A Service Of Prayer

By on August 18, 2017

You don’t need me to tell you that this world has gotten pretty crazy. There’s too much violence; too much hatred. On that I think most of us can agree.

In light of recent events, my church hosted a prayer service the other night. It was put together quickly by several leaders of various denominations in the community. Although done quickly, it was done thoughtfully and meaningfully. There was no set service, but a time to come and offer prayers and to sit, reflect and listen to some beautiful violin music. You could stay for a minute; you could stay for an hour, whatever your need or desire was.

A variety of different prayers were printed and the one that spoke to me was of self-examination. As it was written: “Jesus taught us to pray ‘Our Father…’ Not my Father or their Father. We live in a country that has a history with racism. Let us trust in God’s unconditional love for us, and open our hearts to God’s light.” Printed along with that was Psalm 139: 23-24: “Search me, O, God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts. See if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way of everlasting.”

God, belongs to EVERYONE, even those who we might not like. God is part of everyone; it’s just sometimes that part has been covered and buried in hatred. God is INCLUSIVE. As fallible human beings, it is easy to forget that. My way is not the only way. There are many ways. There are ways that I might like. There are ways that I might not understand. As a person of faith, I need to be remember that, not to be a better Christian, but to be a better person.

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There were several “stations” throughout the sanctuary; a place to light a candle, a place to be anointed, a baptismal font filled with glass beads to be taken as a symbol of cleansing and a prayer bowl where prayers could be written and left. Being a writer, I was drawn up to the bowl and wrote something along the lines of this: I pray for peace. I pray for understanding. I pray for compassion. I pray for patience. I pray for all these things within myself for if I do not offer these things, how can the rest of the world?

I KNOW I need more patience, understanding and compassion. I KNOW I am guilty of snapping; of not listening; of not taking the time to care. I also know that I will never have enough patience, understanding or compassion. But I can work towards having more. I can work towards being more. I can work towards being a more patient, more compassionate, more understanding and more peaceful human being. I realize that this is a path I want to take; that I need to take. I also realize that it is one that I WILL stray from. I will need reminding and (gentle) guidance to put me back on the path.

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It’s a path I would encourage all to try and take. As we attempt to better ourselves as people, so we make the world a better place.

Beth Shorten is a life-long resident of Verona. For more than four years, she has been chronicling life here on her personal site, Bfth’s Boring Blog.

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