May 5 is the National Day of Prayer. Its mission is to mobilize prayer in America and to encourage personal repentance and righteousness in the culture.
Many communities will host local celebrations and ecumenical services praying together for peace, guidance, and wisdom to live in today’s world.
Ever think how we learn to pray reflects how humans learn language?
First others speak for us, modeling the words so our brains and mouths can begin to comprehend how to work.
Then we learn prayers written by others and possibly recited down throughout history: Now I lay me down to sleep, the Lord’s Prayer and a favorite grace to say at dinner time.
Then we venture out on our own, trying to tell God what we want and what we think we need. “Me-me-me. It’s mine,” says the toddler. Or “Life’s not fair and I want it now,” says the teen.
Later we learn to say please and thank you with prayers of gratitude and praise.
Do we ever fully learn to surrender all of our hopes and dreams and release them into God’s hand for His will to be done? That takes a lifetime.
Don’t forget wordless prayers too – just resting in the light of His love and presence. Reminds me of watching a person slowly slip from this life into the next – silent prayer lets the ego die and new life emerge.
I have lots of favorite prayers but will leave you today on this National Day of Prayer with one I really like by John Henry Newman:
Help me to spread Your fragrance everywhere I go.
Flood my soul with Your spirit and life.
Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly,
that my life may only be a radiance of Yours.
Shine through me, and be so in me
that every soul I come in contact with may feel Your presence in my soul.
Let them look up and see no longer me,
but only Jesus!
Stay with me and then I shall begin to shine as you shine,
so to shine as to be a light to others;
the light, O Jesus will be all from You;
none of it will be mine;
it will be you, shining on others through me.
Let me thus praise You the way You love best,
by shining on those around me.
Let me preach You without preaching,
not by words but by my example,
by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do,
the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to You.