My Prayers Are So Empty

china-1031557_1920

Dearest Father, Son and Spirit,

My prayers are so empty. Lately I have not been able to articulate what it is I wish to communicate to you. It requires great effort to move past platitudes and delve into vulnerability of the heart. It takes a lot of work and so, for a few days now, I just haven’t tried. I’m sorry. Forgive my relational laziness that allows me to drift away from you so apathetically.

God, today I am reminded of how full the world is. Full of laughter, full of sorrow. Full of kids running with kites in the park; students in class texting under the table; drivers who drum their fingers upon the steering wheel to the rhythm of this week’s top-40 song.

The world is full of warmth and bitter cold; full of rain clouds and snow. Full of mountains, trees and valleys and endless plains where one can stand in an overturned recycling bin then reach out their hands to touch the sunset as it lays down to sleep. The world is full of concrete images and real, tangible things. And it is full of emotions which are not tangible but just as real. There is so much in this world that can satisfy, make us homesick, scrape our knees and break our hearts.

So God, I ask that you give me the words to fill my prayers. Give me access, oh God, to the most beautiful corners of language so that when I pray it might be poetry, might be a song with sounds no one has ever heard but that make you smile. Make me a writer, dear God, who never stops writing because he never stops praying.

And let my words be full, oh Lord. Full of back-breaking and tear cleansing love for you.

Amen.

A Prayer From A Harlot’s Heart And Sailor’s Tongue

colored-pencils-1090000_1920

God,

Are you bothered by my profanity? If you hear all, then you must hear the curses I say under my breath (let alone those I shout). You are a God of beauty and I am a harlot’s heart with a sailor’s mouth. But sailors watch the sunset imploding into the western horizon. They know the feeling of the earth’s inhale and exhale as they rise and fall with each and every wave. And surely the harlot knows some love, even if it be diluted, stolen or suffocated within their wounded heart. So you’ll still hear me, God. Won’t you?

I confess that I would not listen to me, if I were you. The prayers I pray to you would annoy the hell out of me, if not produce a very righteous anger. I guess it’s a really good thing that you are God, and I am not.

At the same time, you are justified, oh God, should you look on me with contempt.

And yet you have called me your own. My mouth you have cleansed, delighted in fact, with your body and blood; my heart you are transforming in spite of every beat and lunge toward the siren’s call. Who are you God, if not Transcendent Grace?

There is no grace apart from you, but from within you comes nothing else. Righteousness and love mix; despite all I might think, they have never and will never exist apart from one another. They are inseparable, just like the cross and empty tomb and, consequently, death and resurrection.

And thus you assure me- potty-mouth and idolater that I am- that I shall never be taken from you.

So…yeah. Thanks for that.

Amen.

Dear Lord, Save Me From Greatness

child-68971_1920

Dearest Lord, save me from greatness.

(Not that I truly need it-were it not for my own ego.)

Because I want so badly to make a name for myself. I like to think I desire fame in relation to your kingdom. And perhaps I do. But the heart is deceitful above all things and-if I’m honest- I find a facade of humility to be quite handy along the road to grandiose repute.

So remind me, Triune Father, that the way of Christ is opposite the way of greatness. Human greatness, at least. Remind me, Lord, that Christ lived quietly, that his life was inconsequential to so many at that time: “another rabbi in town? Who cares?” Remind me how, on the day Christ breathed ‘it is finished’- that Pilate was in his palace, finishing a late lunch, and -perhaps and the precise moment of Christ’s death- ran a hand through his hair and thought about the Jew he’d met and seen off to execution that morning. What a strange fellow, he thinks, but aren’t they all? And Pilate, like most of the other humans alive at that precise moment, went on his way completely oblivious to the greatest story being played out at Golgotha.

So I thank you, Lord, for through the cross you have shown me the way of small greatness, concentrated greatness, greatness that pours out and away from oneself. Greatness which one might name ‘grace.’

Call me only and ever into the greatness of grace, dear God. Thank you that you are not fooled by my pretensions. You know me too well.

Amen.