Pause for Prayer: FRIDAY 4/7

Late have I loved you, Lord...

Lent ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, 
   just about a week away (April 13)
      so we're almost at the end of this holy season...
How have we done this Lent, you and I? 
   it's never too late to begin living Lent...

Can't say I've done a great job this Lent, Lord.
I had good intentions and high hopes back on Ash Wednesday
   but maybe I promised you (and myself) too much...
Maybe I should have been more honest about where I was
   before making pledges about getting to where I wanted to be...

Maybe I was trying to impress you (or myself)
   with promises too big to keep...
I look back and realize that if I'd been more modest in my ambition
   I might be looking at a better Lenten record today... 

I look back and realize that if I'd depended more on you and less on me,
   I might have been more faithful to my Lenten goals...

But there's no grace in stewing in my failures 
   and I know you, Lord:
      you're the God of second chances...

I can just feel bad about the time I wasted
   or I can, with new resolve,
      make the best of the time that's left...

Better that this last week of Lent be fruitful, Lord,
   than for me to add it to the sketchy weeks behind me...

So, send your Spirit to help me, Lord, to pick me up
   and dust me off and give me a fresh start
      with the week that lies ahead...

Send your Spirit to move me to prayer, Lord,
   even if only for a few minutes each day:
      keep me modest in my promise and faithful in my follow-through...

Send your Spirit to remind me in the morning and at night
   (or in the afternoon) to pause, slow down, 
      to stop and rest with you for a few minutes, for a chat, 
   for some time to share my heart with you,
      to share my sorrows and my joys, my hopes and disappointments...  

Send your Spirit, Lord, to help me fast:
   to empty my body, my belly, my pockets,
 my imagination and my mind 
      of what I don't need, of what I have too much,
         of what's not good or healthy or helpful for me,
            of possessions that, in fact, own me
      and of good things, too, whose sacrifice might sharpen
         my hunger, thirst and taste for greater gifts... 

Send your Spirit, Lord, to move me to mercy:
   mercy in my words, mercy in my thoughts,
   mercy in my deeds, mercy in my stubborn heart,
   mercy in my attitudes, mercy in my gratitude,
   mercy in my grudges, mercy in my resentments,
   mercy in my giving to the poor 
all in this season of your mercy, Lord,
   this season of your boundless, bountiful mercy for all
      and for me, a sinner, who needs your mercy daily...

I have a week of Lent left, Lord, and I offer it to you
   and pray you make of it a time of grace and growth
as I prepare to celebrate your suffering, death and rising
   in the peace of Easter joy...

In the quiet of my prayer today, Lord,
   open my heart to the week of Lent remaining
and help me make a modest pledge to pray, to sacrifice
   and to serve the poor in your name...

In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
   help me put away what I don't need
      and find again the path to what I really need
         and will find, only, in your love...      

There's a week of Lent left, Lord,
   with your grace, help me make the best of it... 



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