Friday, January 14, 2011

Prayer and Poetry

This past Christmas, my mom gave me a book entitled, Dear God, It's Me and It's Urgent: Prayers for Every Season of a Woman's Life, by Marion Stroud. I confess that it's not a title that would draw me in -- but I began reading it a few nights ago. I was afraid the prayers would be formulaic, and because they were written as poetry, I figured they might also be filled with forced figurative language ;) However, neither is the case. The words are natural, expressive, and meaningful; I can relate to much of what is written, to the point that it could even be me doing the writing sometimes.

So, a thought came to me, and I wondered why it had never come before. Some of you will remember that I altered a journal last year with the intent of using it as a prayer journal and a poetry journal -- meaning I would record some of my prayers and I would write some poetry in it. Why, then, did it never occur to me to make my prayers my poems????? I've tried it twice now, and I'm finding it quite a useful way to focus my prayers. Now, I won't claim to be writing brilliant poetry, but I figure I'm in good company with the psalmist, David, who set some awesome examples for me.

I know I'm slow, and that there are lots of people out there that already do it, with centuries worth of examples to prove it -- but I thought I'd share today's entry in case -- somehow -- my simple efforts might inspire someone else to give it a try. My bible reading was in Matthew 7, and the verse that caught my attention was: "Your father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him" (vs.8).

Father God, what a blessing it is
to call you "Father,"
to be able to come to you
with the whole gamut of emotions --
fear, pain, sadness, joy, confusion
anger, excitement, frustration --
and know that you know
before we speak
what we need.
Abba Father, you are a true daddy
who rejoices in our presence
and desires to give every good gift
even before we know we want it
because it is what we need.
And you love us
even when we feel most unlovable.
Like children,
we may ask, "Do you love me when . . ."
and the answer is always,
"I love you because
you are mine.
No matter what.
Nothing can pluck you from my hand."
Truly --
what more could we ask
than to be held
in the hand of Him
who holds eternity?

Have you tried writing your prayers as poems? What did you think of the process? What did you think of the product?

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