Tuesday, October 25, 2011

why do i pray?

I prayed for a sweet friend who's in real pain today.

I didn't know what to pray, because I know too well that she's probably just going to be in pain for awhile.
There are verses to send her, but they won't make it stop hurting (I know).
There's encouragement to speak to her, but it won't make it stop hurting either (I know).

As I read and prayed through the reading this morning, verses kept jumping out that I could email her. Each time, a leap of hope came from my heart- "Oh, this fits!". But then a moment later, I would think about where she is right now, and my heart would sink as I realized... "Yes, it fits... but it's still not going to make it stop hurting."
What do you pray, when the pain part of the season is unavoidable?

Two nights ago as I lay in bed with her face heavy on my mind, to be honest what my heart pleaded was, "Oh Jesus... please make it hurt less." That was all I really wanted for this sweet friend. I want it to go away. I love her and I don't want her to have to walk through the next few months! I asked God, frankly and with no real attempt at piousness, to please just ease her pain. If it was me, that is what my honest desire for others to pray for me would be.
I prayed in trust that our Father could do it and that He wants us to tell Him our real hearts, not what we wish they are- but I prayed it in full knowledge it's probably not going to happen. And I know Him and that He counts our tears and His heart is aching with hers, and that His arms are around her. And I thanked Him for that.

Today, I pray for her pain to ease... and then I pick up my prayer book, and enter these next months with her. 

Months of learning how to pray when prayer will not bring comfort- not the relief-from-pain kind, anyway. It will bring other things: wisdom, and trust, and compassion, and endurance. It will bring a sense of His nearness, and maybe even new ways to sense His hand. As we her community circle around her and pray, my prayer is that our prayers bind this season for good, call His hand over it, guard it fiercely from any purpose other than more love for Him and being shaped more like Him.

And I thank Him that He is better and wiser than me, because that is not what I would choose- not for me and not, right now, for her. I only want it to stop hurting. And He knows that, and in His mercy He takes the choice from our hands. He will hold her. I get to enter into the weaving and binding of this pain for good.

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Human Needs Global Resources Covenant, 2009

As fellow travelers on this journey, we commit to this covenant before God. Lord, in Your mercy, hear these our prayers:

When confronted with scarcity, need, and inadequacy, may we be nourished by the Bread of Life and the Cup of Salvation. Abundance overflows from Your table, sustaining all who come in faith. Father, help us.

When monotony blurs our vision and dulls our senses, may we encounter others as Christ did, through intentional presence in daily life, submitting as clay to be formed into vessels filled with the Spirit. Christ, guide us.

When wounded by the fractured condition of Your people, may we be united by Your Lordship in faith, hope, and love; seeing, as through the facets of a diamond, the beautiful spectrum of Your light reflected onto Your holy Church joined in praise. Spirit, empower us.

When all Creation groans, afflicted by injustice and driven to despair, may the promise of redemption root us in the hope of Your Kingdom: "Behold, I am making all things new!"

Holy Trinity, send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage to love and serve You with gladness and singleness of heart.