I start my mornings with an hour of quiet time—journaling, reading scripture, praying and writing. My missalette includes a Prayer for each day, written by saints or taken from a variety of Sacramentaries.
The diversity of sources intrigues me, and many are new to me. This month, I have been introduced to the Gelasian Sacramentary and Saint Makarios of Alexandria.
These prayers often spark a prayer of my own.
Recently, I have begun to ponder how I pray and what words I would use if I were writing my prayers down instead of just saying them.
Knowing I spend time in prayer each day, people often ask me to pray for them and those they love. My friend Ted believed I have hot line to God because the things he asked me to pray for turned out the way he wanted. I was nine for nine when he asked me to pray for his friend Adele.
Instead of getting better, though, as Ted had wanted, Adele died. When Ted called me to tell me Adele had died, he said, “Your prayers didn’t work.”
Ted had never asked me about the specifics of my prayer, so I took this occasion to tell him that I had not prayed for Adele to get better. I had prayed that God give Adele the grace and strength to face her difficulties, that her faith remain strong and that God grant her peace.
“Why didn’t you ask God to cure her?” he wanted to know.
“That is not how my relationship with God works,” I answered.
When my friend Jim got brain cancer, many people prayed that he would be cured, and they were certain God was going to comply with their wishes. It would have been miraculous because there is no known cure for the type of cancer Jim had.
“What will those people do on the day you die?” I asked Jim.
My prayer for Jim was that he get right with God, that he have the strength to face what was happening to him and that he be at peace. It was my prayer for him whether he was to live or die.
I share Ted’s confidence that I have God’s ear, but my concern is more focused on acceptance.
If I were to write a prayer, it would go something like this:
God, give me the strength to endure whatever hardship comes my way with grace and peace. Help me to let go of my own expectations and accept the truth of what is. Give me the wisdom to remember that my vision is limited; help me to trust that you see the big picture. Help me to be grateful for all that has been and to say “yes” to what is yet to be.
This is my prayer for myself and also how I pray for those on my Prayer List. Not miraculous cures—although I thank God when they happen—but hope for wisdom, courage, strength and peace.