can I be truly honest in prayer?

The words and forms of prayer may vary,
but the thoughts remain the same.
Help me. Increase my strength.
Make me wise. Heal me.
Inspire me. Restoreth my soul.
– Suzanne Slesin & Emily Gwathmey

Prayer is one sure conduit to God, a way to express who we truly are and who we truly want to be – if we are honest with ourselves and God. Even so, it is still frightening to reveal one’s true self to God. You would think not since He already knows, but in reality, we are revealing our true selves to us – we are looking at ourselves through the Love of God. If I am truly honest and I mean hold-nothing-back honest, then I will see what God sees – a poor soul who is nothing without Grace and Love. It is a scary prospect to be so real, so raw before God, or rather, before ourselves.


In my prayers I try to be honest about how I feel about myself or another person. It is not always easy. To be truly honest I have to admit to feelings of jealousy, anger, fear and all the other ugly emotions and opinions I don’t like to admit having. Having those feelings or emotions is not how I like to see myself.


Sometimes I get this trumped of feeling of spiritual superiority – like I am better than this person or that person because—because–well, just because I am me, a blessed child of God. Boy if that don’t beat all – imagine going before God, humbly, with that high opinion of myself and asking Him to bless me and mine.


Instead, I need to ask God to remind me I am no better nor worse than the man, woman or child standing next to me. God loves us all equally and without reservation and favors no one person over another. It may seem that one person may have God’s blessing while another doesn’t, but I don’t know what has gone on in the prayer closet of that person that has allowed the Universe to respond positively with riches.


In God’s epic graciousness, I am always forgiven for my frailties and my pride. And like God, I must learn to forgive myself, thereby learning to forgive others their faults. It is easy to pray the Lord’s Prayer – “forgive them their trespasses as You forgive ours” – it is way harder to live it.


So my thought, my prayer for this day is –thank you God for that in Your Eyes and Heart I am no better nor worse than anyone else. That I am loved equally as the rest of creation. And that I need Your help to be totally honest with You because in reality I need to be totally honest with myself.

 

Night of silent prayerNight of Silent Prayer by Ridha H. Ridha

**Please note, I will not be posting for a few days as I have an unexpected trip out of town. I will start posting again mid-week. Thank you for reading!**

Weaver God, weave my life into Yours

Weaver God, we come to you, or more the truth
– you find us, disconnected and out of sorts.
We are disheartened by our failures,
discouraged by our weakness and
little that we do seems worthy of your grace.
Restore our fortunes. Restore our future.
Weave for us the tapestry on which our lives are stretched.
Give us patience with the endless back and forth of shuttle, hand and effort.
We look too closely, seeing only strands and knots and
snarled threads of too-much-trying or none-at-all.
Grant us eyes to see the whole of which we are a part.
In the end, we ask for gentleness with ourselves,
acceptance of our less than perfect ways.
We pray that what we do and what you weave form patterns clear to all,
of mercy in the warp of it, and love throughout. –
Pat Kozak & Janet Schaffran

There is not much to be added to the above prayer. It is one that beautifully illustrates all of our lives as we dedicate ourselves –  myself to God each day. I am coming to learn, even after all this time, after many years in the service of God, that renewal is a daily thing. There is no such thing as putting away God’s Grace for tomorrow. And even though I have heard it all of my spiritual life and even as it has made sense to me in my earlier incarnations as an Evangelic, Baptist, Methodist and Episcopalian and I have said ‘Amen’ to the preacher’s words, it makes even more sense to me now.


But I suppose that is the way of things, that each thing I learn, I learn again and again, each time with a bit more understanding, a bit more clarity. For what is clear to me today was not necessarily clear to me 10 years ago, ten days ago and even ten hours ago. I am coming to the understanding that spiritual growth is like the proverbial onion, with each layer pulled off there are tears and understanding and I get a little closer to the Truth of the Majesty of God.


On a different, but related note…yesterday I found myself being catty and petty toward a person with whom I have a dispute. I have prayed for understanding on my part, and prayed for grace and strength to deal with the person. And even as I was being petty, making a petty statement, doing a petty thing, I found myself saying to me, “Don’t be petty. Be gracious and loving.” But I let myself have the indulgence of being petty.


And I admit it felt good – for about a moment or so. Then I felt bad, I had said words that could never be rescinded, words that hurt. The person I said them about wasn’t there, but someone else was. The words I spoke hurt the person who was there and they hurt me. Not in a conscious way, but in a subtle, spiritual way. Instead of using the opportunity to show the Grace of God, to allow Her Grace to flow through me, I chose – willingly chose – to stop the flow of Grace and Love. And that action hurt not only me and the person one who heard me.


In the great tapestry of my life yesterday’s error was a broken thread, now knotted as the shuttle moves on – and I must forgive myself as I have asked for forgiveness. And hopefully, having learned from this error, that even small words can hurt a soul and dam up the flow of Grace; having learned that, I return my focus to the larger tapestry and am gentle with myself as God is with me.

 

Out Like an Onion  by Elin Pendleton

talking to God

Every man prays in his own language,
and there is no language that God does not understand.
–Duke Ellington

Sometimes I talk to God out loud. But more often than not, I speak to Him silently or through the written word. Contrary to my current profession, I don’t like to talk all that much. Oh, I do go on sometimes with my mom or a friend, but for the most part I remain silent. I even have to remind myself to speak to my cats because of the way they respond to the sound of my voice – I think they equate my voice with the nuturing and love.

 

How does God speak to you? Does She speak through the cries or laughter of a child? Is it a whisper in the rustling of trees swaying with the wind? For some, God speaks through music, with the swelling of the brass or the plaintive, exquisitely painful notes of the strings.

 

How do you speak to God? A quick, silent thank you for a blessing? Singing aloud, regardless of if you sing like an angel or can’t carry a tune in the proverbial bucket? Do you speak to God through art – through painting, sculpture, writing?

 

All of these are valid means with which to talk to God. When Duke Ellington said “everyman prays in his own language” I don’t think he was just talking about dialect or different languages. As a premier jazz artist, I am quite sure he sp0ke to God daily through the piano keys and God heard him.

 

Sometimes there are no words for what must be said. Sometimes there are only feelings, an intimation of what we want to say but don’t know how. Sometimes we simply don’t have the words to say what we need to but God hears our hearts beating and both the joy and the pain that courses through our souls.

 

In the lifting of our hearts to God, we pray, we talk and if we are careful enough, we can hear what She has to say.

 

 

 

Keys #2 by Debra Hurd