“Oh do not pray for easy lives.” Phillip Brooks said once. “Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers. Pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work will be no miracle; but you will be the miracle. And every day you will wonder at yourself, at the richness of life which has come to you by the grace of God.”
From Your Prayers and Mine, Compiled by Elizabeth Yates, 1954
This week every time I read one of the headlines about stocks falling, the war in Ukraine, gun deaths and the mess we have made of everything politic, I thought of this quote. We are living in difficult and confusing times and we are making it worse by finger-pointing and shouting at one another. The divisive and angry tone of our culture has created such division in our country, it is very unsettling.
Recently I have been finding it hard to go to sleep. My stomach tells me that I am worrying when I should be trusting. I am not speaking here of a trust that thinks God is going to make it all better or easier but a trusting that believes prayer can make a difference. Trusting that creativity and hard work are still needed and that righteousness matters. That kind of prayer that knows that change begins with me and I need to monitor my attitudes and my words. I am talking about the kind of trust that believes that God will give us what we need, not always what we want and that it will come when God believes it is the right time. The kind of trust that still nourishes hope when the sun hasn’t yet come out but faith shines a light.
This is what we are called to. I hope we have the will to follow. I am praying that we have the power equal to our tasks. Praying for the power of the Holy Spirit that still calls us to work things out with cooperation, to serve those that need it most. The Spirit that summons us to love justice, act kindly and walk in humility before our God.
That’s my prayer. What’s yours?