Thursday, September 19, 2013

Weird prayers from my lips: On praying for specific graces

Blessed are we, when we see our weaknesses, and they remind us to go to God for strength.

With little kids underfoot, I amy faced with my own weaknesses constantly. My flesh that wants to sink into selfish luxury is simply not allowed to do so in this place. No, says my vocation, you may not have five minutes alone to organize your thoughts. Not yet.

But I need. . . five minutes peace, but no, even more than that—the help of God to order my thoughts and desires, calm my spirit, and teach me to love.  Teach me to pray.

Eternal Spirit of the living Christ,
I know not how to ask or what to say;
I only know my need, as deep as life,
and only you can teach me how to pray.

First, the Word of God, His love for me; His love in me;
And secondly, my vocation; this work laid out in front of me, where neighbors live for loving: these things make up the content of my prayers.

Heavenly Father, as I live as your loved child today, please give me the love I need for the specific challenges I will face.  Equip me for challenges both without and within, that I may be your hands of grace to those around me.

That—being God’s hands of grace to those around me—seems utterly impossible sometimes. I could more likely win the Chicago marathon than rise to that standard. To love and serve and give of oneself all the time; to see as God sees, and not with selfish, tired eyes: the standard is high, indeed.

Yet God welcomes my prayers, and is pleased when I see my deep need and run to Him for strength. He loves me first, gives me forgiveness and eternal life by grace, and then (grace upon grace!) He provides the specific graces I need to live as His child in this place each day.

I’ve begun to pray for those specific graces lately. And my prayers sound quite strange to my ears, but it cheers me to know God hears them.

I need skin grace.
God, grant me grace to be driven on, poked, fondled; grace to carry a child on my ankle, to be hugged, kissed, often, at weird times, and in odd places (My calf, really? My arm fat?); grace to have a lap fought over that does not turn to a lap CLOSED in frustration.  I need grace when he puts his matchbox car down my dress during the Lord’s Prayer.

I need grace-filled ears.
Father, grant me ears that interpret things graciously; ears that hear individual needs and do not simply react m to the cacophany of noise and needs blaring through this house.  I need ears that can distinguish disobedience from exhaustion or frustration; ears that hear the real hurt behind the cry, ears so sharp that they can hear even the worry behind the silence.

I need open, nurturing hands.
God, give me hands that consent to be held even when I’m carrying ten other things; hands that don’t grab shoulders in frustration, but hands that are guided by a heart in control of itself before it tries to control the little people. I need hands that wash dishes quickly, and dry quickly so they can be used to scratch a back, read a book, or brush a tangled head of hair.

I need a mouthful of grace.
Lord, grant me a mouth ready to speak Your Word, to sing Your songs.  Teach me to faithfully share Your Word in this house, both Law and Gospel, that we all may grow in faith toward you and in fervent love toward one another.

I need on-the-spot grace.
Lord, provide for the unexpected and changing needs of this day.  Please give me patience for the spills and the lost shoes; muscles that can handle a trampoline wrestling match; compassion for the owies; a strong spirit to fight defiance; a quiet heart for storytime and snuggles; and a charged Kindle for the waiting room.

Into Your Hands
Father, this is my body; may it be given for those around me; for this family. My stretched belly was only a beginning.  As they grow, so does the burden of this work of love.  Too often I pull back; I count the cost; I attempt to conserve something meant to be given.  Yet as they grow, Your provision grows. Oh, give me eyes to see, and a heart to love!

Thank You, Father, for loving me first, and fully. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Come, pray in me the prayer I need this day;
help me to see your purpose and your will
where I have failed, what I have done amiss;
held in forgiving love, let me be still.

Come with the strength I lack, the vision clear
of neighbor's need, of all humanity;
fulfillment of my life in love outpoured;
my life in you, O Christ; your love in me.

What specific graces do you need this week?

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful! I love how you put your everyday needs into such lovely prayers. The hymn you referenced is also a fantastic reminder that we don't have to always have just the right words or the right prayer. It's ok, not to know what to pray for, it's the conversation that's important.
    My specific graces this week are for patience. Too much of my life is in a hurry. Lord, help me to slow down, keep my tongue, wait for the words to be delivered, the plane to arrive, the decisions to be made. And thank you for grace!


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