Prayers

Every Saturday morning, I sit alone, pen poised over my journal, and attempt to write a prayer.

It is a discipline that I have not mastered. My words falter and fall flat on the page.

Then, as I pray my newly-written prayer in the days that follow, I edit, crossing out whole sections or single words, trying to form the sighs of my heart into something utterable. I know that when I can’t, the Spirit will intercede for me. (Romans 8:26)

P is for prayer.

I pulled out my journal to look at the prayers I had written during those last weeks with my mother.

On the day after she went in the hospital, this is all I had —

You, God, are amazing.
I am not.
Thank you for Your presence and Your help.
Hold me,
Help me,
Heal me and mine.

I never changed a word of it. Maybe it was all I could do to pray it. By the next Saturday, she was gone.

And I struggled.

The next time I wrote, I filled two pages with prayer words, but then crossed out and wrote over much of it. By the end of the week, I had two prayers where I had begun with one.

Prayer A —

Lord, I don’t know what to pray.

My mother is gone.

My father is so sad.

Like a small child riding the up-and-down of a carousel pony,
I need someone to hold my hand.

Will You?

Prayer B —

Almighty Father –
You set into motion the cycles through which we live
– the turning of our planet
– its orbit around the sun
– the rising and falling tides
– the four seasons
– the water cycle
– the respiration of plants
– the respiration of animals
– the breath of a human being
from first cry at birth
to last breath at death
– decomposition

Every breath — the inhale, the exhale —
is part of Your plan,
part of a cycle

So, Lord, with profound gratitude
and amazement
I will live this day
And breathe these breaths
ordained for me.

I will ride this turning planet
orbiting around the sun

And thank You.

Amen

*****

Prayer is a mystery.

Writing prayers even more so.

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7 thoughts on “Prayers

  1. I probably should not comment since I am not a believer, but prayer A seems so heartfelt and I could feel the pain and loss as I read it. Prayer B is much more formal, like those I remember from the Episcopal prayer service.

  2. They are all beautiful, from your heart. Remember though, psalm 139 – we are fearfully and wonderfully made – we are children of God, you too are wonderful.

    I’m sorry for your loss.
    Blessings,
    Laurie

  3. Sally,
    I’m impressed. Writing poems is a challenge, but prayers seem even more difficult. What a great discipline and way to grow in faith. Keep writing them and sharing them too!

  4. It really is hard to write prayer. You did a beautiful job of it though – your prayers had so much passion in them. Thank you for sharing something so tender.

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