This week I am thankful for words to turn to when my own feel far away. For more, check out my new piece up at Middle Places today.
This should be a good week.
I flew home to Alaska last week for a nice long visit with my family. Mom's cooking my favorite foods. I got to hug the church ladies AND go to the children's Christmas pageant on Sunday. I haven't done a single load of laundry since I arrived and instead have used my spare time for reading novels and watching Hallmark movies with my mom. For me, this should all equal bliss.
But instead, there's been a heaviness hanging over it all.
My sweet friend lost twin babies to miscarriage, babies we'd all been hoping and praying for a long time.
A mentor in my Bible study group had a tumor removed only to discover it's malignant.
Our neighbor doesn't know if she'll have a job to go back to after the holidays - and how they'll make ends meet if she doesn't.
And that's just in my circle of people. Beyond that there's war and terrorism and divisive rhetoric everywhere I go. It all seems scary and tiring and sad. I don't know what to think, much less what to say. My prayers feel small - just "Help!" and "Why?" and "Come quickly, Jesus."
Last Sunday at church, we prayed the Lord's prayer and I was reminded of how Jesus introduced it. He told those who were listening "...when you pray, pray like this." The people in the crowd that day were living in the middle of disease and death, racial and tribal violence, poverty and hunger.
It was a time not unlike this one. These words still matter.
So in my sadness and fear and fatigue, I’ve been dusting off those words, praying them anew and asking Jesus to let their truth remain in me.
OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN,
HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME,
God, you’re big.
So big that the world can’t contain you. You exist outside of space and time, in heaven, where you hold us in your hands.
The reality of who you are is amazing and I am amazed by you.
You aren’t like anyone or anything else.
You are Holy, Holy, Holy.
YOUR KINGDOM COME, YOUR WILL BE DONE
ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.
Oh Lord, if only.
This is my longing and my prayer and my deepest desire.
I wish life were the way you designed it to be, that our earthly home reflected your character and your heart instead of our sinfulness.
Help me be a better kingdom bringer.
GIVE US TODAY OUR DAILY BREAD.
Thank you God that you are providing for my family every day.
Would you provide for those who are hungry and homeless?
FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS,
AS WE ALSO HAVE FORGIVEN OUR DEBTORS.
Create in me a clean heart, oh God.
Forgive me my selfishness, my pride, my laziness – and help me to be quick to forgive.
LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION,
BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE,
Lead me in the way that leads to life, would you Lord?
Lead me so that I won’t lose my way.
Deliver me from every wicked scheme of the one who would kill and steal and destroy.
FOR YOURS IS THE KINGDOM, THE POWER
AND THE GLORY FOREVER.
My life is so short but you are forever. When all is said and done, you will remain.
I believe you are bigger than everything I fear.
I know you are redeeming and healing and restoring, even as the realities of this broken world persist.
Your kingdom is the true kingdom and I want to make a home there.
May it be, Lord.
May it be.
This post originally appeared at Middle Places.