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September 22nd, 2008

Prayer : And Yet, Lord, You Are Near

Lord is near

Lord, it’s so easy to give in.
To let the clouds gather
dark and threatening,
whipped up by the winds of my own fear.
Mists of my own making
blotting out the light and warmth of your presence.
So easy, in mouth-dry anxiety,
to feel alone.
Abandoned. Unprotected.

To roll in nettlebeds of self-pity,
the pain spreading as vision contracts,
until my horizon is described
by the jangled nerve endings of my despair.

Estranged. Alien.
Each accustomed act, new,
unknown, frightening.

And yet, Lord, you are near.
I hold on to your promise
„For I am with you, always.”
Always. Unconditional.
Words echoing
through the deep caverns of my doubt,
sometimes distant, sometimes near.
I reach out
feeling in the dark for reassurance.
And we meet. Touch.
Your hand held out too. First.
I hold on, warming my cold, fearful fingers
in the glow of your presence.
I hear your voice,
speaking my language.
Words I understand.
And I realise
there are no stange lands to you.
Your presence everywhere.
Your presence, home.
Thank you.

September 22nd, 2008

Prayer of St. Teresa of Avila



Prayer to Teresa of Avila

Thou knowest better than I myself
that I am growing older and will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking
I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

Release me from craving to
straighten out everybody’s affairs.

Make me thoughtful but not moody;
helpful but not bossy.

With my vast store of wisdom,
it seems a pity not to use it all;
but Thou knowest, Lord,
that I want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
give me wings to get to the point.

Seal my lips on my aches and pains;
they are increasing, and love of rehearsing them
is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

I dare not ask for improved memory,
but for a growing humility and a lessening cock-sureness
when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.

Keep me reasonably sweet, for a sour old person
is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places
and talents in unexpected people;
and give, O Lord, the grace to tell them so.

– – – prayer by St. Teresa of Avila

September 22nd, 2008

Conversation With God As He Explains The Lord’s Prayer

Prayer_A real conversation with God

Ever wonder what prayer would be like if it was answered during the prayer?  Would you be shocked, embarrassed, annoyed,thrilled, or speechless? Think about how you might respond if this were to happen:

Our Father, Who Art In Heaven.
Don’t interrupt me.  I’m praying.
But…  you called me!
Called you?  No, I didn’t call you.  I’m praying.  Our Father who art in Heaven…
There…  you did it again.
Did what?
Called me.  You said, “Our Father, who art in Heaven.” Well, here I am.  What’s on your mind?
But I didn’t mean anything by it.  I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day.  I always say the Lord’s Prayer.  It makes me feel good, kind of like fulfilling a duty.
Well, all right.  Go on.
Okay.  Hallowed be Thy name…
Hold it right there.  What do you mean by that?
By what?
By “Hallowed be Thy name”?
It means… good grief, I don’t know what it means.  How in the world should I know?  It’s just a part of the prayer.  By the way, what does it mean?
It means honored, holy, wonderful.
Ah, that makes sense.  I never thought about what hallowed meant before.  Thanks.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven…
Do you really mean that?
Sure, why not?
What are you doing about it?
Doing?  Why, nothing, I guess.  I just think it would be good if you got control of everything down here like you have up there. We’re kind of in a mess down here you know.
Yes, I know; but have I got control of you?
Well, I go to church.
That isn’t what I asked you.  What about your bad temper? You’ve really got a problem there, you know.  And what about some of the language you use and the stuff you talk about?  What about your impatience with others and thinking that you’re better than they are?  What about the people you’ve judged?  Remember, that’s MY job, not yours.
Now hold on just a minute!  Stop picking on me!  I’m just as good as some of the rest of those people at church!
Excuse me?  I thought you were praying for MY will to be done?  If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it… like you, for example.
Oh, all right.  I guess I do have some issues.  Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.
So could I.
I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things.  I would like to… you know, be really free.
Good.  Now we’re getting somewhere.  We’ll work together, you and me.  I’m proud of you.

Look, Lord, if you don’t mind, I need to finish up here.  This is taking a lot longer than it usually does. Give us this day, our daily bread…
You need to cut out some of the bread.  You’re a little over- weight as it is.
Hey, wait a minute!  What is this?  Here I am doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my problems.
Praying is a dangerous thing.  You could end up changed, you know. That’s what I’m trying to bring across to you. Remember, you called me; and here I am.  It’s too late to stop now.  Keep praying.

Well, go on.
I’m scared to.
Scared?  Of what?
I know what you’ll say.
Try me and see.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…
What about Susan and others who have done you wrong?
See… I knew it!  I knew you would bring her up!  Why, Lord? She’s told lies about me and spread stories.  She never paid back the money she owes me.  I’ve sworn to get even with her!
But… your prayer.  What about your prayer?
I didn’t, you know, really mean it.
Well, at least you’re honest.  But it’s quite a load carrying around all that bitterness and resentment, isn’t it?
Yes, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even with her.  Boy, have I got some plans for her.  She’ll wish she had never been born!
No, you won’t feel any better.  You’ll feel worse.  Revenge isn’t sweet.  You know how unhappy you are.  Well, I can change that.
You can?  How?
Forgive Susan. Then I’ll forgive you; and the hate and sin will be Susan’s problem, not yours.  You will have settled the problem as far as you are concerned.
OK… you know… you’re right.  You always are.  And more than I want revenge, I want to be right with You.  (Sigh)… All right, all right… I forgive her.
There now!  Wonderful!  How do you feel?
Hmm.  Well… not bad.  Not bad at all!  In fact, I feel pretty good!  You know, I don’t think I’ll be going to bed all uptight tonight.  I haven’t been getting much sleep lately, you know.
Yeah, I know.  But you’re not through with your prayer, are you?  Go on.

Oh, all right.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…
Good!  Good!  I’ll do that.  Just don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.
What do you mean by that?
You know what I mean.
Yeah, I know.
OK.  Go ahead and finish your prayer.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
Do you know what would bring me glory and what would really make me happy?
No, but I would like to know.  I want to please you now.  I’ve really made a mess of things.  I want to truly follow you.  I can see now how great that would be.  So tell me… how do I make you happy?
You just did.

Read Prayer taught by Jesus Christ

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