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It is the way of things: Sometimes your prayer life will be rich and flowing, a jar of honey, a full wineskin. And sometimes, it won’t be. These are the dry times. And while of course we look primarily to our higher power for relief, sometimes relief flows through our fellow humans. Sometimes the smallest gesture can make a difference. And this is why I write: to gesture. Similar gestures are always welcome. Right now, I could use a few.

There will be dry times,
sere times,
times when parched prayers
crack and crumble to ash
before they can be mumbled
from lips numbed by dust.
There will be times so arid
rote turns to rictus
and you parch like a mummy
buried in sand, the weight of which
will not yield. When this happens,
remember: there is water somewhere,
a spring underground.
Your body will arch like a dousing rod,
knowing it, sensing it.
If I find it, I will tell you.
If you find it first, please come
with ladle or cup, thimble or thermos.
We must refresh each other
or we will die before we find
the single thing we seek.

How is it that so often we don’t see what is right in front of us?  And I don’t just mean big things.  I’m a champion at bouncing off of door ways or tripping over the edge of a carpet.  You’d think I was a human pin ball.

But there are also all of the things I misinterpret or fail to think about.  I remember roaring through the prayer to get to dinner.  We kids could say it so fast that it didn’t even sound like English.  Then my grandmother asked us to teach it to someone else, probably a cousin.

Wham.  We sped through it and got nothing but a blank stare in return.

Again and again.  Finally, we managed to slow down enough to actually hear our own words.  The familiar became known.

Are you charging through your daily prayers?  Why not take a deep breath and slow down.  Here and feel what you are saying.  See it for what it is.  Time spent with God.



I  used to think that I didn’t have a prayer life to speak of.  Did it really count if my prayers were more like Tweets?

God, please help Earl get through his surgery ok.

Lord, keep those firemen safe as they rescue whoever.

Father, thank you for the beautiful river.

I wanted a “real” prayer life, so I carved out uninterrupted prayer time, fifteen to twenty minutes minimum.  I learned to lift up my heart and to listen.  Sometimes I walked the local labyrinth.  Other times I sat on my sofa with my prayer beads (apparently I need some kind of movement to focus).

The great thing about these longer prayer times is that I was able to listen.  And, when I listen, I get answers.

But one thing still bothered me.  When someone has a problem, I offer to pray for them.  So far so good.  But if I don’t have that uninterrupted time until two or three days later, sometimes I remember my prayer promise, but other times I don’t.

Unfortunately, the best way to solve this problem seems to be to pray now which takes me back to the short prayers.  Back to Tweeting God.  Possibly in public.


I hate praying out loud in front of other people.  I’d rather sing a solo in church.  And I mean when there are other people there.  If you think I really want to do that, please recall – to get me up in front of the church with the entire choir, the choir director had to promise me a personalized trash can, just in case.  I may not be a shrinking violet, but in some things I find comfort in anonymity.  Praying out loud with even an audience of one is not anonymous.

Still, I’m pretty sure this is the next step I need to take in terms of prayer and spiritual growth.  Why?  Because I brought it up at the labyrinth on Monday and this is what kept popping into my head.

What was that sound?  Just me heaving a huge martyr-like sigh.  Praying and listening has its downfalls – the answers are seldom easy and often make me squirm.  And, here is where our readers come in.

I would really appreciate it if you would all hold me up in your prayers.  Quick and short prayers.  Great big long prayers.  I’ll accept one and all.  Wherever you are in your prayer practice is fine as long as it works for you.  Me?  I just need a little help moving into someplace new.



Have a Mary Little Christmas

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