It’s been one of those strange days. You know the type: you’re head says everything is ok, all is going relatively according to plan, but your heart, well your heart’s just not quite comfortable with things.
(I have these days a lot)
I’ve been blogging a lot about a particular situation God placed in my path. This is not connected to that, other than it’s probably a reason why my heart is just not quite comfortable.
On the surface, everything looks OK today. I had a relatively smooth day at work. A meeting that was supposed to go badly actually went well. I had a wonderfully entertaining dinner with my man (who made me laugh more than once) and took the dog for a nice walk in a warming evening (free of rain for the moment).
But something is pulling on my heart. I feel a restlessness I can’t seem to shake, a call to something beyond a good night’s sleep. It is as if the icons on the eastern wall of my office are acting as a kind of magnet, pulling me in there.
I have never been a particularly good pray-er. I guess I tried really hard (too hard) when I was a Protestant/Evangelical/Fundamentalist to make things sound really good, for posterity (if I died unexpectedly, maybe they’d remember me as a really good Christian ‘cuz I prayed all pretty), to impress others, whatever. But mostly, I knew that what was on my heart, I mean really weighing me down, what I really needed to say to God, wasn’t getting said. I didn’t have the words because I got in the way. There was too much Becky/Bec/Rebecca. Way, way too much.
One of the most comforting things about my practice of faith now is that I don’t have to worry about what to say. King David wrote out some pretty good Psalms (it served as the prayer book for the Jews and later for the early Church). St. John Chrysostom, St. Basil, St. Gregory, et al, they all wrote some pretty good ones too. If I really can’t think of what to say, there’s always that prayer that Jesus said (If it’s good enough for God…).
And then there’s that one, that key to Orthodox spirituality, the combination of the words of the Wise Thief and the Publican: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner. They all end up in my prayers at some point. I rarely ad lib any more. I know I can’t improve on what’s already been said.
Among others, I’ll probably pray this one tonight:
0 Eternal God and King of all creation, Who kept me safe to attain to this hour, forgive me the sins that I have committed this day in deed, word, and thought; and cleanse, 0 Lord, my humble soul of all stain of flesh and spirit, and grant me, 0 Lord, to pass this night in peace; that, rising from my bed, I may praise Your most holy name all the days of my life, and vanquish the enemies, both seen and unseen, that contend against me. Deliver me, 0 Lord, from tribulation, evil and distress. For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory: of the + Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto the ages of ages.
Is there really anything else I need to say? Nah. Going to go light a candle now…and pray.