For my Lenten discipline in 2008 I am going to be focusing more on my prayer life. As part of that discipline I am going to post one prayer on this blog each week. I am not sure yet what form that will take – some may be written by me while others, like todays, will be prayers that mean something special to me. In those cases I will try to include a little back-story too. That will be seven prayers all together. I think I can do it.
Also, I want to do a little reading or study on prayer during this time. So if anyone has any suggestions for a good book, a website, or some other resource on the subject that has helped or meant something to you, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!
This week’s entry has been my all-time favorite prayer for a number of years – for a number of reasons. It’s in our Hymnal, but our church hasn’t done much liturgy lately & I for one truly miss it. Anyway, a few years ago during the Christmas shopping season, my wife and I had spent several hours bouncing from store to store. My legs & feet ached, and because of the stress of the season much of my Christ-like attitude & demeanor had flown swiftly out the window. The rudeness & cruelty of my fellow shoppers seemed to be at an all-time high and it was starting to really affect me. I was standing in the middle of a department store surrounded by artificial trees hanging full of ornaments to purchase feeling quite world-weary when I spotted a small stone-colored cross ornament. I removed it from the tree for closer inspection & to read the words printed on the surface. It was the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. At that moment I couldn’t hold back my tears. In the middle of all of the over-commercialization & craziness in the store around me, I just stood there and I cried. The ornament still hangs on my wall so that I see it whenever I enter my house.
Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.