Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Another Honest Prayer...

One of my favorite prayers for more than 10 years now is Thomas Merton's "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me..... It captures where I have been and where I am so many days - honestly. There have been many experiences, many guides, many angels along the way that have taught me to real value in 'authentic prayer' - praying what I REALLY feel - letting God see and talk to me face to face, apart from the masks of who I should be or how I should be feeling.... My relationship with God grows when I offer Him who I am, where I am, just as I am. (To read the rest of the Merton prayer, click here.

This morning during a brief meditation, I re-read a prayer sent to me by a good friend from the Archdiocese of Louisville in a booklet about Henri J. M. Nouwen. And - yep - there are days (although for me not necessarily today) - but there are days when THIS prayer captures where I am.

Dear Lord,
I will remain restless, tense, and dissatisfied until I can be totally at peace in your house. But I am still on the road, still journeying, still tired and weary...


Sometimes the journey seems to be so long. The challenges seem to be so great. The load seems to be so heavy. Sometimes I don't think I even know which road I'm on any more, and the ability to put one foot in front of the other seems like a robotic, automatic action - and there's barely enough strength to take that next step, no less consider where I'm headed...

I keep asking your angel, whom I meet on the road, "Does the road go uphill then all the way?" And the answer is, "Yes - to the very end." And I ask again, "And will the journey take all day long?" And the answer is: "From morning till night, my friend."

Oh gosh, my friends - that's often not the answer I want to hear. Sometimes, as I pray, and ask - and hear the answer repeated, sometimes I'm not ashamed to admit, I feel as if that news is more burden than I can carry. You mean I just gotta' keep doing this? Wow.

But if I let myself be washed over by those feelings of being overwhelmed - if I surrender to them just a moment, I ALWAYS find that right when it seems most hopeless, there's a light of hope burning strong inside. God present in me, I guess. A light of hope and encouragement that begins to say, "It's not all bad. It's worth it. I CAN do this. I WANT to do this. And - GOSH - LOOK, just LOOK where I'm headed!!! I can keep going. I can... I really can...

The trick is in the momentary surrender to what is real - that momentary 'realness' with myself and with God where the overwhelming wave of it all washes over me. I think that's the key for me because, where that wave wants to take me is just not where I am. The waves gather sand from the shore - but not the rock. I think when I surrender to that overwhelming wave of helplessness and neverending journey, and I let that wave wash over me - ready to let me take it where it will - then I come face-to-face with an important reality in my life: I'm living a life that's not built on or of sand. And even I can't fail to see that the rock hold firm, even if I didn't expect it to. When I surrender, I see a reality - instead of being washed completely away, I reamin anchored... and then that fire of hope and excitement and adventure is revealed in all its brightness...

So I go on, Lord, tired, often frustrated, irritated, but always hopeful to reach one day the eternal city far away...

There is no certainty that my life will be any easier in the years ahead... But there IS the certainty that You are waiting for me and will welcome me home...

O Lord, give me courage, hope, and confidence. Amen.


Pray honest. Let God (and you) come face to face with what IS - and just watch, my friends, just watch your anchor hold.

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