Official day of prayer today at the seminary – no classes. Learner says this has been much-needed time set aside to refocus a bit and just talk to God. As always, the idea of a day of prayer is more intimidating to him that it should be…but usually more meaningful than he thought it would be in the end as well.
Asking him what he’s been praying about, Learner let me read his journal (he tends to be most focused when he writes out his prayers). This is what he prayed/wrote this morning:
“How do I pray today, Lord? For forgiveness, certainly; for understanding and patience in the interim, definitely; for a warm heart and a growing hope, to be sure; for a sense of some kind of presence and progress that are beyond me, no doubt – for all these, Lord, I ask you.
I again confess my sin – the control tendencies, the fear, the pride, the lack of trust, the abundance of lust, the cold and arrogant way I can have about me toward others, the self-reliance, the self-preoccupation, the self itself – God, forgive me of all this and help me turn from it all in ways both great and small, measurable and surprising. Thank you for your mercy and grace in the meantime – past, present, and future. You are patient with me, God. Remind me of this when I am so impatient with you.
For Mrs. Learner and the children, Lord, I ask that you be the husband and father I could never be. Keep them from a life of unnecessary fear – from lack of provision, from missing love, from conditional acceptance, from lack of protection – because they have you as husband and father (and thus hope) in addition to me. Reassure them somehow when I don’t or can’t, and keep me from being threatened by your perfection in the midst of my imperfection.
What do you have to say to me, Lord? What is it you want me to hear? What is standing in the way of responding to your voice? Can I ask you to speak louder, or would you help me to think softer? You know my heart in the matter – the good and the wicked of it both. Help me understand it better, that I might trust you with it completely.
I don’t think I worry per se, God, but I do wonder: what is your plan for all this (our family, our time at seminary, my writing, my life)? How will you provide for our needs (for our finances, our emotions, our relationships)? Where will any of our past and present lead to down the road, and will we be able to be (or learn to be) honestly and truly content? I don’t worry, God, but I do wonder. Keep the latter from becoming the former.
I pray for my classmates, Lord, for all these same things and ones you know about that I don’t. Like me, they are unworthy of any call (and feel so), and yet they are made worthy by the call because it is your call. Allow them the joy of seeing that call fulfilled. Their hearts are bursting; their minds are sharp – place them according to your will and pleasure, and allow me whatever opportunity is helpful to them toward that end.
Thank you for this time, this place, this life, Lord. Restore the joy of my salvation here and now (or at least soon), and enable the overflow of it to touch others and bless you. Not my will but yours be done…really…hopefully…humbly…truly.
Amen, indeed. He doesn’t pray often, but when he does, it’s honest.