Prayers from the Island Across the Bay

Across the Bay

Across the Bay post thumbnail image

  The fog has lifted.  At night I can see across to the mainland, where house lights, buoys, and headlights shine.  It seems so busy and energized over there across the bay’s water, but there must be those who sit at home tonight alone, looking into the darkness.  Inside their windows they may live in need—need of food and money, of self-worth, need of God’s presence.  Perhaps they are hungry or abused; perhaps they look out of eyes that are tear-filled.  It is too easy for me to look into windows as if they were mirrors, seeing only myself reflected back, seeing no one else. I pray for these people too, for all those who have no understanding of your love or your presence.  Be with them, I pray, and grant them your peace.  May I use the bounty you have given me for their good and your glory. Amen.

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Prayer About ImpatiencePrayer About Impatience

Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you this morning with a topic I’ve prayed about in the past, but my husband has asked me to pray for help once more. I am impatient—impatient enough so that it affects my life in many areas. Perhaps my impatience began as a child; I was raised in a family of eight, three of them grandparents. As the middle child, if I wanted to be heard, I needed to get things said quickly, take my opportunity, use it, and move on. It was then I developed the habit of completing others’ sentences. Should they pause for a moment, I jumped in and finished their thought.

Increasingly my entire day could be ruined by the experience of standing in a line. If I had a cart with only a few items and so I chose the line that said “20 Items or Less”, I was angry with someone whose cart was filled with far more than 20 items—30? Perhaps even 40? And what about those individuals who seem not to anticipate they would need to pay for their purchases. With apparent shock and surprise at the cashier’s total, they fumble in purses, struggle for check books or credit cards or cash—as if mostly people go through these lines without paying. I can feel the anger and impatience building up in me.

When I drive, those individuals who pass me are obviously reckless with their speed, while those who drive too slow are infuriating, forcing me to tell them so in various ways. Perhaps worse of all are the drivers who go the same speed I want to travel; their presence in front of me hampers my vision and annoys me greatly. I am impatient.

It is this same impatience that affects my relationship with you, Lord. Too often I pray with the answer I want and expect. I’ve made a choice; now make it happen That’s it. I have no time to listen to You, Lord. When I’m done, my prayer is ended. Time to move on to other things.

My relationships with others are affected as well. I shortchange myself regularly. What would I learn if I didn’t finish the sentences of others? What might they have said for themselves? I’ve never had the opportunity to learn from silence—I supply whatever I think needs to be said. Sometimes I wonder what it is I’m hurrying toward. Is it death?

And so I come to you, dear Father, asking for help. I need to live in the moment, to let life unfold at its own pace, without pushing and prodding and urging it to move faster. I tell myself that Jesus waited 30 years for His ministry to begin. Being impatient is a sin—I know that. I am attempting to create the world in my time, not accepting Yours. It is arrogant not to acknowledge the whole person, short-cutting what might be heard. The Bible makes it very clear that we should live in your time, Lord. I’m certain Mary might have preferred to give birth to her son at home rather than on a trip—in a manger? But the Bible makes it very clear “When the days were accomplished that she should be delivered”, she gave birth. Your days, Lord, not hers. When Mary was anxious about the wine at the wedding in Cana and asked Jesus to intercede, He made His feelings clear, “My time has not yet come”. In the fullness of time. Your time, not mine. Help me Lord to live in that fullness—help me live according to Corinthians 13:4—“Love is patient”. May I live in that love—in that patience. Amen

Yes, It’s RealYes, It’s Real

I saw an oystercatcher today, a large bird that inhabits tidal flats.  A friend bought me a dish in a local gift shop with an oystercatcher painted on it, and insisted that we had to see one for the dish to be ‘authentic’ as a souvenir.  I had to laugh with her; so often I too have my tests for authenticity; I must see before I can believe something is legitimate.  I’m reminded of Doubting Thomas  who couldn’t accept the disciples’ word that Jesus had appeared before them.  Thomas insisted on actually witnessing the risen Lord, touching the wounds and verifying them for himself.  Jesus didn’t even berate Thomas’ doubts; he understood that faith grows by testing and wondering, even by doubting.  I thank you, Lord, for today’s oystercatcher sighting, and for your patient understanding of my own tests of faith.  While I may doubt you, I know your love for me never wavers.  I thank and praise you. Amen.

Night ComesNight Comes

  At this time of year, night seems to descend on the island differently than elsewhere.  Like a worn quilt, the sky first has only thin places, worn spots that appear to have been rubbed against by giant ankles or elbows, places where the sun shines—barely.  As if suspended, the quilt hangs heavier and heavier, weighted by the stars that begin to pull id down, down, slowly until there is more darkness than light.  Sometimes, dear Lord, I reach for you and find a hole where the fingers of faith quickly connect.  At other times, I reach into something thick and furry, unable to find you, to touch you.  When that happens, I depend upon others to connect me, others to raise my name in prayer, others who lift me and my situation.  Perhaps I break through to you because of old, memorized bible verses or hymns that appear in my mind, illuminating the darkness.  Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the beauty of night but more importantly, thank you for the beauty of your light-filled presence no matter how deep the dark. Amen.