Tag Archives: Guerillas of Grace

Mystery of Prayer

Prayer can often be a challenge to my rational mind. I like to have concrete, explicit answers to my requests of God. But the very act of conversing with an unseen, often silent, Being challenges all my rational expectations. Yet I would not want a god whom I can easily fit into my own limited understanding. That god would be too small if it could fit into my mind. To truly pray is to enter into the mystery of God, the creator of heaven and earth.  In a way prayer is our attempt to touch the hem of God’s robe.

Touch the Hem of his Garment by artist Amanda Retana

Touch the Hem of his Garment by artist Amanda Retana

Ted Loder writes about the mystery of God in his book Guerillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle.

Mystery means that, in spite of all our efforts, all our insights, discoveries, and experiences, we will never do much more than touch the hem of God’s robe. It is enough that such touching brings healing. It is too much, idolatrously too much, to claim more than a very little information about the wearer of the robe. And even that little information we can claim only with enormous humility. However, humility is the twin of trust.

It has been said, referring to the temptation to which biblical literalists often succumb, that we should never confuse the love letter with the lover. We all have our version of such literalism, our dogmaticisms, our exaggerated (if unadmitted) claims of knowledge. Humble acknowledgment of mystery delivers us from the imprisonment of such certainties into the awesome dimensions of possibilities. Trust begins here. So, in some primitive way, does prayer. (p. 17)

I will never be able to fully comprehend how or why prayer “works,” but I continue to pray, trusting in God’s grace and love. Through out his life Jesus prayed to his Father; I follow in his example.

To use Ted Loder’s own prayer Calm Me into a Quietness,

Now, O Lord,
Calm me into a quietness that heals and listens,
And molds my longings and passions,
my wounds and wonderings,
Into a more holy and human shape (p.27)

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“I Hold My Life Up to You Now”

Years ago a friend and spiritual mentor introduced me to Ted Loder’s book of prayers called, Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle.  Ted Loder is a retired United Methodist pastor who has written several book and has a semi-active blog here.   Below is Ted’s prayer for New Year’s Day is titled “I Hold My Life Up to You Now.”  His last petition is my prayer for the coming year.

infinity-clock

Patient God,
the clock struck midnight
and I partied with a strange sadness in my heart,
confusion in my mind.
Now I ask you to gather me
for I realize
the storms of time have scattered me,
the furies of the year past have driven me,
many sorrows have scarred me,
many accomplishments have disappointed me,
much activity has wearied me,
and fear has spooked me into a hundred hiding places,
one of which is pretended gaiety.

I am sick of a string of “have-a-nice-day’s.”
What I want is passionate days, wondrous days, dangerous days,
blessed days, surprising days.
What I want is you!

Patient God,
this day teeters on the edge of waiting and things seem to slip away from me,
as though everything is only a memory and memory is capricious
Help me not to let my life slip away from me.
O God, I hold up my life to you now,
as much as I can, as high as I can, in this mysterious reach called prayer.
Come close, lest I wobble and fall short.
It is not days or years I seek from you,
not infinity and enormity,
but small things and moments and awareness,
awareness that you are in what I am
and in what I have been indifferent to.

It is not new time,
but new eyes, new heart I seek,
and you.