is your life!!!
The mindless junk of your past crowds out opportunities and sets pointless limitations. Move out the junk, and you create room for the rest of your life. Ultimately, it’s not just a question of tidying your house; it’s a question of liberating your heart. – Merlin Mann
I have always loved to read. I didn’t grow up with tv, or video games, our entertainment was board games and reading. Reading has always been a big part of my life and I have found it helpful in so many ways.
I recently read a book by Kate Braestrup, a Chaplain in Maine, called Beginner’s Grace, about prayer. It helped me a lot. I am hoping to be able to share some of her words and thoughts with you, but I have not found a way to get hold of her for permission to use it yet. If you are struggling with the mystery of prayer this book can give you some new thoughts to incorporate into your living. Good Stuff!!!!
When I pray for someone I don’t ask God to do certain things. God is already doing more than I know. God does not need to be informed or convinced of anything, nor is God taking a vote. And I don’t know exactly what needs to happen, anyway—what the best outcome is, or the consequences of my desires. God is present with life-giving grace in every person, place and situation, and God will be present in the future. My prayer does not change that. What my prayer changes is me.
What I do when I pray is open my heart to others and to God. I am mindful of God’s gracious presence, the Loving One who dwells in each of us, and mindful of God’s blessing, God’s hope. I am mindful of the person I am praying for. I give them room in my heart, a place for their being to find blessing and rest. And I surrender my spirit to God on their behalf. I make my love and blessing available for them. I allow myself to be deeply connected to them in God, as if we are both children in God’s arms, or twins in God’s womb. I pray so that something might happen in the harmony of our spirits that couldn’t happen in them alone. In this way I can pray even for my enemies. I pray to be as lovingly present to them as God is. In fact I offer up my love for God to use in any way, even for some other person or purpose I know nothing about. I pray simply to be a part of God’s love, to participate in loving kindness.
I don’t know how this affects the person I pray for, or the world or the future, but I trust that it does. By a spiritual butterfly effect, my being lovingly present touches other spirits, which touch others, and the web of the world’s consciousness changes. As I become more mindful of the Loving Presence, and more lovingly present myself, I am changed. And when you change one note, you change the chord. When you change anybody, even yourself, you change the world.
So I pray, and trust the unknowable power of God. And grace happens.
The past couple of months I have been doing a lot of thinking, reading, learning and coming to new understanding about prayer. For the next few days I will be posting some of the things I am learning.
For many years I tried to ‘pray’ in fancy ways and words. ‘Dear Lord, Thank you for your bountiful blessing…etc, etc…blah..blah…blah. I never felt like God had answered the phone. I was just leaving a voicemail. It was a little frustrating. Then my life exploded into millions of tiny fragments. For many years as I sought grace and healing my prayers were guttural. There were no words for me. There was no music for me. It was a path of such pain that the suffering was silent. There was no way to express it. Over and over my soul would cry to God, ‘help me…help me…help me…give me your strength for this moment…help me…help me…to love you and give you thanks right here in the middle of my circumstances.’ I would read Psalm chapter 37 and Matthew chapter 5-7 and cling to them.
And God has done what He promised. He gave me strength for each moment, grace for the journey, hope for my future, miracles in extravagant abundance and peace and healing as I accepted and absorbed this amazing gift of life I have been given, joy overflowing and I have been blessed me in so many ways I know I will never run out of ideas to share about the grace that has come my way.
That doesn’t mean I, or everything in my life is perfect, or will ever be, while I am on this earth. That’s not even the point. A few months ago I went for a walk. My spirit was troubled and I needed to talk to God. Nature is my best place to communicate with my creator. I never fail to connect with God in the beauty of this world that has been so lavishly decorated! As I sat on a bench and started to talk to God something interesting happened…I really wanted to complain about what was happening to me – ha, yet as I began, the amazing glory of God, the maker of heaven and earth began to come into my focus, and I realized that I had nothing but thanks and praise to give and my heart and the words changed. I realized that God already knew my problem and is taking care of it..already…and I gave thanks in a whole new understanding. I sat on the bench and wrote the following song lyrics:
I’ve come to talk to you again
Oh won’t you hear another story
My whole world is at its end
When suddenly I see your glory
Cause I don’t need to ever fear
I’ve seen your miracles and wonders
So I will rest. You’ll dry my tears
Then I’ll fall asleep while my heart ponders
Your love, Your love
Is more than I could ever hope
Your love, Your love
I want the world to know
Cause everybody ought to know
I’ve come to listen once again
Oh let me hear you in this silence
Your grace will fill me to the brim
Shine your light right in the violence
Your light, Your light
Pours though my soul into the night
Your light, Your light
Help me and guard my heart
Cause everybody needs Your light
All I can do is give you thanks
All I can do is praise your name
All I can do is sing you a love song
Every day and all night long