Pray for your enemies.
God, bless those whose words or actions are intended to harm me in some way. Help me to understand why they feel the way that they do. Do I have any role in their ill-will?
Help me, please, to not be afraid of my shortcomings. Help me to not be afraid of people’s disappointment in me or their anger. Help me to be able to stand before them and to hear their side of the story without becoming defensive. Instead, let me become teachable, curious about how I might do better at communicating or behaving.
Let not fear grow within my heart, giving rise to anger and hatred within myself, but rather may I always be reminded that forgiveness is the ultimate form of compassion. May I extend it others, and to myself, for we are all imperfect. We are all works in progress.
“…think on these things.”
A garbage truck rumbled noisily past my cottage, rousing me from my slumber. I stretched and yawned, not quite eager to start the day. Outside, the birds began their morning songs but their sweet sounds didn’t fill my heart. I was too preoccupied with worry about my very pregnant daughter. “What if…” I filled in the blank with one frightening thought after another.
“Those thoughts are just stories, generated from your overactive nervous system,” God whispered to me. “They aren’t true.”
“They feel true,” I answered. I pushed back the covers and sat up on the edge of the bed. “They make me feel so scared and helpless.”
God reached out His hand and helped me off the bed. “Fear not,” He said and walked with me into the kitchen. “I’m always with you, and I am with your daughter and her uborn child.”
“What can I do to stop the negative storytelling?” I asked.
“Think on love. On me,” God said as I poured myself a cup of tea. I sat down by the open window and listened again to the birds. I heard God’s morning story in their songs—”All is well, all is well,” they sang to me.
And so it is.
I’ve been so focused on work and family that your Holy presence began to fade from view. Without my being aware, I began to hurry. I began to push. I willed my way through my days. I stopped letting you be God. Now, as I come back to center, back to the fullness of your heart, I ask you to help me to swim in the river of your love. Help me to be still in the midst of it, swaddled safely in all that is you.
As I go forward, with this deepening of my openness and vulnerability, help me to be courageous enough to walk new paths and to explore new ways of being your love and light in the world. Please, grace me with wisdom and peace so that I may share them with all of your creation.