Every Saturday morning, I sit alone, pen poised over my journal, and attempt to write a prayer.
It is a discipline that I have not mastered. My words falter and fall flat on the page.
Then, as I pray my newly-written prayer in the days that follow, I edit, crossing out whole sections or single words, trying to form the sighs of my heart into something utterable. I know that when I can’t, the Spirit will intercede for me. (Romans 8:26)
P is for prayer.
I pulled out my journal to look at the prayers I had written during those last weeks with my mother.
On the day after she went in the hospital, this is all I had —
You, God, are amazing.
I am not.
Thank you for Your presence and Your help.
Heal me and mine.
I never changed a word of it. Maybe it was all I could do to pray it. By the next Saturday, she was gone.
And I struggled.
The next time I wrote, I filled two pages with prayer words, but then crossed out and wrote over much of it. By the end of the week, I had two prayers where I had begun with one.
Prayer A —
Lord, I don’t know what to pray.
My mother is gone.
My father is so sad.
Like a small child riding the up-and-down of a carousel pony,
I need someone to hold my hand.
Prayer B —
Almighty Father –
You set into motion the cycles through which we live
– the turning of our planet
– its orbit around the sun
– the rising and falling tides
– the four seasons
– the water cycle
– the respiration of plants
– the respiration of animals
– the breath of a human being
from first cry at birth
to last breath at death
Every breath — the inhale, the exhale —
is part of Your plan,
part of a cycle
So, Lord, with profound gratitude
I will live this day
And breathe these breaths
ordained for me.
I will ride this turning planet
orbiting around the sun
And thank You.
Prayer is a mystery.
Writing prayers even more so.