Dear God, I hurl myself at the day, hoping that momentum and energy will overcome these perceived problems. Such a childish approach. And indeed what I imagined to be a day filled with problems is not that. In all the challenges that come my way in the course of the day, the problems are few. Maybe they do not even exist.
Lord, let me have precision. Let me not seek to overpower the day, but approach it with care. The right step well-placed, the right word spoken quietly, the right action well-timed.
Let me be meticulous, my expression of gratitude for your immeasurable gifts.
Dear God, I sit in this small room tucked away from the coming day. I hear the whisper of the fan, I feel my back rest against the wall, I feel my seat press upwards into my flesh. Here I am. Here you are, too.
Yet already I set my thoughts to hours and even days later. This same body will be there when tomorrow arrives and becomes today. This same self. Why do I behave, then, as if you will not be with me? You are here now, in this room.
Thoughts of tomorrow, of later, take me away from this room and my presence before you. The only place I am truly a part from you is in my imaginings. Why do I pursue them so? My planning and worry poison my soul.
Lord, let me dwell with you. Let me be here with you, in mind equally as in body.
Dear God, take me. Lead me by the nose through the day. I am an obstinate mule. I need reminding, and a firm hand.
Take me to the field where my labor lies. Set me to my task. My work will bear fruit, and I may never see nor notice, too busy digging up each furrow. I am too simple to see the bounty you are producing with my labor.
Bring me home at day’s end. I know you will care for me as one of your own. But, stubborn and willful, I escape and wander if any opportunity presents itself.
Lord, be firm with me today. Leave no room for doubt. Order my life.
Thy will be done.
Dear God, you reveal and reveal. I toil and plod, eyes downcast and fixed on my task. A shift in the light causes me to look up and I see. I see. Lord, you give me sight and what I see is of infinite interest, landscapes scratching to the horizon. I see how you, your love, rest underneath it all. It glows.
I distract myself with my rote task, and the view just as quickly vanishes. All I see is what is before me.
Lord, surprise me with revelation. Let me see beyond my laboring hands and trudging feet. Let me share the view with my fellows.
Dear God, let me not stop with simple kindness, nor graciousness. Let me go beyond these lazy minimums of polite interaction. I congratulate myself on being pleasant, as if this were a great task.
Lord, this grace that you have rained down upon me, in truth, overflows. My reservoirs are swollen and yet I guard this resource as if it were treasure. I encounter others, and am polite, yet I send them on their way still thirsty. They were parched, yet too fearful to ask for a cup. Some did not even know of their own need. Some had perhaps never tasted sweet, clear water.
And yet here I stand, a fortress of civility, aloof and smiling as if this countenance were a gift.
Lord, let me throw open my gates. Let me walk out to meet strangers, draw them in, sustain them, build them up, until I fear even my stores are exhausted. Only when my barrels are empty can they be filled. Will you send me more grace when it will only spill on the ground around me?
Let me pour out cup after cup as they come, these visitors.
Dear God, let me spread hope. I daily encounter others who seem to see themselves in a joyless world, a mechanical world of iron bars, clanking wheels, hard rain. Concrete. You, Lord, have changed my sight so this is not what I see, even as I walk the same ground.
I see a bud pushing through a crack in a cement pathway. I see new growth on charred trunks after a wildfire. I see a family of foxes taking shelter under an abandoned vehicle.
I see my fellows crying to one another, sharing warmth.
Lord, let what I see be seen by all. Grant me the words and deeds to convey the life springing up everywhere.
O the power, the slow power of your love that courses through the abundant life. The life is abundantly around me, and within me too, each of us, our days are abundant. Moment upon moment cascades upon me and each one is a universe of new opportunity. You shower me.
Lord. Let me call others to this vision you have laid upon me.
Dear God, I congratulate myself on how faithful in you I am, how dependent upon you I feel. In this way I twist what is good into a misshapen tangle, cloaking it in my defects. O Lord, I torment myself as I recognize how far I fall short. I imagine faith in you to be some virtue, and it is exactly at this point that it boomerangs and becomes a shortcoming. These defects, always the same, my constant bedevilments, persistent yet manifested in ever-new ways.
Let my dependence on you be pure: the desperation of the weak. Let me be weak, that I may lurch for your hand in gratitude, and not puff myself up with displays of piety.
God, set my hands to work. Grant me duty. Let effort drive out my pride and self-regard.
Dear God, you are sun shining down on me; you are armies arrayed behind me; you are a locomotive powering me forward. You are the force that inexorably causes the roots and branches of these trees to grow, to crush the sidewalk into rubble. You are power, my Lord, sitting here quietly with me in silence.
What shame and tragedy that I so often forget or deny this majestic force. I plan my actions as if you were absent.
Lord, let me align myself with your vast forces. Only I can get in the way of your aid to me, through denial, obstinateness, or distraction. Let me not distract myself with worry. Let me unleash you.
Dear God, I too quickly pick up every burden I see. I imagine that I am alone walking through this day. These things that must get done, these tasks that I am to perform – all up to me. I think of you as a source of solace, or serenity. Such a dim shadow of faith.
Let me instead have true dependence on you, dear Lord. Let me trust that you will provide, doing for me the things that I cannot do myself, arranging events to support my efforts, delivering reinforcements in those things that I cannot do singly.
When faced with a daunting task, let me not just wish for relief, but expect the aid that has always come – whether that aid be in the form of needed energy, assistance from other quarters, removal of the obligation or burden, or some other way I cannot imagine. Let this be my quiet assurance.
I see you too often as simply balm for my troubles. But the burdens and troubles remain. Let me, Lord, see you more substantially – as power. Let me, Lord, align myself with your will and quietly get to work knowing that you have already provided all that is needed.
Dear God, here, in the midst of my quiet fellowship with you, fear slips in like a thief. It robs me of everything, of faith, as I train all my thinking upon how I will escape calamity.
Lord, let me please see my fear rightly. It is not true that, if only I had greater faith, fear would never visit. No, you call me to have faith even in the face of fear. Indeed, I have many emotions all the while my faith abides. My devotion to you does not blot out my feelings – it accompanies them and makes me able to stand and walk even when I would cower.
Lord, let me listen while you direct my thoughts. Let me go where you call.