw the suffering he would bear for all of us?

Like yours, Mary, our hearts fill and so we keep
   and hold and ponder all the joys and all the sorrows
      that we gather day to day and year to year...

Like yours, Mary, our souls take joy in all our blessings
   and are burdened by the cares and fears we carry
      for those we love and for ourselves...

Like yours, Mary, our hearts share the pain of others' wounds
   and we'd gladly take upon ourselves, for them, 
      the suffering they must bear...

I walk into this new year, my heart still filled
   with many of last year's blessings and burdens:
      let my burdens not obscure the joy of blessings, Lord...

I enter this new year, my heart still bearing some of last year's sorrows:
   give me strength and grace, Lord, for reconciling and healing,
      for taking care of business waiting to be done,
         for opening up my soul to you that you might touch my pain
            and in your gentle way lead me to peace...

Whatever my heart carries, Lord, I know you reach to lift me up,
   to lighten any load that weighs upon my spirit,
that no burden given me is given me alone to bear
   but that with your help my heart can rise, be freed and dance
      the joys and blessings deep within...

Sometimes I carry, much too long, old fears and worries,
   grudging anger renting space I want to keep within my heart
      for peace, compassion, trust and hope.
Send your healing Spirit, Lord, and sweep my soul
   of all that weighs me down and slows my step along the path
      that leads me close to you and those around me...

Help me welcome you to rule my heart this year, 
   to reign within my soul and help me sort the good and bad,
      the true and false, the beauty from the sham...

Help me bear whatever burdens I must carry, Lord,
   but let nothing keep me 
      from the gifts of joy and peace you offer,
      from the strength your arm provides, 
      from the shelter of your presence,
      from the compassion of your heart...

Mary held, she kept so much within her heart
  where she had made a place for you to dwell:
      help me to make a place for you in my heart,
         amidst my burdens and my blessings...

In the quiet of my prayer, Lord, as this new year begins:
   help me rummage through the drawers and closets of my heart
       and sort out what belongs and what does not;
   help me rediscover joys and blessings long forgotten
      and enjoy the peace they offer still;
   help me, at last, let go what I no longer need to keep;
      let your compassion heal old wounds and gently
          wipe away my tears...

In the silence, Lord, fill my soul as you filled Mary's
   and help me trust as she did, that you are with me always, 
      that you make your home within my heart,
         that you are healing for my hurting
            and the source of my my blessings...
To ponder and pray over...
What joys and sorrows do I keep and hold in my heart?
Are my joys sometimes lost amid my sorrows?
Is Christ the keeper of my heart?  
Is he my healing and my strength?
Am I carrying anything into the new year
   the Lord to help me let go?
Are there blessings and joys in my heart 
   I need to rediscover and enjoy.
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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