In stressful times, especially, I turn to prayer. I wish for a path through my mounting worries. I want to think that asking God for a better way will cause a smooth road to open and solutions to appear.
As a little girl I probably believed in wish-granting prayers. I certainly imagined that such things were possible. But I don’t recall many examples that validated the idea.
As an adult, the truth of prayer, for me, is something different. While I jump immediately to silent screams for rescue when I’m afraid, in everyday moments my prayers are more like quick comments to my corner of the world than a deep desire for something greater or something personal: Thank you, Lord, for this gorgeous day! Lord help me do a good job during today’s meeting, Lord, please be with Mrs. Smith, today, because I know she’s going through a rough time.
But when things seem headed south, or I have a dark feeling that they are already out of control, something pulls at me more firmly. I may struggle for words, at first, but I know I need get back to real prayer. Should I ask for faith that things will improve, courage to take a difficult action, forgiveness for my stupid behaviors, more discipline, more generosity, more love?
At the core, I’ve come to believe that the words don’t matter much. The trees are the forest. God is sprinkling light where it needs to be and shadows take their place.
Our steps are ordered. My peace and prayer go hand in hand. Whether I write a poem, play my flute, or read a Psalm, calm returns as my mind and spirit remember to bask as friends in the dappled blessings of the late afternoon sun.