We pray and pray, or we say we do, for Colorado, California, Sandy Hook, Paris, Boston, the Sudanese, the Iraqis, for our leaders, for our troops, for our country, for the mentally ill, for the poor, and I'm wondering exactly what form these prayers are taking. In the words of one of my most favorite priests ever, Fr. John Amankwah, "If someone tells you prayer doesn't work, they lie!" Good enough for me. So, I believe prayer works.
But it doesn't seem to be doing a lot of good. I like praying. Fr. John is right; it does work. I pray to be more patient. I pretty much need to pray that every moment of the day. It helps. I pray to be a better person, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, school-mom, parishioner, and citizen. I'm still something of a hot mess but less so year by year. Okay, there are some occasional dips but the overall trajectory is still upward.
I pray to be an agent for God and that, I think, is a pretty efficient prayer. Help me do good. Help me be better. Help me serve you by serving others. Help me improve myself to help me better represent and act for you.
So, I need a prayer for myself that actually helps get something done. I can't say, "God help those poor people" and ignore the call to help. I cannot expect God, whose expression of perfection is very much the physical world that we live in, to wave a magic wand and make bad things stop happening. Why would God do that, when he peopled the earth with his agents. That seems like something more inline with the flying spaghetti monster (haha! Atheist joke. No offense.).
God gives human kind equal capacity of high and low I think, opportunity for great and wondrous deeds but also the free will to ignore the call of God. I think God is also the pull to do what is most good and right and that the distance from God, that which is most good, in how we act and who we are, is how I think of sin and to a greater extent evil. But what I think is really scary is how unsinister this distance from God can appear and how I may fall prey (forgive me for what I have done and failed to do) to this distancing from God.
Cause and effect is as much a part of God as the story of Moses in his basket (God is "I am who am!"). What can I do to stop these things from happening again? What is preventing me from action? How can I help fill the world with more love and mercy (the year of Mercy!). How can I help people from needlessly dying, disease, violence, and suffering oppression in such horrible numbers? How can I offer comfort to those whom have already suffered so much?
Help me to open my heart to others, those who are like me and those who are not. Help me to love more those who are close to me and those who are not. Help me keep judgement out of my love. Help me love more both those who are easy to love and those whom are difficult.
Help me open my mind to productive thought that leads to action. Help me generate positive ideas and concrete steps to take to help others. Make real to me the importance of a humanity that respects the sanctity of all human life (the good, the bad, and the ugly), all life, that respects the sanctity of the earth and the divine importance of taking our stewardship seriously. Help me listen to the ideas of others without undue bias so that we can join together to help orient the world toward the goodness of you.
Help me be bold when necessary or meek as the circumstances may dictate. Keep my fear and pride from directing my decisions. Help me hold accountable those in positions of power who do not hold the common good as their guiding principle. Help me hold the complete goodness of the will of God in all of my intentions and actions as much as I can.
This I pray,