prayers

I once read in an Anne Lamott essay (sorry, no time to look up specific reference, but I'm pretty sure it was in Traveling Mercies) that her two favorite prayers are, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!" and "Help! Help! Help!"

Good prayers. Another one, which I've been praying a lot lately, is, "Lord, please don't let me fall into the pit of my self."

Because it's so easy to do just that. Self-pity to sense of entitlement to selfishness to lack of charity to wounding others to self-flagellation-- it's a nightmare carousel and so easy to jump on at any point and get trapped on a hellish ride, and only God, with the firm and gracious grip of a Parent listening to the desperate cries of His child, can lift me off and get me out of there.

Desperation has become key for me-- not just in stressful moments but all the time. I cannot forget my destitution apart from God's abundant grace. Without the ceaseless merciful intervention of the Spirit, I would be in desperate straits indeed.

And now I feel moved to post some Donne:

Holy Sonnet XIV

Batter my heart, three-person'd God ; for you
As yet but knock ; breathe, shine, and seek to mend ;
That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
But am betroth'd unto your enemy ;
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

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