My Book of Uncommon Prayers: To Live a Noble Life

How can I make my ambition Your ambition?

Every now and then, unworldly inspiration and imagination penetrates t

his sin-chained  mind, this bone-bound spirit,

and I rejoice,

respond;

but just as quickly, flesh presses in—

pride presses in,

puffing me up, showing me what a wonderful thing I did for God.

Is there any hope to live a pure life,

a noble life,

when wriggling in skin and bone, a soul enslaved?

But to be free.  

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It’s What I Need

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

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Not a road map or a how-to, but a real guide–hand in hand, heart in heart.

How else can I find my way?

Not a manual with difficult step-by-step instructions

to follow and fail,

but concrete word and warm touch–lamp and lap, the knowing that I am not alone.

How else can I end my way

except with You and you.

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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Limping

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Limping church,

tormented body,

suppressing our Hyde in this war—flesh and spirit,

are we only to stumble through heaven’s gate?

How can we be broken bread to a dying world—

wine poured out to heal a tortured race—when we can’t even heal ourselves?

That I may humble myself in the sight of the Lord.

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 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” ~II Chronicles 7:14

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Legalism is a sure thing . . .

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Legalism is a sure thing . . .

black and white, rules and tools,

all the borders are tall and rigid with fixed right angles. Legalism is a safe system that makes me feel secure because I never have to worry about being wrong with the correct formula in hand. I never have to wonder or wander from these protected parameters; but then there is that love thing . . .

so untidy.

Love does not come with a script or a map; the margins of this love-life are fluid and wiggly, sometimes feeling good and sometimes not.

There is that humility thing and

that messy self-sacrifice thing, and

the willing-to-lose-the debate thing that makes loving so much more uncomfortable than knowing and playing by all the rules.

Legalism is a sure thing . . .

All that needs to be done is memorize the right creeds, collect the right…

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Seamless

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

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It should be seamless—this eternal life I am living now.

When this flesh is done, the Lilly that I am should gently walk into the Lilly I will be,

no halting,

no stumbling,

a brilliant transition to everlasting, but . . .

and there it is,

the big but.

It is hard to imagine when instead of cataloguing 1000 gifts I catalogue whines and unmet expectations.  My blow by blow diary of ills belies the peaceful image of Lilly pouring over her Bible with a fragrant cuppa, content with  life, overflowing wisdom to all in her waning years.  Ah, the whining years.

I thought by now the struggle with flesh would be long past—an ugly memory of what was.

But the “what was” is

an ever present spectre before me, and

I still stumble on as in the dark with the barest of lights,

marking one step. One…

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My Book of Uncommon Prayers: Contentment

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

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May my concerns diminish in light of others’,

and may I care as You do with a heart that breaks—

that weeps over Jerusalem,

that hangs and bleeds on a tree.

May my selfish begging become unselfish surrender—

ever pliable,

ever content just to be loved by You.

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Lives Interrupted

A p r o n h e a d -- Lilly

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It makes me feel like crying, this suffering we do.

The rain pelts the earth; the stratus overlay presses down—and

the burdens within and without are heavy

with rain,

with tears.

It doesn’t make sense—all this brokenness.

Well, maybe on one side of the brain, the prickly side.  But

the heart knows when redemption seems still far off—and

the earth groans, and

the weak and infirmed groan, and

I groan with all this groaning.

Grey drifts by the waiting room window, the room where loved ones sit and sigh and pray while the infirmed wait, and the world cries for all to be made right.

And the sky rushes earthward, and it weeps the tears of atmosphere and groans for redemption.

Little matchbox cars and trucks off in the distance do what they do and go where they go,

while 6 floors up and 8 miles down, the grey-black troposphere pushes…

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In the dark . . .

In the dark, most of the world is asleep,

but not me.

I hear and feel every heartbeat, and

thoughts ping here and there, mixing with dreams as I slip into sleep

and wake again.

It is a lonely place on my pillow

in the dark

in my head

with my beating heart and my beating head.

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Oh, wait . . .

I love to listen to those who agree with me;

I hate those who are oppositional. Oh, wait . . .

I need to listen to those who are oppositional so I can hone my arguments—

enough to win the debate. Oh, wait . . .

Winning is not all I am called to as a believer

so

how do I hold to a position and defend a position without being arrogant,

without appearing holier than thou,

with being open to learning a new point of view?

I love to be right.

I hate to be wrong.

But

how will I ever grow and know unless I listen.

Oh, wait . . .

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We need . . .

We need more grace and less criticism;

we need more wisdom and less propaganda;

we need more empathy and less arrogance and

more patience than emotional outbursts;

we need more remembrance and less fear mongering, and

we need less resisting and more persisting

in prayer.

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