Dear God, my faults and failures lie most vexingly in what I do not do, the actions I fail to take, the words I fail to speak.
This path you bid me to walk, it does not consist solely of restriction; it also carries with it obligations.
Lord, let me not content myself with avoiding wrong. Let me act and speak as you would have me do.
Dear God, once I begin to sweep the floor of my dwelling, I see ever more debris. These surfaces will never be fully clean.
Lord, my efforts to live as you would have me will always fall short; let my attempt nonetheless be my mark of devotion.
Let every effort be its own prayer.
Dear God, insert your will into my thoughts. Guide my feet, hands, and tongue today.
Let me go where you would have me go, do what you would have me do, say what you would have me say.
Let me strain to hear your soft voice leading me. I too often seek out clamor and distraction. Of what use am I then?
Let me be your instrument.
Dear God, at dawn, kneeling in the soft earth of a vegetable garden, tending new growth, can I feel you over my shoulder? These monotonous chores are not always approached with a glad heart.
Lord, let me bring devotion to the most ordinary parts of a day of obligation. Let me sweep, repair, and clean with complete attention.
You watch your child try his best to find and do your will, and even in his clumsy efforts you way smile warmly.
Dear God, these plans circulating through my mind make me ever more frantic. Under their lash, I misperceive your gifts.
I come before you begging for strength to match my intentions. Where then is my acceptance of your will? What room do I leave for obedience?
Lord, let me abandon the self-writ tragedy of my small plans. Let me seek and follow your direction.
Dear God, I feel assailed. Behind on my obligations, judged, under scrutiny.
These others who look at me, how can I know what is in their hearts? Might they see me fondly?
Let me, Lord, gaze back at them with fellow-feeling. Let me love what I fear today.
Dear God, which road?
So many have trod down the wrong walkways that now their entrances are inviting and broad. Nearby, the track that leads to a high vista lies behind a bramble and is stony.
Lord, let me choose aright. Let me enter and walk along the harder path with good cheer. Place my feet, establish my walking, sweep away the debris that I may not turn my ankle.
Dear God, my day, even when alone, is filled with speech. Words flow through my thoughts as I consider what I may say or did say or should say or must not say. These are clouds that spread, dim, obscure.
O Lord, let my hands grasp and pull, let my feet step along my march. Let me not hide my works behind chatter. Let me not drown out your quiet whispers of guidance and leave myself rudderless.
At day’s end, will your will for me have been to talk, or will it have been to act in love? Let me, then, not rob the time I have for deeds.
Dear God, you cultivate me. My roots grasp the soil you have prepared. My view is the one where you planted me. My weak limbs unfurl and sun warms my fresh skin — I am more greatly rooted, I grow stronger. I bear fruit that others pick as they wander by on unknowable errands.
O, Lord, for what did you plant me? I am one in a vast orchard, producing sweet fruit yet simply ordinary. The shade I provide is for a moment and depends wholly on your sunshine to exist.
When dead, let my burning body warm the hearth of a peaceful home.
All this life, dear Lord, from a small stalk shooting from a simple spot. Let these infinite stories of faithful help, hidden in my roots, flourish under the warm rains.
Dear God, let me breathe in this air with which you surround me. The ground beneath my feet supports me; let me stand firm upon it. It rains; let me throw my head back and drink.