Dear God, let me look unsparingly at myself. I build illusions of good motives. I listen for, seek, and believe the praise of others. All so comforting.
In truth, O Lord, I am too often driven forward by selfishness, moved by fear, consumed, even, by resentment. Lord, remove these motives. Let me see them clearly.
Let me not fool myself.
God, let me place you at the center of my actions. Show me how I might do that. Shine grace upon me, as you have done before.
Dear God, is there enough? Do I have enough? Will there be enough? Am I enough?
O, Lord, these worries nip at me. I keenly feel my small stature in comparison to all that needs doing. My brothers and sisters ache — how could I possibly bring them relief, with so few of my own resources?
I listen for guidance, yet not intently enough. I hear only partially.
Lord, your will for me is hidden. I do not even know the questions to ask. I am a child who cannot yet talk, I need simple demonstrations. Show me, Lord. Pull me along by the wrist where you would have me be, make plain the tasks you would have me perform.
And grant me courage. I am so small. I cower inside my rooms, afraid of the sunlight. Let me emerge, let me feel warmth, let it move my limbs. Sunshine, your love, brings energy and life — let me drink it in and pass it on.
I shiver, when just a step away brings relief. Overpower my sullen will, Lord, move me. Drag me to safety, even as I obstinately cling to these cold stones. Roll me over into the light, flip me on my back, let the sunshine warm my chest and face.
This is your love, your power brings ease even to the spent. Let me spread the news.
Dear God, let me be an oasis. Let me attract with my cool water, shade, soft earth. Let those who come find rest and be restored.
The harsh sunlight beats down so many. They are exposed, raw, restless. They cover their heads in rags and slow to a crawl.
Let me offer cool water, O Lord. Let me offer shade.
Many fear the sun, yet you have constructed me to thrive in the light. Look down upon me; the more exposed I am the more erect I stand. How did this happen, when before I, too, shrank from such exposure?
Lord, you granted me grace to see how nourishing is your sunlight. I walk under the same light as do all. As they come to rest with me, Lord, let me pass on your love.
If you are love, then love is You. Let me pass on love, that all who walk in the desert may see it with new eyes.
We are your desert people, Lord. This landscape is indeed a wonder to behold and contains unimagined life. Show it to me, that I may share with my brothers and sisters.
Dear God, let me do more than intended. Let me act in each moment, holding back nothing. Your will for me is to sow love, I know this. You litter my days with opportunity to shine your love all around. Holding aloft a lantern. In every room there are corners to be lit. Let me be the one to do so.
Yet I hold back. I pace myself. I protect myself. I choose which deeds to pursue and which not, when to act and when to rest. O the willfulness, expressed as inertia and reluctance.
Lord, let me meet your will. If you call me to spread love then let me do so without cease. In small matters and large, Lord, let me enthusiastically pass on your good news, your love, your light.
I think I hold the lantern; yet let me be the lamp itself. You fashioned me; let me express the will of my maker.
Dear God, will you burn away all resentment, all self-righteousness, all self-pity? I judge my surroundings so harshly, and thus cheapen your glorious works. These things I wish to change, they are gifts prepared just for me. And yet I judge. Such a hideous act.
Lord, let me breathe in love, and breathe it out again. Over and over.
Where I would judge, let me love. Where I would dwell on my justified self-pity, let me love. Where I would puff myself up with prideful self-righteousness – let me, after all, love.
All around me, even in a solitary room, are infinite opportunities for curiosity. Let me look with fascination on what you have created. Let me welcome each creature that enters my sight.
Lord, O Lord, make me the person that you would have me be.
Dear God, I arrange my life and affairs so carefully. Consistency and comfort, security and ease. I beam with pride at the structure thus built. Look! No winds blow the walls over; no intruder can open the window.
You kick it all over like a pile of sticks, and I scurry to re-stack them.
Let me become willing to learn the lessons you teach. How will you enter my life today? What next will you call me to do? Surely it is not something already on my agenda. Let me view the blowing winds with calm interest.
Let me, Lord, embrace every new challenge you send to me. You are filing away my rough edges, polishing me smooth, building new strengths. How could I possibly deserve such loving attention and care? Yet too often, I regard your love and tests as intrusion and calamity.
Your way may be hard and stony, but you lead me along it that I may look upon other difficult pathways with equanimity.
Let me see rightly.
Dear God, my unruly mind desires to complicate what is simple. You speak to me and direct me in such clear ways. Yet I persist in imagining your will to be shrouded in mist, only dimly visible.
I wonder: What would you have me do, O Lord? I call out: What lesson do you teach me with this trial?
These questions are reflections of my prideful nature. I want the world to be a puzzle. This gives me an object toward which to direct my intellect and ego.
Yet the answers to my questions are simple and constant. I know your will, for you shout it into my secret heart. I know your lesson, for you teach it to me over and over, in ways alternately stern and gentle.
Your will: Spread love. Your lesson: Erase self.
What more, O Lord, do I need to know?
Let me, my sweet ruler, be the best servant and student that I can be.
Let me, my sweet Lord, spread love and efface my self as I do.
Thy will be done!
Dear God, let me be kind and welcoming to all. Let me draw others to me, open up my rooms to them, salve their wounds, cheer their melancholy, wash their feet.
You call me to love my fellows. Let me do so as if – as is so – this is your explicit instruction. When reticent or tired, indeed especially at such times, let me throw open the gates and shout welcome.
I so often protect myself, remain idle and aloof. I congratulate myself on absence of transgression and living an orderly life. But how, Lord, does this help others and spread your love? It does not.
Grant me the willingness to go beyond, to enter your realm of unselfish, giving love. O what a task! Let me persist in it.
Dear God, what do I have to offer you? So little. My shortcomings stand in the way of being an effective instrument: too selfish, too fearful, too idle. I see how far I have to go.
Yet you warm me nonetheless. Your tasks are never so difficult as I fear, and it seems that once I make the smallest beginning you smile.
Lord, could it be that all you seek from me is willingness? If that is so, my Lord, let me throw off my obstinate, mulish immobility. Let me take the first step in all tasks you call me to do. A halting, slow first step.
Let my footfalls toward you be demonstrations of my willingness. Let me walk despite my fears of how long the road may be. Who can know the duration of the journey you beckon me to take? It may indeed be momentary. You are simply asking me to try.
O Lord, I make of you such a stern figure, and yet you love me so sweetly. Let my eyes open to how unconditionally forgiving you are.
Dear God, let me take joy in the limitations you impose upon me. I desire idleness and to be unrestrained. I would gladly drift through the day like a cloud in the breeze, dissipating, finally, with nothing to show nor any trace of my existence.
You, Lord, have sprung up within me and given my inner workings purpose. You structure my thought life, my actions, my days. You present me with obligation and challenge – and my reaction first is that of a sullen child. I resist. Yet inexorably you impose conditions that move me. I submit to your will and, once I do, your glories spring up around me.
When I act as you would have me do, when I clearly see the world around me, when I take up the discipline you offer – joy enters. I would not expect this and it yet surprises me.
Lord, let me remember: my chief satisfactions come when I seek to usefully do your will. When lazy, when I would shirk, when selfishly seeking only my own aims, let me remember this. Jar me into recollection.
Today, Lord, let me take up your yoke and sing with joy at the opportunity to labor in your fields.