Friday, February 28, 2014

Prayer and Its Many Purposes

I have been asked to write prayers for the daily devotion book, Bread for the Day, again this year.  In fact, the due date is today, so this week, I've returned to the project multiple times. 

Before yesterday's difficult meeting, I did one last revision.  In many ways, it's the perfect way to prepare for a difficult meeting:  work on a different project that reminds me that there are other items that are important to me. 

As I sat in the difficult meeting, I not only prayed about the topics at hand (declining enrollment and all the issues that ensue), but I also prayed for those present.  At times we seemed so angry.  At times I expected people to pound on the table.  I wanted to curl up in a ball beneath the table.

I prayed.  I prayed for the owners of those angry voices.  And some part of brain protested over all this fuss over something so ephemeral.

I thought of a colleague who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  She doesn't have much longer to live.  She would not be sitting in a meeting about the stuff that doesn't really matter.

I have Ash Wednesday on the brain.  We are dust, returning to dust far more quickly than most of us realize.  We are wasting precious, precious time.

This morning I returned to the prayer project to type in the final version of the prayers.  I discovered that I had written a few extras.  And so, I'm happy to post an extra prayer here.  Maybe you have a day of many meetings.  Maybe you have a day of difficult diagnoses.  May this prayer meet your needs.

Consoling God, we are quivering creatures filled with doubt and wounded by many pains.  We want to believe in your Easter promises, but in our worldly tombs, we quickly forget.  Strip every doubt from us.  Roll the stone away.