Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calm me down...

Prayer for an Average Sunday
~ Kenneth G. Phifer

Eternal God, look now upon me as I wait,
stilled for a time,
subdued and quiet.
You know that it is hard for me to wait.
It is hard for me to be still.
I rush from one thing to another,
churning up my life
into hectic waves of accomplishment.
When night falls, I confess I feel a bit guilty
if I have done nothing except be myself.
I even come to prayer with the feeling
that it is apart from life,
that when it is over I had best do something.
Even in church I want to sing a hymn
or take up an offering.
And then when church is over,
I plunge back into my world where the action is.
O Lord, do I have it wrong,
twisted around?
Are there more occasions than I realize
when I would be a better person
if I didn't do anything but just stand there?
Do I fail to hear the real needs
of loved ones, friends, and neighbors,
because I am too busy figuring out
what next to do for them,
or maybe to them?
Am I so absorbed in running the world
that I am not aware of you
and of the things you have to say to me?
Calm me down, I pray.
Calm me down
to the place where I can remember
how many times you have managed to keep me going
when I thought I could not make it.
Calm me down
so that I can recall times of steadiness and fear
when a courage was infused in me
that enabled me to hold on.
Calm me down
so that I can accept my limitations without panic
and in the knowledge that I cannot do everything.
In many ways I do not do anything.
In some ways I do the wrong things.
In the silence before the mystery and the meaning,
I stand waiting,
quieted by wonder.
For life is filled with mystery, meaning, and wonder.
The mystery of being itself.
The meaning that keeps breaking through to me,
meaning encompassed in words
like faith, hope, and love.
And I wonder why when I pray, I believe,
and why when I believe, I pray.
May I be assured that what I do matters
and what I say counts,
because you are in me and for me.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Kenneth G. Phifer, A Book of Uncommon Prayer
Nashville: The Upper Room, 1981
(a book given to me by my church family at Searsport (Maine) United Methodist Church when I graduated from high school ~ it's inscribed June 5, 1988 ~ that I've carried with me all these years)


Anonymous said...

Great prayer. Thanks for sharing. Needed it this week.

Andrew Conard

Anonymous said...

I had one of these days and having a hard time just relaxing. Thank you lord for being here for me. Amen