Janet and I both grew up in the Methodist Church. In fact, as many of you know, we actually met at church when we were five or six years old. All through our years in Chicago we attended Methodist churches and so it was natural that we would find a similar church when we moved to Carmel, IN 41 years ago this Labor Day.
To make a long story short, we tried out several local churches and eventually, several years later, once again landed at the Methodist church. There was some familiarity in the order of service and certain readings, such as the Apostle’s Creed, the Gloria Patri and the Lord’s Prayer. It continues to amaze me how comforting it was to be able to know the order of service and the various thing to expect each week.
But our local church usually added a short prayer that was printed in the bulletin and I was pleasantly surprised to read what I consider to be one of the simplest, yet eloquent prayers that I have ever read. It really touched me in a way that really surprised me. I looked for it the next week but it wasn’t in the bulletin. It had been replaced by another prayer.
I yearned to find that short prayer and eventually, it once again appeared in the Sunday bulletin. That time, I cut it out, put it safely in a laminated jacket and referred to it every once in a while. Every time I pulled it out of my drawer, I smiled when I read it. I just love the simplicity and the authenticity of the words – it’s how my heart feels when I read it and contemplate my life…
I haven’t seen that prayer in years – many years. We switched churches twenty five years ago and somewhere along the line it got lost in the shuffle. That is, until yesterday!
I was going through one of the drawers in my office and there it was, peeking out from under a small stack of keepsakes. Once again it brought a smile to my face – those memories of so many years ago and yet that prayer is as relevant today as it was back then. I just can’t even explain why I love it so much – so down to earth, almost like a psalm of David. I thought you may enjoy it in its entirety, so here it is…
Lord, send me a surprise. One that catches me off guard and makes me wonder. Send me a resurrection when everything looks dead and buried in my life. Send me light when the night seems too long. Send me spring when the cold and frozen season seems endless. Send me a new idea when my head is empty. Send me a new friend when I am alone. Send me peace when I am afraid. Send me a fresh encounter with your Son, who lives with us, in us and through us. In the power of the Risen Christ, we pray. Amen.
I still get introspective and quiet when I read these words. And there have been times that these words bring tears to my eyes. I am reminded of how much the writer bares his heart to God and is so in touch with those areas of his life that need God so badly. I want that kind of closeness to God.
Our verse for tonight is from Job 5:9-11 speaking about God. We are told, “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. He bestows rain on the earth; he sends water upon the countryside. The lowly he sets on high, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to come to Him with our petitions and to be brutally honest about what we seek from Him. My prayer is that we will all have such authentic relationships with God that we will pass our deepest thoughts, hopes, fears and desires to Him. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…