Monday, January 10, 2011

::words flung heavenward


I believe it was Anne Lamott who so deftly identified that, in truth, there really are only two prayers: Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, and Help, Help, Help.

I often pray these very words.

As an adolescent, deep in the throes of (largely self-imposed) legalism and self-flagellation, I wrote detailed prayer journals, outlining all my confessions, deepest thoughts and darkest desires.

But I have found that the older I get, the less words my prayers contain.
More often, my brain silently utters the urgent cries of my soul in simple, minimalistic phrases.

Prayers for others are often visualizations; I conjure a portrait of you in my mind, meditate upon it, and my mind repeats over and over, Lord, please help.

I used to be so wrongfully convinced that in order to be effective, words directed to the Almighty needed to be sculpted into ornate phrases and verbose petitions.
Not true.
Not even close.

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.
Help, Help, Help.

1 comment:

ZSB said...

We see both the super-simple (sometimes desperate), pardon the expression, "Hail Mary" type prayers in Scripture as well as (more often) "sculpted," poetic, very descriptive and beautiful prayers (e.g. most of the Psalms).

It's ineresting that one of the most famous of the long and holy-sounding type of prayers comes from the lips of Nehemiah in Neh 1:5-11," and then in Neh 2:4, he throws up one of those "give me wisdom and courage" prayers between hearing a question and answering said question. Context seems to dictate for Nehemiah.

It surprises me that something like a prayer journal is no longer your bag. If you have the ability to write beautifully (and you do), would that be a fitting offering to the Lord? Interesting topic.

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