Prayers from the Island Prayer About Impatience

Prayer 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

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StolenStolen

I spoke with a woman in the store this morning.  During our conversation, she said she’d once been in a church with a large congregation, and when she went to the altar for Communion, she returned to her pew and discovered her purse had been taken. How sad that during a time of communion, someone had chosen to rob rather than share. I thought of how things are sometimes stolen from me when my mind is elsewhere.  I walk on the beach wrestling with other people’s problems or with situations over which I have no control, and I’m robbed of the day’s beauty and the ocean’s gifts.  I let myself feel apart from God, and my faith begins to erode, just as the water bites at the shore.  Forgive me, Lord, for letting you go too easily, for letting situations rob me of your presence.  Yes, bad things happen, even in the church where there are more avowed sinners than anyplace else.  Please help me to approach you always knowing there is nothing more important than my closeness to you. Amen.

 

After Easter PrayerAfter Easter Prayer

An After-Easter Prayer

Behind him [John] came Simon Peter, and he went straight into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the cloth which had been around Jesus’ head. It was not lying with the linen cloths but was rolled up by itself” John 20:6-7

Dear Lord, I’ve always wondered about this detail in the Easter story. John describes the cloths so carefully, as if they have significance. What if the new year begins the day after Easter? Jesus went through abuse, torture, and crucifixion for my sake, because He valued me highly. Why? Why go through all that agony for me? Having learned of His sacrifice, what’s expected of me? How am I supposed to live my life Post-Easter?

The period following Easter is the perfect time to self-examine, determine the issues and problems that trouble my life. There are weaknesses requiring treatment, behavior I need to cast off. Those discarded funeral wraps Jesus left behind are a symbol of sins in my life, sins making my life tattered and soiled. As an example, forgiveness is difficult for me; I claim I’ve forgiven individuals, but again and again I focus on their behavior and become angry once more. It’s not only others I can’t forgive, Lord. I accept your forgiveness, I try to convince myself you’ve washed me clean, but things I’ve done still trouble me, making me ashamed. I need to take off that wrapping of guilt and hardness of heart—leave it behind and work to forgive myself and others.

We’re told to love; love is the most emphasized gift of the Holy Spirit. I know this and yet I love like a miser, carefully weighing slights, balancing my love against the love I receive. I accept the endless love you have for me, Dear Lord, but I distribute love as though it’s a finite amount, against your infinite love. My failure to love with abandon is another layer of torn wrapping that needs removal, cast off and left behind in an empty tomb.

Judge not, we’re told, but my judgment is immediate and stern. How easy to win my approval—do what I do, think as I do, and behave as I prescribe. For ‘the other’, those who don’t behave as I like, my judgment falls hammer-like. I understand in my heart it’s wrong to be self-righteous, but breaking away from old habits is difficult. This too, Lord, needs to change. I want to accept others without assessing their ‘value’ to me. Help me strip away my soiled coat of judgment, leave it behind, old and out-dated.

I know, Lord, change will be difficult. How can I battle these old, familiar sins and become the resurrected woman you want me to be? Please lend me that linen cloth, a cloth that covered your face, a cloth so carefully folded and set aside. Let me use that cloth to cleanse, to give me a clean purpose once I’ve discarded those raggedy clothes. Only with your help, Lord, can I dress myself in a new Easter outfit, clad in your gift of redemption and grace. With your help I leave behind the tomb rags of the past and move into new life.

Breath of GodBreath of God

Prayer about the Holy Spirit

Dear Heavenly Father, as a child I was afraid of suffocating. My older sister would come up behind me, covering my nose and mouth with her hands, watching me squirm and squeal. I was a reluctant swimmer, cautious about putting my head under water, always fearful I’d drown. Even now, I get panicky when I have a head cold, lying awake, monitoring my breathing.

What about those suffering from COVID-19 and the symptoms they may experience?. Problems with breathing, loss of oxygen in their blood, and the need for supplementary oxygen. Some even undergo intubation so a ventilator can breathe for them. How terrifying it must be to lose the very breath of life!

Lord, You have given us a ventilator that infuses us with Your breath–the Holy Spirit. This is Your true presence, filling us with Your purpose and love. In Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was a rush of wind, inflating the souls of the disciples, giving them the gifts of language to speak Christ’s message. I crave that same spiritual fulfillment so I too can speak more effectively of Your love. Now, more than ever, I am gasping for Your presence—fearful, weak, alone.

I recognize , Lord, there are those suffering from a spiritual virus. They may choose to wear symbolic masks of doubt and rejection, closing themselves to Your life-affirming Spirit. Some experience spiritual hypo-ventilation, the failure to breathe in the breath of God. Reluctant to accept the gift of God’s inspiration, choosing to live lives apart from God, they never appreciate Your gifts of love and hope, Your promise of salvation.

During these crucial times, Lord, we need Your Holy Spirit more than ever. Just as virus patients may require supplementary assistance in breathing, we too need the support and the vitality Your breath provides. Because we can’t gather to reinforce one another’s faith, it is more important than ever we seek Your supply of the Holy Spirit. Studying the Bible, especially verses like the 23rd Psalm, provide comfort, linking us with the Holy Spirit. Connecting with one another by whatever means possible provides the spiritual ‘oxygen’ our souls require. And most of all, prayer is the ‘ventilator’ of spiritual connection. When we pray, deeply and honestly, we can find an infusion of Your spirit, giving us the strength and courage to carry on, no matter how overwhelmed we may feel.

This is the time to inhale deeply, to fill ourselves with Your blessed Spirit.

I remember the lines of one of my favorite hymns:

“Breathe on me, Breath of God, fill me with life anew

that I may love what thou dost love, and do what thou wouldst do.”