Tag: Anne Lamott

God is good, God is great, let us thank him for our food. Amen

That’s the prayer we said as children, every time we sat at the table for a meal. It was rote, the words coming out automatically, our duty performed.

When Charlie prayed in church he used the old words.  He said Thou and Thee but we knew it was his way, the way he’d learned and we knew they were words from his heart.

I stumble and bumble with prayers, especially the ones in my head. I’ve practiced different methods and formulas of personal prayers. Generally, I feel lost, wondering how to pray for things God knows more about than I do. Wondering why the bible says to pray without ceasing when my prayers seem to fall heavy on the hard floor.

chapel prayer

Chris D prayer

Anne Lamott wrote a book titled, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. That seems a concise summation of our prayers.

She says, “So prayer is our sometimes real selves trying to communicate with the Real, with Truth, with the Light. It is us reaching out to be heard, hoping to be found by a light and warmth in the world, instead of darkness and cold.” 

Sometimes I need to hear a friend talk. I just want to listen. Maybe that’s why God wants to hear our prayers. He’s not expecting profound thoughts or expensive words. He knows our hearts, our minds, our needs and desires. He knows everything we will say, yet, he wants to hear the words. The stumbling words that aren’t enough. The repetition of request for health and direction. The confession of the same things over and over.

We know it as the Lord’s Prayer. Eugene Peterson says it this way in the Message:

The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense. This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this: Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes.” Matthew 6:7-13 the Message

And then I need to listen.

 

linking up with Holly Gerth and other bloggers offering encouragement through their words.

faith

To be honest, I’ve been in quite the pissy mood. Biting my tongue, not hard enough, hoping to have a mind meld with someone so words won’t need to be said. It’s futile, yet I allow that to rob from me the beauty that is surrounding. A moment of still and quiet except the bird chirping and a weed-eater muffled in the background. The rains have passed for now and they are a different rain from the hard-driving kind in Florida. These are the kind you can’t hear, that fine misty rain that is just wet enough to make the hair frizz into a 60’s pouf. Ah yes, that kind of day.

around the lake

These are not the kind we see at home.
These are not the kind we see at home.

sliding rock and looking glass falls

A breeze has just caused a rustle in the leaves and another bird joins in and there is no way I’d be having this kind of day at home. We live in a city that is too noisy, too smelly and, these days, too sticky-hot to be enjoyed outside. Dryer, cooler days are ahead but days like this one? They are a gift smack in the middle of August. And I’m almost missing the wow.

“The third great prayer, Wow, is often offered with a gasp, a sharp intake of breath, when we can’t think of another way to capture the sight of shocking beauty or destruction, of a sudden unbidden insight or an unexpected flash of grace. “Wow” means we are not dulled to wonder.” – Anne Lamott, Help Thanks Wow 

We hear the sound of water before we see it and at first sight, all I can say is “Wow!” The beauty of nature displayed in a waterfall and we walk closer to where we can feel its mist and stare at it, not wanting to leave this kind of display of creation and hoping taking 50 pictures will keep the image preserved. Wow! My single word prayer to God that says, “incredible work, Lord. Really, amazing!”

Looking Glass falls
Looking Glass falls
the granddaughter with her daddy
the granddaughter with her daddy

sliding rock and looking glass falls

 

son-in-law
son-in-law
with daughter and grand - WOW!
with daughter and grand – WOW!

 

The granddaughter is with us and she isn’t missing the “wow”. She points to several butterflies and exclaims how many there are. “They are a group” she informs me. We talk about the Monarch she learned about at school and we watch this group of 10 butterflies enjoy a spot in the sun. It’s a collective wow from us as we appreciate her joy at this site. Another prayer of gratitude.

It’s a struggle for me. Right in the midst of WOW I am fighting to hold on to that beauty, to the amazing, to the glimpse of our Maker’s hand this is before going back to a different kind of Wow. Allowing the ordinary, the silly, the insignificance to compete when all I should be thinking and saying is “Wow!” If you think this comes naturally you’ll miss it too because it doesn’t. Not for me. I am too full of self and have to work for this prayer. Have to purpose in my mind this can’t get away. Who am I to dismiss this great gift from God?

WOW!

 

faith photography

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”  – Anne Lamott

I read those words by a woman who knows of what she writes. She knows of darkness and knows of hope. And I think of our men, all 99 of them, and wonder where hope began for them.

I’m of a mind these days to think those that have hope, the hope that doesn’t fade quickly,  that want to do the work that keeps hope alive, for these men, it began in the dark. For some the dark was under a bridge bringing little shelter from the environment. For others, the dark was simply in their minds. And what a dark place that can be.

I think of dark times in my life. Sometimes the darkness was brought by loss and other times brought by self. This darkness is the hardest. It plays with our minds and tries to tell us it isn’t that dark. Our eyes begin to adjust to that kind of darkness. But hope is there, a flicker, just a spark. Oh, don’t let that spark be extinguished.

Show up. Show up on our doorsteps or the steps of another place of refuge and hope. Show up at a trusted friends. Show up and try. Just try.

Wait for six months, a year. Wait, watch. Watch others that have walked the path and are still walking it day after day. Don’t give up. Keep watching, walking, working. Keep hoping.

Wait, watch, work. And don’t give up. Not today. Not ever.

“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 5:13 NLT

recovery