I’ll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love.
— from “Prayer Chain” by Tim Nolan
As I’ve said from the pulpit more than once over the years, I have a mixed relationship with prayer—kind of like acupuncture, it’s something I don’t actually understand in my intellectual mind but that makes me feel saner, more grounded, better in my heart and body, when I make time for it.
Some of you have asked me to pray for you, and I do—for one moment or many, I turn my thoughts and attention toward you … with the intention of, or request for, love, healing, calm, courage, strength, clarity. It’s not in my power to heal anyone fully, or to “make them” be or do anything, or to concretely influence outcomes merely by praying for them. But I do believe that our collective positive energy has the power to shift things, that our intentions matter, that focusing myself on what’s important does make a difference.
I believe—as one theologian said and many have copied—that prayer changes people, and people change things.
And it was in that spirit that last week I reached out to a circle of friends (UU and other, clergy and lay)—people whose love and care I know I can depend on—and asked that they “hold UUCC and me in prayer … that we might be courageous and loving and whole; that we’ll have clarity in our calling; that we’ll not destroy each other and this congregation in the process.”
And they have been doing it, and I have felt comforted and encouraged by their love. At the same time, I also have been praying for you, for us. Know that you—all of you—are surrounded by the love of a cloud of witnesses.
Lovingly and prayerfully,
Gentle me, Holy One,
into an unclenched moment,
a deep breath,
a letting go
of heavy expectancies,
of shriveling anxieties,
of dead certainties,
that, softened by the silence,
surrounded by the light,
and open to the mystery.
I may be found by wholeness,
upheld by the unfathomable,
entranced by the simple,
and filled with the joy
that is You.
— Gentle me, Holy One, by Ted Loder