Prayer Practices for This Time of Crisis

During the past few days, I realized that my normal prayer practices were not working very well. When I went into meditation or silence, my brain filled up with anxiety. I’ve realized that I need a different set of practices in this time of crisis. Here are some practices that seem to be working for me. (And I’d like to know — what practices are working for you these days? -Please let me know!)

  • Bring in Spring. Fresh flowers from the yard brought inside.
  • Share the light. I keep a candle burning when I’m awake.
  • Meditate with others. My Headspace meditation app invites me to meditate with others beginning every 1/2 hour.
  • Daily prayer. Upper room colleagues are leading morning prayer each day at 11:00 a.m. (Central Time). We are using Facebook Live. Like our Upper Room Facebook page and tune in to pray with us.
  • Pray for others. I’m spending a little bit of time each day praying for others on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.

How to Pray for Others on The Upper Room Prayer Wall.

Blessings and love to each of you.
Beth

Don’t Worry. Instead, Pray.

I was already a world-class worrier
long before the current crises we face …
before the Coronavirus …
before the tornados hit my middle Tennessee neighbors.

I remember the nights in my childhood,
when I couldn’t sleep because I was afraid.
I remember my mom helping me cut out
a scripture passage from my Sunday School lesson.
We taped it to the dresser mirror in my bedroom.
“Don’t worry. Instead, pray. …”

Mom and I would read the scripture when she tucked me in.
I could read it in the night if I was afraid.
I repeated the passage until the words became a part of me,
until the words began to pray themselves in the silence of the darkness.
“Don’t worry. Instead, pray. …”

These days, I light candles.
The light of them shines
into the darkness of this world,
into the darkness of my worries.
The light says, “Don’t worry. Instead, pray. …”

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank God for the answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. God’s peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.”
-Philippians 4:6-7, The Living Bible

Welcome Home

Three deer, a blue heron, the call of a pileated woodpecker
Welcome me home.

The wind in the leaves, the ripples on the lake, the silence of this place
Welcome me home.

The water of life, the greetings of old friends, the words of the liturgy
Welcome us home.

This place is our home.
This place is God’s home.
Welcome home.

Session six of Academy #41, Camp Sumatanga, Alabama.

How Lovely Is Your Dwelling Place


How lovely is your dwelling place, O LORD of hosts! My soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O LORD of hosts, my King and my God. Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.

Psalm 84:1-4, NRSV

In a Foreign Land

 
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By the rivers of Babylon —
there we sat down and there we wept
when we remembered Zion.

On the willows there
we hung up our harps.

For there our captors
 asked us for songs,
and our tormentors asked for mirth, saying,
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How could we sing the Lord’s song
 in a foreign land?

-Psalm 137:1-4, NRSV

These days
I feel
I am in exile
In my own land

I am silent
Unable to sing
The songs of the Holy One
The songs of my heart

I feel like a stranger
In this foreign land
I thought I knew

How can I sing
When churches
Vote on the worth of God’s beloved

When xenophobia
And misogyny
Have taken up residence
In the seats of power

When hate
Walks proudly down the street
In the light of day

How can I sing
The Lord’s song
In this foreign land?

#strangerinmyownland

Stand Witness

There are forces that flow
Through this universe.
Forces of life, of death,
of good, of evil.

Today a person dies.
Tomorrow a child is born.
We witness these events and
Stand in awe
At the holy immensity of it all.

Sometime we are swept up,
Blown around,
Knocked to the ground
By these powers
That we cannot see or hear,
Understand or control.

We stand as witnesses,
To the forces of evil,
To the oceans of love.

We stand as witnesses
To hearts broken open
With sorrow,
To voices speaking quietly
With courage.

We stand as witnesses,
Holding these sacred spaces,
Remembering and trusting
That our presence
Is enough.

Stand witness.
Be present.
Trust.

All Shall Be Well

When you wake up in a fog,
The clouds hiding the sun,
Hiding the hope and the confidence
You used to have.

When the place you are standing
Feels like it tilts at random moments
And you risk sliding into the abyss.

When you are floating
In a pool of wet darkness,
Your foot tethered to a boulder
That pulls you under.

May the bright sun of the universe
Cut through the clouds
And cover you in warmth and light.

May the healer of the heavens and the earth
Wrap you in safety and confidence,
Stand firm beneath your feet,
Hold you up when you feel you are sinking.

May the creator of hope
Tap you on the shoulder
And whisper,
“I’m right here.
And all shall be well.

“You are not alone.
And all shall be well.

“You are mine.
And all shall be well.”

Resilient

I sit down to write
And no words come.

I am tired,
Discouraged,
Overwhelmed by the never-ending
Reports of disasters and tragedies.
Weighed down
By too-much bad news.

Make me resilient
Like the grass whose seeds
Sprout and put down roots
In ancient stones.

Take heart.
Take root.
Love.
Live.
Trust.


I took this photo in Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland. This grass grew in the ruins of St. Mary’s Church. Built in the 10th century, this was the place of worship for the nuns of the monastic settlement which grew up around Kevin of Glendalough.