Dear God, efface me. Decrease my illusions of power, dominion, and control. I stride forth from this small moment with you, my spine straight, head erect, shoulders back. Your love courses through me and my heart quickens. Such energy!
Pride urges me to place my soul on display, to eagerly communicate your love to my fellows. But, in truth, it is only to illustrate my piety and receive praise and acclamation.
Your message may be proclaimed, but your love is passed on quietly by invisible messengers. Let me bow my head just a little bit, shorten my stride, slow my pace, and learn to quietly whisper. Let me take joy in spreading your love and warmth in such a way that my voice is unremarked. Let me be transparent, that your clear face is seen without notice given to the glass.
O Lord, such a heavy task to march on invisibly! Let me take pleasure in this secrecy, and deflect notice.
I am accustomed to wondering to myself, how can I best help in this situation? I thus congratulate myself for my goodness. Let me instead ask: how can I best whisper your words? How can I softly reveal your presence, already here in the midst of us? Let this be my sole ambition.
Dear God, you see right into me. Every surface I present, every illusion I harbor, you look right through, and you love what is found there at my core. A flawed diamond, in the middle of it all. When I dare look, I see only the defects.
Yet you have made me! Me, and all my fellows. Where I see miscreation, you have instead wrought purpose.
Lord, grant me choice in my thought life. Let me not believe myself the victim of unbidden ideas. Let me see the truth about this inner life.
Let me choose rightly, beginning with where I settle my attention. Events unfold; let me not fix my gaze on how they will affect me, but instead let me concentrate on how I may convey your glowing love. Is it by word? Deed? Example, negative or constructive?
Let my inner life be ordered. Impel me, Lord, that I may think and act as you would have me do.
Dear God, order my thoughts. My interior life can be so unruly, a wilderness. Thought after thought comes to me unbidden. My attention darts this way and that, furtive, as I pursue each new notion. Even when my actions are strict, Lord, my mind remains undisciplined.
Lord, how can I slow my rushing thoughts? It is like stopping the cascades.
God, enter my mind. Inhabit my thoughts. Conquer them. Let this army of ideas surrender to your dominion. Grow in me, crowd out all this spinning and chaos. Leave in me your golden, warm sunshine. For it is one thought, expressed myriad ways. Always the same sun.
Let my thoughts be love, let them fall into order, arranged and powerful, rank on rank. Let my inner armies surrender, accept your yoke. We fear this burden, only to find you are loading us with treasure and gifts to distribute all through the land.
Let me do your will today, in thought and deed.
Dear God, let me discern your small voice. Around me is a hurricane of distraction and cries for notice. Look here, they shout. The howling wind so easily carries away your whispers. I do not even notice their loss, dust added to the whirlwind.
Let me listen, listen. There you are, my sweet Lord, you murmur in my ear and remind me of your presence. You sit with me as the wind howls and the crowds call out. They beckon me to rise and run with them. You will not stop me, but your gorgeous lullaby would then be lost.
Let them call out. Let them run and jostle.
Here we are, Lord, you and me, sitting hip to hip. Let us be an oasis of quiet song. Maybe one or two who run will sit with us. Teach me the quiet song I am to sing to our new friend.
O Lord, I hear your secret voice, let me speak it to the world!
Dear God, I tend my little garden plot, tucked away behind an inauspicious dwelling, on a forgotten byway. Rows of growth, arranged neatly. None visit; my square of soil is a secret and unnoticed place. Lord, let me tend my inner life with all the greater care for its invisibility and forgottenness. Every plucked weed a simple prayer.
The weather visits the garden and the wasteland equally. Wind builds and gushing rain robs the soil. All my care, ruined.
O Lord, how can I better thank thee for this chance to rebuild? The skies reveal your warming sun. Let me with joy set about work with my trowel.
I will rearrange the pieces, and you, my Lord, you will sweep them aside. Over and over. Let me, my sweet guide, eagerly await each new repetition.
Let me laugh and dance in the rain rather than curse the flood.
Dear God, shut away in my familiar closet, I whisper to you as to an inconstant friend. Come to me, I ask, fearful that you may not. Strengthen me, I ask, afraid you may leave me weak. Grant me humility, I ask, knowing my prideful nature will set up barriers to any progress.
Lord, O Lord, where then can I say is my faith? I pray so tentatively, begging for you to notice my needs. Grant me a confident faith. Let me trust all needed strength will come, that moral progress will come – that you in all your power will visit. That you are already here. That indeed I already have all that is necessary.
Let me, in the final tally, have faith instead of hope. Hope pines for rescue; faith is certain of protection and care.
Lord, let me relinquish these hopes. They comfort me yet hobble me. You created me to walk; let me stride through this day secure in the capacities with which you have endowed your children.
Dear God, I go searching, inward and outward, for the labors you would have me do. How best may I toil for you? Only with difficulty do I realize that the greatest effort you ask of me is to slow my frantic pace of devotion.
I seek to grandly demonstrate my faith; you instead call me to meekly receive your love and slow droplets. Bit by bit, your gifts become noticeable, the change in me becomes apparent.
I am beginning to see the mountain lake you have set me by, the warm beauty all around. It snuck up upon me while I was distracted, searching for labors to perform.
You are the Lord of slow, healing streams. If I sit here, with you, in this Alpine mansion, I will arise with a fresh heart.
Lord! Let me be willing to tarry with you. Let me set aside my furtive industry and instead slowly, meticulously worship these meadows.
Dear God, my pathway through the day is new each morning. I cannot see beyond the first, early turning. I delude myself that, if I could but see the whole of my way, my worries would silence. In truth, I could not bear to see the whole. My soul would churn with anticipation, fear, elation, despondency, pride, deflation. All just as the result of knowing what is around the corner.
Lord, you have constructed my circumstances so that they suit my character perfectly. This is my lesson from looking backwards, considering all the previous days’ journeys. You brought each lesson when I was able to learn it, you brought chaos when I was strong enough to weather it, you delivered placid times when I did not even realize I needed rest.
The path down which I walk today is the continuation of all of yesterday’s. Let me, O my Lord, walk today as if I had been an attentive student and learned all these previous lessons. Let me walk the day’s path as your child, marveling at the surroundings that are at once new and familiar. Each knew hour containing a discovery, even on the dullest marches.
Lord, my guide, let me be a grateful walker.
Dear God, set me in the right direction. Make visible the path I am to tread, and let my actions move me along it. With regret, I recognize that so much of my activity is wasted, chaotic. I dart from point to point, energized by panic, elation, worry, enthusiasm. Even my moods are frantic. I alternate between energy and lethargy. I wish for a sense of accomplishment but even at my most industrious, the work goes off in all directions.
Lord, grant me the willingness to discern right effort. Let my footfalls slow, let my steps be straight. If I am to go bit by bit, this is a greater task when I am gripped by mania then when under the gray weight of sloth.
Let me shed trivia. Direct my thoughts, feelings, words, and deeds toward useful ends.
I distract myself, in truth, to keep my spirit asleep. Awaken me.
Dear God, strip away, bit by bit, carefully and gently, the veneer I so wish to polish. My armor. The face I present to the world, my image, yea, even the face I present to myself. You remove it, piece by piece, and I stand naked in the sunlight on a bare plane.
My finery is in rags, a heap at my feet. My armor rusted in a pile. There is no tree behind which to step, no mound under which to duck. There I am, Lord, for all to see. For me to see myself clearly.
Make me ready to gaze upon all my weaknesses, faults, and transgressions. Let me see and accept my strengths and beauty.
Ignite the pile of costuming at my feet. Let it burn. The sun is shining and the climate warm. I will walk through it as a child of God.