Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Written Prayers

We left the Catholic church when I was in 5th grade and it was a difficult transition. Catholicism was all we had known on both my mom's side and my dad's side for generations. I had two great-aunts still living at that time who were nuns. My mom's oldest sister is a also a Benedictine nun. She was so kind to me through this change. It would have been so much harder without her steady love. My brother was sad because we would often have donuts in the fellowship hall after Mass and our new church didn't serve donuts. Even as an 11 year old I knew that this felt like the right thing for our family.

In pulling away we let go of most of the church traditions I had grown up with, Ash Wednesday, Advent Wreaths, and praying to Mary, Jesus' mother. Maybe we thought that is the way it has to be when you leave something that is so entrenched in your family's culture. Make a clean break.

We were also a lot less likely to read a prayer that someone else wrote As if somehow a prayer that is spontaneous and unrehearsed is more heartfelt or more effective. As I was thinking about this shift, I thought of songs. How we sing songs all the time that other people wrote and they stir our hearts and we think things like: "That is exactly how I feel but I've never been able to express it." If songs can work that way I think prayers can too. I've certainly heard some off the cuff prayers that were dearly lacking. I have to say I've been enjoying reading the prayers from the Praying Lent website.

Things like:
Let us pray in quite remembrance of our need for redemption

Teach us to be loving not only in great and exceptional moments but above all in the ordinary events of daily life.

Let me be aware of the many ways You reach out to help me today and let me stand in awe of the power that You use in such loving ways.

Maybe in my mind I might not have put the words together that way but my heart is connecting and it is so sweet.

If you are interested in learning more and actively participating in Lent this year visit this website of daily Lenten Prayers and Scripture Readings

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