Benediction from Joyce Rupp

2015-05-Life-of-Pix-free-stock-photos-love-locks-bridge-leeroyBeloved God,

You have embraced us

With a love that endures all things.

The power of your unending love

Will see us through the times

When we feel empty and bereft.

When the days are long and desolate

Draw us to your heart,

Strengthen us, and comfort us.

Reassure us that the love we share

With one another

Will go on into eternity.

Beloved God,

Thank you for love

That is stronger than death.

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A Prayer From The Chapel

This prayer was adapted from Nouwen’s Open Hands and was in the chapel a few weeks ago:

Dear God:

Speak gently in our silence.

When the loud noises of the outside world,

And the loud inner noises of our fears

Make You seem so far away;

Help us to know that You are still there–

Even when we can barely hear you.

Help us cling to that still, small voice

That says, “Come to me, all you who are

Weak and overburdened,

And I will give you rest–

For I am gentle and humble of heart.”

God, let that loving voice be our guide this day.

May we find rest in Your love,

And bring that love to others.

We ask now for healing

Of body, mind, and spirit,

In Your holy name.

Amen.

Those Well-Fed Hopes

This is a prayer from my journal, from an undated entry, and it’s up here in case I need to return to it.  I believe I was relinquishing some things around writing at the time, but I can utter these words as I try to become a Christian:

Help me let go of those dreams, those well-fed hopes, stubborn desires even though they came mostly from places of sincerity and love and, perhaps, mystery.  Grant me the freedom to choose some other life, to set some different course.  Make me fearless in that choosing.  Inspire me as I close and choose and change.

A Mini Examen

The prayer of examen is an old way of praying through the movements of days.  It involves taking a few deep breaths, thinking about what happened in the day, noticing where God felt especially close and especially far, and remembering the feelings that came along through the day.

It’s a way of praying that can be done for chunks of time, like a week or a month or even a year.  Many people pray this prayer daily, building a life of mini examens.  Over time those little prayers–noticing God here and not there, re-feeling things that we misplaced somewhere else–become a way of determining what really gives us life.  They become a way for us to see the doors we need to push closed and the ones we must hurry through.

A Prayer For Writers #4

Periodically I write and post a prayer for writers and for others.  These prayers come out of my writing life, out of my hopes for the writers among us, and out of my desire for this blog to sit at the intersections between faith and writing.  Pray them or a line from them, with and for the writers you read, know, and support.  This prayer is about paying attention.  Join me, if you will.

Dear God,

It’s hard to hear, see, and write the stories in us.  It is often harder to attend to the you behind, under, and around those stories.  The temptation to distraction is immeasurable.  Our resolve to try is weak.  Turn us in so we can wonder through the maze of ourselves and find good words.  Turn us out so we can live full lives and feed the bellies from which strengthening words come.  Writing is impractical.  Make it so much a part of our days that we do it without thinking.  Grant that living and writing become synonyms so we can say in truth that we live well or we write well, and so that either statement identifies the other.  Spur us to focus on the important way of life, way of writing, you’ve given us.  Narrow the long, wide fields of our worlds.  Identify our purposes as rooted in this work.  Give us joy in doing less better and in, therefore, doing more.  Capture our minds with something sustainable, a character we can’t forget, an act that returns again and again.  When our attention falters, gently get it back.  When our energy wanes, lure us back.  Help us continue looking, considering, telling, and and doing all these with better language and increasing elegance.  In the name of the One who wrote lost words in the sand, Amen.

A Prayer For Writers #3

Periodically I write and post a prayer for writers and for others.  These prayers come out of my writing life, out of my hopes for the writers among us, and out of my desire for this blog to sit at the intersections between faith and writing.  Pray them or a line from them, with and for the writers you read, know, and support.  This prayer is about faith.  Join me, if you will.

Dear God,

Unfold faith in us when our hands clench doubt.  Pull the cord keeping us tied to what we see, and spin us in twirling circles of enfleshed hope.  Open our eyes.  Make our vision or visions clear, unencumbered by the litter of lifeless life.  Where we sit and, then, lay in faithlessness, give us confidence to rise.  Whisper to us the way babies do, in tones that are anything but quiet.  Call to what talent you’ve placed inside us.  Speak to our futures and talk to us until we believe enough to take one more step forward.  Grant the same loud whisper tomorrow and each following day.  When we are overwhelmed, convince us to stay faithful, to keep going, even when going is steep, hard, hardly possible.  Give us little bits of you and make our days decorated by grace.  We will be lonely in our work, and that loneliness will tempt us.  Please be more powerful than the emotion that comes from our long obedience.  Be more convincing than all the feelings within.  Be more.

In the name of the One who wrote lost words in the sand,

Amen.

A Prayer For Writers #2

Periodically I’ll write and post a prayer for writers.  Other people can pray them, but they are coming out of my writing life, out of my hopes for the writers among us, and out of my desire for this blog to sit at the intersections between faith and writing.  Perhaps you can pray them, or a line from them, with and for the writers you read, know, and support.  This particular prayer is about ideas.  Pray with me, if you will.

Dear God,

For some of us countless ideas run around in our heads.  For others of us the struggle is to start seeing anything at all.  Grant us the ability to see when our heads are clouded, the ability to hear when the story is being told somewhere just beyond our ear’s grasp, and the ability to put enough form to that thing so it feels.  Help us hold the idea gently.  Help us appreciate and respect the models you’ve given our world, the idea generators whose stories stay and sustain.  Sift through the mess and the garbage inside us so that what we find is truly a treasure.  Search us and shine your light through us so that we can see ourselves as sparkling vessels capable of repeating the amazing in our work.  Enable us to organize, to structure, and to take one step after another.  Give us the gifts of something that can nourish the world.  May we use them for good.  Place in our hearts strength and stamina so we can see those nourishing gifts on display.  And make us mindful to call them yours.

In the name of the One who wrote lost words in the sand,

Amen.