How Do We Pray?
I don’t know about you, but watching the news the last couple of weeks has most surely caused my blood pressure to go up!
The political climate is nasty, expensive, cut-throat and confounding.
Some religious leaders seemed to use the anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Shooting as an opportunity to demonize gay people and people of color.
An activist is being tried by a jury for helping migrants by giving them food, water and shelter.
The beloved baseball player, David Ortiz was shot for reasons unknown.
A helicopter flew into a building in New York City and though the causes are unknown, it seemed far too close to our memories of 9/11.
And that was just in the United States.
Goodness. How do we pray for and about these things?
Well, I decided to be inspired by the life of Mohammed Ali to help me learn how to pray for all the horrible things that are happening in our country and around the world.
Ali said, “It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe.”
I guess this spoke to me because when I watch the news, I feel as if the mountains in our world keep getting higher and steeper and the terrain more treacherous. Every glance at the mountains feels discouraging and impossible to see beyond, let alone, overcome. And when those realities overtake me, I find it hard to know how to pray.
And then, I see the second part of Ali’s words: It’s the pebbles in your shoe that are wearing you out! Wow! This reminds me, and all of us, that the one thing we can do is work on the “pebbles” in own little part of the world. It suggests to us that when we ignore the person on the street who needs a drink of water . . . we add a pebble to our own heart. When we are moving so fast that we fail to see a lonely friend standing right in front of us, we add a pebble to our own soul. When we just don’t have time in our busy schedule to check on a sick friend, we add a pebble to our own conscience. Pretty soon, the pebbles pile up and though we may not make the headlines, we’ve participated in the whole of what creates negativity, violence, selfishness and greed.
So how do we pray for a world in such a mess? We pray for ourselves . . . that we might free ourselves of the pebbles that build up and cause us to be less of the people and citizens God created us to be. I hope you will write your own prayer with this in mind. Here is mine . . .
God, in your infinite love and mercy, nudge me when I selfishly move through the world without noticing those who need something that would be easy for me to give. With your wisdom, gently remind me of the blessings that you have so freely offered me so that I might be a blessing to someone else. In your grace, forgive me when I fail to speak for those who have no voice, act for those who have no agency or advocate for those who have no privilege. God, let your Holy Spirit rain down on me so that the pebbles of my own making might be washed away and the mountains ahead might not seem so impossible to climb. I give myself as you intended for me to be in your service. Amen
May all of our mountains begin to move . . .