Thursday, June 25, 2015

Just talk with Jesus

Devote yourselves to prayer; stay alert in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2)

"Prayer is just talking to Jesus." I've heard this all my life. But several years ago, I felt stuck in my prayer habits. I had a prayer list I dutifully read most days. I talked to God now and then throughout my day, but I was a very tired mom of three young daughters, and I seemed to be asking for the same things over and over. Sleep. Energy. Quiet. 

I asked God for a more meaningful prayer life, and He answered by bringing an ancient prayer to my attention. At first I saw it as an intriguing poem, but when I learned it was a modern translation of a prayer by St. Patrick, I was fascinated! (I am interested in all things Irish.)

Christ as a light
illumine and guide me.
Christ, as a shield
overshadow me.
Christ under me;
Christ over me;
Christ beside me
on my left and my right.
This day be within and without me,
lowly and meek,
yet all-powerful.
Be in the heart of each to whom I speak;
in the mouth of each who speaks unto me.

I hummed this prayer when I did not have my own words to pray. It expressed everything I wanted to say. I felt a new peace, as I realized that Jesus Christ really does surround me as this prayer states.

One Sunday, on a vacation in Portland, Oregon, I heard a sermon on a prayer of the Apostle Paul. His requests sounded familiar to me. I began to study Paul’s prayers. They are scattered throughout the New Testament. I realized that Patrick’s prayer could be used to summarize nine of Paul’s prayer topics. (Want to know more about St. Patrick?)

I am going to visit these nine topics over the next nine days, choosing one word each day as my prayer word.

I like to begin my prayer time with a few verses from Psalms. Join me in Psalm 63:1-8.

Lord, you know my longing for a deeper prayer life.
You know I want to speak with you, not just demand your help
Or read my prayer list.
I ask for a new dedication to prayer
And a new devotion to you.


I am revisiting the themes of several of my books as I seek to “just be with Jesus." Today's post is adapted from my book Sacred Signposts. I am putting aside lengthy readings for a season, and instead looking for one word or phrase to carry through the day. Today’s word, for me, is "devoted."

photo credit: Cottage Window via photopin (license)

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