Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thoughts On Prayer



Since it's the National Day of Prayer I thought I'd share one of my favorites, The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi. We sing this song during worship. It's beautiful.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Oh, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen


How could he write such a beautiful prayer? Actually according to wikipedia (my 11 year old daughter scolds me for it not being a reliable source) we aren't sure if St. Francis wrote it or if it was written by others in "the spirit of St. Francis". I like to think he wrote it as he was living his communal life and walking through fields of tall grass with butterflies landing on his hands (Have you seen Brother Sun Sister Moon?).

When I was little, the sky and mountains were my cathedral and the wind and birds were the orchestra. It never occurred to me that my Father wasn't listening.

It wasn't until I was older and sitting in a church building that I felt like my words were going no further than the roof. Time and experiences I'm sure were to blame, not the building itself, but still, it makes me wonder...

I learned to pray in nature so why do I stay shut up in my closet now? Or save my words for Sunday morning?

I'm not sure if this relates to prayer but I read this yesterday and it really struck me how God looks at His children as a loving father. It seriously put tears in my eyes.

Hosea 11: God’s Continuing Love for Israel
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
And out of Egypt I called My son.
As they called them,
So they went from them;
They sacrificed to the Baals,
And burned incense to carved images.
“I taught Ephraim to walk,
Taking them by their arms;
But they did not know that I healed them.
I drew them with gentle cords,
With bands of love,
And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck.
I stooped and fed them.
“He shall not return to the land of Egypt;
But the Assyrian shall be his king,
Because they refused to repent.
And the sword shall slash in his cities,
Devour his districts,
And consume them,
Because of their own counsels.
My people are bent on backsliding from Me.
Though they call to the Most High,
None at all exalt Him.
"How can I give you up, Ephraim?"
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I set you like Zeboiim?
My heart churns within Me;
My sympathy is stirred.
I will not execute the fierceness of My anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim.
For I am God, and not man,
The Holy One in your midst;
And I will not come with terror.
“They shall walk after the LORD.
He will roar like a lion.
When He roars,
Then His sons shall come trembling from the west;
They shall come trembling like a bird from Egypt,
Like a dove from the land of Assyria.
And I will let them dwell in their houses,”
Says the LORD.

* * *

I used to have a problem waking up at 4:30 - 5:00 am and then laying there with a restless mind for up to an hour. Then I'd fall back to sleep moments before I needed to be up and my whole morning would be spent dragging myself. Now I have my clock radio set to go off at 5:00 am every morning. Focus on the Family comes on then so when my mind would otherwise be fully rested and awake and ready to roll, it gets distracted back to sleep by the talk and this routine actually helps me get up when I need to at 6:30 am. Hey, it works for me.

So yesterday and today they've had whole shows of prayers. The feeling is sort of surreal to wake up and fall back to sleep to the sound of different people's praying voices. Really peaceful.

Do you ever have the feeling your prayers are not heard? Do you ever go somewhere outdoors to pray?

1 comment:

Annie said...

Once I snuck outside onto the deck of my house at three o'clock in the morning to stare at the sky. It was beautiful, and I felt closer to God that way than probably any other time in my life.

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