I was texting with my sweet and wonderful gal pal Jill recently, after she reached out to tell me she was starting to read a book I had recommended.
As per usual, we used the conversational opportunity to fill each other in on our writing progresses (or, as is often the case on my end, lack thereof).
I told her that I haven't touched my book in ages, and that I'd hardly been blogging, either.
But then I told her that I've been writing prayers for church and that's been rewarding.
"I love that," she wrote. "You can blog those."
So, dear Jill, here are my latest prayers, which I got to read aloud at worship yesterday. (They also let me sing in the band (without auditioning me first -- that is the DEFINITION of trust) and host a pool party in the afternoon. I've never been so genuinely pleased to be so involved in a church family).
The worship intention was love, and our Scripture for the week was from First John. Feel free to pray along, if you desire.
When it is easy to love, may we keep on loving. When we prop our feet in each other's laps and wish to be nowhere else. When we fall in love on the first date. Keep us in your light that no darkness can ever touch. Let us turn to you in awe for creating so many people whom we can adore without trying.
When it is hard to love, push us to try. For those people we simply don't like, God, let us recognize them as your little lambs. Teach us to love without limits, to un-grit our teeth and give some time to our enemies. Soften our edges, and help us to recognize that sometimes the unpleasantness in a person in the result of something unpleasant in their life.
When it is fun to love, may we remember the source of all our joy. We thank you for pools to splash in, concerts at which we can scream obnoxiously, and people who make us just lose ourselves in laughter. May we always acknowledge You, and the life you have given us -- the life that keeps on living.
When it is painful to love, place balm upon our wounds. When the people we love the most are no longer in this world, may we feel Your giant hand upon our back, your steady assurance that we are not alone, even when we feel we most certainly are. When a partner, friend, or colleague lets us down -- let us forgive and draw more from the bottomless reserves of love.
When it is beautiful to love, keep our eyes wide open so we don't miss a thing. We thank you for the ocean, for perfectly chiseled mountains. For roses that burst from cracks in the hot concrete. For violin solos. For clouds that look like animals. To love You is our utmost achievement; may we count ourselves grateful that we can love your creation, too.
When loving sets us free, make us free indeed. When we can give praise in an unhappy job, when we can feel peace as one in pain passes into death, fluff our feathers so we can keep on flying. Let us feel your love draped around us like a cloak. May we fall in love with You. Over and over, may we become smitten with the One who loves us most.
In everlasting love, may we say together: Amen and Amen.