A Prayer for the Addicts

For all those who feel held captive:

by alcohol, by drugs, by food, by sex, by the internet, by shopping, by anything whose call on your attention is more powerful than the call to health, wholeness, and relationship

You are surrounded by prayer

You are beloved, and you are enough, and the holes you are trying to fill are no bigger than those of your so-together-seeming neighbor  (and no more likely to be filled by objects)

The powerlessness you feel is no reason to be ashamed, but a place from which we all, eventually, need to ask for help

It is never too late

Hope is real, recovery happens, relapses are not always the end of the story

And even in the midst of times when we feel run by urges we do not understand, beholden to appetites we know are not life giving, we are loved deeply

The story isn’t over. You are more than your felt needs. You are worthy, no matter what.

We pray you would find in yourself the possibilities God see in you – and be able to look yourself full in the face without mediation, distraction, or numbing

It doesn’t have to be this way. It won’t always be. And if it is, God will still be with you through all of it.

A Prayer for the Bored

For all those whose minds are restless

Blank slates searching for words of meaning to fill them

Idle hands searching for distraction to occupy them

Struggling with not needing, not being needed, not having something, ANYTHING to do

Angry, disinterested, neutral, or lonely

We pray that you would find a way to live into not doing, but being, not acting, but feeling.

Sit with yourself, and be satisifed. You are good. You are enough. You don’t need anything else to live and be joyful.

Find the things of interest lying in your own heart and mind, your own reflections on the state of the world. Think of others. Love them Pray for them.

We pray that you would find meaning where you need it, activity where it is satisfying, friendship and curiosity and wonder in the infinite places where they are.

But for now, in your boredom, we pray that you would remember that nothing lasts forever. That there is always more. That the seed of intention in your heart for the world would be fed by the next thing to come your way, and provoke a question that begets a practice that nourishes a love, leading you on towards a world where interest and meaning are easy – but where you are never afraid to do nothing, because in times of rest you have no fear of who you are.

A Prayer for When You Feel Far From God

At my church we have a time dedicated to sharing our prayers which ends with acknowledgment that God hears “all prayers, spoken and unspoken.” I love these times. But there are always topics lots of people deal with that we don’t hear as much about, because our society has taught us to be ashamed or scared of sharing these struggles with others. In this series I will share prayers for the people whose prayers too often go unspoken – people struggling with infertility, addiction, boredom, rage, and many other realities of human life. Please let me know if you have any such prayers, or have a suggestion for a person or group of people who could use prayer. 

God,

I say your name, but I don’t know whether I believe you’re there.

I did. At one point. I think?

I used to feel so close to you. I felt your presence in my every moment, your love for me was like a rock I could climb on, your care unquestioned, your power mysterious but something beautiful to behold.

But now that connection sometimes feels…empty.

A lot of me feels empty these days. I call your name but the response is too faint for me to hear. I pray but my mind just gets filled with frustrations.

At some point along the way life got hard. Distractions got louder. The road got tougher. And for one reason or another, even when things are OK, I just feel distant from you.

But I choose to take comfort in all those fathers and mothers of faith before me who felt far, who had doubts, who got mad at you or couldn’t see you when they looked, and yet they testified that you changed their lives.

In the doubting Thomases, the wrestling Jacobs, the lamenting Mothers, the fearful Israelites at the bottom of Mt. Sinai, the Mother Teresas struggling with depression even as they serve you, I see myself. And if I can see myself in them, and they still found a way to see themselves in you, maybe I can too.

I pray God, that as I wander in the desert you would make yourself known to me. I pray that while I wait for water to parch my thirst for You You would grant me patience and frankly, I pray that that time comes sooner rather than later.

I know I am not alone in this feeling, in this experience, in this desire. You have honored many before me who felt the same way. May I be someone who doubts, but continues asking questions. Who feels far, but continues walking towards. Who feels empty, but holds out hope that I will one day be filled. May those around me not judge me or chastise me but be with me, and care for me, and pray for me. May they even learn from me, as I live a kind of faith that is sometimes harder, but often filled with unexpected grace.

You are God. I believe in you for a reason. And even as I feel far away I hold fast to that reason, hold fast to you, and wait for this too to pass.

Amen.

A Prayer for Facing Infertility

At my church, as at many, we have a time dedicated to sharing our prayer concerns which ends with acknowledgment that God hears “all prayers, spoken and unspoken.” I love these times. But there are always topics lots of people deal with that we don’t hear as much about, because our society has taught us to be ashamed or scared of sharing these struggles with others. In this series I will share prayers for the people whose prayers too often go unspoken – people struggling with infertility, addiction, boredom, rage, and many other realities of human life. Please let me know if you have any such prayers, or have a suggestion for a person or group of people who could use prayer. 

Father God, Mother God, Creator God,

We stand before you holding broken hopes in our hands. We wanted so much to join you in creation, to feel new life growing within us, to dedicate our lives to your (and our) little children.

But the tests keep coming back negative. The ache in our heart remains. Our prayer go unanswered. Why God, can you not grant us this one thing? Why are we surrounded by people who get pregnant with ease, even accidentally, when it remains so maddeningly out of reach for us? Have we done something wrong? Are we not enough?

God, we know you make families in a thousand divine and precious ways. But we thought ours would be made this way. We had a plan. We had a dream. Now, it seems so far away.

God as we seek out the light in what feels like darkness, open our eyes to new possibilities. As we mourn lost visions, comfort our hearts. As we seek medical solutions, heal our bodies. Guide and enhance the minds of our surgeons and doctors. Help our families and friends to be sensitive to our needs, and help us to be honest and kind to them in the midst of our frustrations.

God, we know we are not the first to pray this prayer. Sarah, Abraham, Hannah, Elkanah, Rachel, and many others stand with us in our waiting and in our pain. As you touched their hearts, allowing them to trust in you and love you as either their prayers were fulfilled or their hearts found new desires, we pray that you would touch our hearts. Help us to know how much you love us. Help us to trust that there are great, joyful, and creative things ahead for us, whatever form they may take.

You have always been a God of surprise, second chances, and life where it looks like there is no life. Let us be people of You, who hold onto hope and learn compassion, growth, and faith from our times of hopelessness.

Amen.