How Shall I Pray…

Real prayer happens when we finally get to the end of ourselves, when we stop posing and posturing; when we stop trying to impress God with our vocabulary and understanding. The moment we wonder if we can really “pray like this” is more than likely the moment when your prayer has transcended religious rhetoric becoming as beautiful as the song sung to her daddy by a three-year-old…unskilled, unrefined but infused with hope and love.

For those wondering how they should pray tonight because the burden they bear is too heavy and the nights too long…for those wondering how they should pray when words seem so impotent and deep sighs seem verbose…for those wondering how they should pray tonight, take a moment and absorb the following prayer written by Ted Loder, it’s pure gold.

Monty

_______________________________

How shall I pray?
     Are tears prayers, Lord?
     Are screams prayers, 
          or groans
             or sighs
                or curses?
Can trembling hands be lifted to you,
     or clenched fists
          or the cold sweat that trickles down my back
               or the cramps that knot my stomach?
Will you accept my prayers, Lord, 
      my real prayers,
           rooted in the muck and the mud and the rock of my life,
and not just my pretty, cut-flower, gracefully arranged
     bouquet of words?
Will you accept me, Lord,
     as I really am, 
          messed up mixture of glory and grime?
Lord, help me!
Help me to trust that you do accept me as I am, 
that I may be done with self-condemnation
     and self-pity
          and accept myself.
Help me to accept you as you are, Lord:
     mysterious,
          hidden, 
               strange, 
                    unknowable; 
and yet to trust
     that your madness is wiser
          than my timid, self-seeking sanities,
and that nothing you’ve ever done
     has really been possible,
so I may dare to be a little mad, too.

~Ted Loder

Sometimes It Just Seems To Be Too Much…

Groundzerounderworld460 As I was spending some time praying this morning, I was, as many of you were, thinking about the events that happened on this day 9 years ago. Images were easily retrieved replaying the live news feeds of chaos in New York as two planes were evilly commandeered to become statements of hate when they were forced into the two towers.

Lives were taken…anguish created…questions reverberated…

I prayed today over those who are gone, but mostly for those who remain, and that I would live in such a way that my life might, in some small way, replenish slivers in the vortex of loss, disillusionment, and pain that exists, at least for those I encounter along the way.

Sometimes it just seems to be too much…sometimes the awareness of humanities wickedness or her apathy  just seems to be too much…sometimes it just seems as if we have dug to deep a whole for ourselves and will never get out…

This is when we need to realize that we have been graced by God to live an incarnational life. A life where we don't simply "do religious or good things", but a life that becomes a portal to allow God's goodness to flow through…there is a big difference.

Today is a day to choose to love and not to hate, to be honest with God, and to be honest with ourselves.

I read and ruminated on the following prayer today, and it spoke to where my heart had parked on this day of remembrance for 9-11. Pray through it and note the transition to be the answer of what we pray for..

_________________________

Sometimes, Lord,

it just seems to be too
much:

            too
much violence, too much fear;

            too
much of demands and problems;

            too
much of broken dreams and broken lives;

            too
much of wars and slums and dying;

            too
much of greed and squishy fatness

                        and
the sounds of people

                                    devouring
each other

                                                and
the earth;

            too
much of stale routines and quarrels,

                        unpaid
bills and dead ends;

            too
much of words lobbed in to explode

                        and
leaving shredded hearts and lacerated souls;

            too
much of turned-away backs and yellow silence,

                        red
rage and the bitter taste of ashes in my mouth.

Sometimes the very air seems
scorched

            by
threats and rejection and decay

                        until
there is nothing

                                    but
to inhale pain and exhale confusion.

Too much of darkness, Lord,

            too
much of cruelty

                        and
selfishness

                                    and
indifference…

 

Too much, Lord

            too
much,

                        too
bloody,

                                    bruising,

                                                brain-washing
much.

 

Or is it too little,

            too
little of compassion,

too little of courage,

            of
daring,

                        of
persistence,

                                    of
sacrifice;

Too little of music

            and
laughter

                        and
celebration?

 

O God,

make of me some nourishment

            for
these starved times,

some food for my brothers
and sisters

            who
are hungry for gladness and hope,

that, being bread for them,

            I
may also be fed

                        and
be full.

 

~Amen

_____________________


Honesty with God leads to a transformation of your soul…when you change, your world changes and you change your world, bit by bit, moment by moment.

This prayer was penned by Ted Loder in one of my favorite books of prayer called "Gorilla's of Grace" If your looking for some great prayers of the heart check it out.
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May the memories of this day in history cause us all to "Remember, Repent, and Return to God" because when we try to run this world separated from the God who made it, we becomes creators of loss instead of recipients of life.

Monty

   

Powerful Prayers Vol. VIII: Kenneth Phifer


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