Powerful prayers
I Want To Stop Running


Eternal God, you are a
song amid silence,

A voice out of quietness,

A light out of darkness,

A presence in the
emptiness,

A coming out of the void.

You are all of these
things and more.

You are mystery that
encompasses meaning,

Meaning that penetrates
mystery.

 

You are God,

I am man.

I strut and brag.

I put down my fellows

And bluster out assertions
of my achievements.

 

And then something
happens:

I wonder who I am,

And if I matter.

Night falls,

I am alone in the dark and
afraid.

Someone dies,

I feel so powerless.

A child is born,

I am touched by the
miracle of new life.

At such moments I pause…

To listen for a song amid
silence,

A voice out of stillness,

To look for a light out of
darkness.

 

I want to feel a Presence
in the emptiness.

I find myself reaching for
a hand.

Oftentimes, the feeling
passes quickly,

And I am on the run again:

Success to achieve,

Money to make.

 

O Lord, you have to catch
me on the run

Most of the time.

I am too busy to stop,

Too important to pause for
contemplation.

I hold up too big a
section of the sky

to sit down and meditate.

But even on the run,

An occasional flicker of
doubt assails me,

And I suspect I may not be
as important

To the world

As I think I am.

 

Jesus said each of us is
important to you.

It is as if every hair of
our heads were numbered.

How can that be?

But in the hope that it is
so,

I would stop running,

Stop shouting,

And be myself.

Let me be still now.

Let me be calm.

Let me rest upon the faith
that you are God,

And I need not be afraid.

 

Amen

(* from
Kenneth Phifer’s book “A Book of Uncommon Prayer”)

_____________________________________

 

Monty’s Rumination…

 

There truly is not much
for me to say about this prayer. 
The deep, heartfelt words paint a very real tapestry that many will
instantly connect with.

 

When I first meditated on
this prayer, I was at a monastery with some other pastors, and one line
captured my attention more than any other:

 

“I hold up too big a section of the sky to
sit down and meditate.”

 

Even now, those words roll
over me and leave me feeling somewhat uneasy. I’m uneasy because that is very
often how I feel. My biblical theology tells me that it is God who holds up the
sky, but if that is so, why does so much of it seem to depend on me?

 

My  practical theology tells me that it is
impossible for me to hold up a big section of the sky, and that if I think I
am, I need to let it go, but if that is true, why does it seem so many people
and things really do

depend on me?

 

We are forever in the
catch-22 of monergism and synergism, how much is mine and how much is God’s.
When we think that too much depends on us, we posses weary souls, tired feet,
and frazzled emotions. When we think that too much depends on us, we create God
in our own image. When we create God in our own image, there is no one left who
is stronger than ourselves to lift us from the tangled web of living. When we
think too much depends on us, our self-importance creates an ego that fills the
universe, so of course there is no time to relate with a God who is smaller
than we are.

 

Yet, in our over inflated
bigness, Jesus still loves us, still calls us, still waits…

 

As he graciously reminds
me of His power, passion, and presence, I relax, realizing He not only holds up
all of the sky, but He made it too. Then I breathe the final words of the
prayer:

 

“I would stop running, stop shouting, and be
myself. Let me be still now. Let me be calm. Let me rest upon the faith that
you are God, and I need not be afraid.”

 

God has your corner of the
sky,

 

Dei Gratia…Monty

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