Dear God, I work so energetically at arranging my prayers to you just so. Are the words right, do I ask for the right things? Will these phrases bring me closer to you?
This is my self-importance speaking. For whom are these flowery words, after all? I utter them as if they are intended for an audience.
Lord, let me pray forthrightly. Let me not dress myself up in finery.
God, help me today.
Dear God, I do not even see, or notice, the gifts raining down upon me. I look for elation and excitement, and when my emotions fall short I perceive myself as being in the midst of trial. This excitement I seek, Lord, is its own kind of fixation. I so quickly abandon today’s experience because it seems familiar, in favor of tomorrow’s unknown. In this way, I throw away gift after gift, treasure after treasure.
Lord! Let me look around with clear eyes. The empty spaces in my day, far from being markers of dullness, are your greatest acts of grace. You provide time and space for my soul to heal and ease.
Lord, let me grow to live a life beyond the constant desire for excitement. Let me recognize peace for what it is, and not cast it aside unappreciated.
Let me be grateful today, Lord, for all these quiet gifts.
Dear God, let me be passive today. One who receives. Let me not make waves as I move through the day, let me harm no one.
When you assign my day’s burdens, let me not grumble nor gossip. Let me attract no notice. If I am recalled, let it be for my good cheer and willing labor.
Dear God, I say to myself that I live a life of you. I say to myself that I seek your guidance. I say to myself that I try to do your will in all things. Thus I fool myself.
Sitting here, quietly, do I truly seek you? Or do I simply sit, as if stillness itself will bring some virtue? In truth, it is more the latter.
I am faced with decisions and acts all throughout the day, yet I seek your voice only seldom. Why do I think answers will come in the quiet dawn, and not in the heat of action?
I ask when I do not need.
Lord, let me more completely rely upon you. Let me give every moment over to you. Let me fill even the most crowded times with efforts to reach you. Let me not be so precious with my worship, requiring the proper seat, setting, and attitude. Let my devotion become robust, powerful. Let my voice call out to you at all times, even from battle.
Lord, visit me as I seek to visit you.
Dear God, I closet myself away, devoted to you, far from the rushing world. I seek you in solitude, alone, cloaked in silence. This time, these dim pools of light, feel sacred.
Yet, my sweet Lord, where are you?
You are among us, between us, with us. You walk in between me and my fellows, stepping in and out of our groupings, interceding, speaking, whispering. Guiding. Loving.
With people is where I shall seek you today, Lord. Not alone and aloof, but in constant intercourse with the world and its inhabitants. You are no theoretical force but my tangible companion.
Let me circulate today, Lord, seeking you.
Dear God, let me quietly make myself ready. Let me seek and seek, until I draw nearer to you with ease. Let me deny self over and over again, until I am empty and thus able to be filled. Let me give and give, past the point of comfort, until providing for my fellows and even strangers becomes second nature.
Lord, this path is hard. Yet it strengthens my ability to do your will. It makes me ready.
Let me become your implement, hidden in a drawer, outwardly unremarkable. Faded handle, plain markings. Yet set me to work and see how sharp is my edge, how strong is the material from which I am fashioned, how clean are my work surfaces due to daily care. Let me be that plain, sharp knife, O Lord. That straight measure. Here I am, a tool at the ready, resting until needed.
Lord, let me become ready for you to use me in this world.
Dear God, I sit still and wait for guidance. Listening, listening. So often, Lord, I hear nothing. I am left wondering which way to go, with no clear guidance. And the trials of the world, they enter and weigh on me.
Here in my rooms, even as I seek you, I feel so alone, tested, vulnerable. Have you left me? Will you not save me?
My body impels me forward. I breathe, without conscious intention but inexorably. Hunger drives me to eat, thirst to drink. I walk, I move. On these days, Lord, you give me a path forward: to do that which I must, even if the bare minimum.
And then the skies open with sunlight. In the midst of subsistence, someone else crosses my path. They have needs that I can fulfill.
I see, Lord, that you have spared me and my energies for these moments. Your guidance is to wait and trust – I will yet be useful to others. I will yet be able to spread love.
Lord, let me maintain myself, a sharpened tool in your cabinet. Let me be ready and act when you call me to action.
Dear God, what do I owe? You have pulled me up out of despair, you grant me support, you provide me with life and means to survive. You deliver me a family and a community of whom to be a fellow.
And yet you ask of me nothing. These things are gifts of grace. How, then, shall I respond? Shall I hoard these things for some imagined future of need? Shall I squander them on driving through my selfish day?
Lord. Lord. Let me pass on your bounty. Let me share every resource, even and especially those I fear are limited. Let me loan away my money, give away my treasure, devote all my time, expend every energy – all in demonstrating your graceful love.
Let me promote others’ work. Let me build up others’ spirits. Let me teach those who do not yet know. Let me protect the vulnerable. Let me throw open the doors of my home and set my table with food for all comers.
You give to me. I misperceive my life as filled with limitation and thus I encounter wall after wall. Let me see the treasures you have provided and recognize how they are in fact offered for others.
Let me give and give again.
Dear God, I disappoint myself in so many ways. I fall short in my tasks. I garner too little praise. My status does not grow as I inwardly wish.
Above all, Lord, I rely insufficiently upon you. I grow too far from you. I look around at this world and I seek tangible satisfaction here. I forget, deny, that all this is illusion.
Lord, let me set aside these worldly cares. Let me center my efforts on improving my relationship with you. Let me seek your will and do it with energy and enthusiasm.
Let me forget these failures and shortcomings. These impressions are symptoms of my self-regard. I place myself at the center of the cosmos and as a sure result I become subject to the evaluations of those around me. Let me, Lord, place you in the center, as you are already. Let me see through the illusions that cloud my thinking.
Dear God, when I fear what will unfold, it is because I do not see myself rightly.
I know this: I face uncertainty today and I worry how things will turn out, as if I controlled the course of events. What needs controlling, instead, is my perspective and thoughts. I act as if I live a life of humble acceptance yet, inwardly, I strive and strive. I try to wield influence. I cower in fear that my failures will become known.
Lord, cure my thoughts. Let me become a child, trying his best to fulfill simple tasks – yet too young, still, to know how. We see such children, and do not judge. They are learning. Let me be learning. Let me view myself with compassion.
Lord, let me call upon you in the moments that I am to face. It is all too easy to seek you in the quiet dawn, but that is not when I truly need you. At dawn, I worry and you sooth me. But solace is not of any real worth – it is only a balm. Grant me your presence in the heat of the day, O Lord. Visit me in the midst of action.
Today, now, in the worried morning, let me anticipate that you will meet my needs with supply. Let me have this trust, like a child. Let me be your child.