Good morning, friends! It is a rare day when I get to sit before the Lord in silence anymore, but this morning that glittery unicorn came my way! Jesus and I always have this conversation where I apologize for not taking more time with Him. I don't want to offer empty "I love yous," but life these days seems to afford little time for quiet dates in front of the tabernacle like it used to, and that makes me a little sad. Heaven forbid I simply utter "Lord, Lord" with my mouth but don't live a life that proves my love.
I know, I know. I don't have to prove my love. But you know what I mean. When you love someone, you don't just want to whisper empty promises and sweet nothings. They're okay for a hot second, but they don't feed a growing relationship. Aaaaand...now you know where I am in my own spiritual walk. Desperately wanting to grow, but feeling overwhelmed and distant. Does that qualify as "it's complicated" on Facebook?
This isn't my first time at this rodeo though. When I have been here before, my spiritual director reminded me that it isn't always the grand gestures that demonstrate the depth of our love - the hours gazing into each other's eyes, the long dinners, the weekends away. Again, they are nice and sometimes necessary to rekindle that spark, but she reminded me that it is in the everyday mess of life, in the the small and quiet gestures that the work of love is done and grown.
That always gives me comfort, and it reminded me of how much I loved reading Ann Spangler's book, "Sitting at the Foot of the Rabbi Jesus." In it, she described the cycle of prayer throughout the day that is prescribed in the Jewish faith. Our own Liturgy of the Hours is fashioned after it. Now, I don't know about you, but mama ain't got the time or brainpower to sit down to pray each hour of the liturgy. I do have time to offer up small prayers throughout the day though.
In my Hindu world, mantras were a big deal and way to connect ourselves with the divine. "Om, Shanti" is one that I recall hearing quite a bit, which translates roughly to praying for peace. Transfering that to my life in Christ, I have what I call breath prayers that sustain me through my day. Here are five that I love dearly (and will be coming to the shop as a new pack of Pocket Prayers!):
- ONE -
Sometimes, we just have to admit that it isn't well at the moment. Still, we hope and in faith have confidence that it will all end well because Jesus said so. So in those moments where things are not so peachy, this gem from Julian of Norwich gets me through, even if it is prayed in question form. Jesus gets it.
- TWO -
Do you ever have those days where you think the odds are NOT ever in your favor? There are days it definitely feels like I am under attack, or I just can't seem to get it together. Breathing in while saying this prayer helps me to readjust my focus. Sometimes I have to say it repeatedly because I'm slow some days.
- THREE -
This is a more recent prayer that came across my path. It was a prayer of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta. She's my homegirl after all, so it caught my eye. With all the things going on with my own mom's battle with stroke-induced dementia and the resulting role I've had to take on as caretaker of all her affairs, this is a dear prayer to me now, though it is often said mingled with some tears (choked back as they may be.)
- FOUR -
Many days, this is all I have - not wisdom, or understanding, or any small inkling of a clue - just a prayer placing my trust in His divine wisdom. I mean, sure, if He would like to show me what it all means and how it's all going to play out, who am I to say no? Mostly, I just keep going trusting that He will make good out of it all one day even if it stinks or is senseless now.
- FIVE -
I have to confess this one is on my lips frequently these days. With all that is going on in the world, and with the antics of my sweet yet trying children, a double scoop of mercy wouldn't be such a bad thing. It's easy to let all the news overwhelm us, or to let one bad evening of parenting send us in a downward spiral, but God's mercy is new every morning - every moment. It is there waiting for us, so I'm going to order that up realllll quick like.
Want to know few prayers that won't be part of a new Pocket Prayer Pack but are on my lips? Here are two on the opposite spectrum from one another.
1) Hail Mary full of grace, don't let me punch (him/her) in the face. Yeah - I didn't say it was eloquent or refined, did I?
2) Thank you, Jesus. I know people may think it silly to thank Him for the little things like not spilling the coffee onto my clothes or finding a spot to park, but nothing is too little for God, right? So why not thank Him for the little things that preserve my sanity?
How about you? What are the little prayers and conversations you have to connect you to God through the day? They don't have to be pretty - just real.
Until next time, be a star and light the darkness, friends!