Saturday, July 19, 2014

Prayers of the Common Household

Last Monday, it was pouring rain during rush hour and my husband was late coming home.  The kids and I finally sat down to eat without him.  I started to pray, sincerely asking, “Lord, please bring Dad home safely.” 

At that very second, he burst through the door.  The kids yelled and laughed. And there was much rejoicing.  I exclaimed, “Our prayer has been answered!” 

My husband simply saw that we were planning to start eating without him, and said, “I guess you guys were hungry.”  

Feeling somehow that I should act fast, as perhaps our prayers of that moment had more effect than usual, I thought of one item that really needs prayer, and said, “Quick!  Let’s pray some more. Lord, PLEEEEEASE bring peace to the Middle East.  And thanks for the food.”

That prayer may sound trite, but it was genuine – that’s just the way we pray around here.  Also, I have learned from Anne Lamott’s book Help, Thanks, Wow that sometimes the most sincere prayers are the ones that just say, “Help!”  

Perhaps I need to read her latest book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair.  The world is desperately in need of repair.  Tikkun olam is a Jewish concept that says that we humans are supposed to be partners with God in bringing about the healing of the world.  Christians have this concept, too – that God asks us to help in the plan to restore all of creation to a state of joy and peace.

After dinner that night, I was doing the dishes and talking to my son.  I said, “The problems in the Middle East are intractable,” with intractable here meaning ‘describing a problem that I cannot solve while I am in the shower, nor can anybody else in the world seem to solve it.’

My son said, “Are you sure you don’t mean retractable?  Or maybe it’s a distractable problem.”  Then he proceeded to name every English word with the root ‘tractable’ in it.  See why we are getting no closer to a peaceful solution?  In our kitchen we can’t even find the right words, much less finding the right words where the conflict is actually taking place. 

All I have to offer is prayer.  Words.  A paltry response, but it’s all I’ve got.

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’al kol yoshvei teiveil.
May the one who makes peace in the high heavens make peace for us, for all Israel and for all who inhabit the earth.

Our Father in heaven, may your name be holy.  May your kingdom come, and your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

V’imru, Amein.
And let us say, Amen.


Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...

Oh! This is so beautiful. If everyone prayed for peace? There would be peace. You're doing your part. And teaching your children. That's quite enough and perfect. XO

Alison said...

Beautiful post! One comment: I think prayer is more than just words...

Cassi Renee said...

Sometimes, I read a news story about how people have abused an animal. And I think "How? How can anyone be so cruel?" And then I remember that some people don't seem to mind being that cruel to other humans, either. Palestine and Israel DOES seem intractable. I have often wondered what will happen to the Middle East when either the oil runs out, or we don't need oil anymore? And while I don't pray to a God, I certainly do send my hope out into the world, that there may someday be a solution for those suffering people.

Angie said...

I love Anne Lamott and read the book, too. She is fabulous!

The Crislers said...

Amen and amen.

I, too, love Anne Lamott.

I also love learning bits about the Jewish faith through your posts and how they parallel and/or contrast with Christianity.

Every time I learn something new about the current conflicts or history of conflict in the Middle East, I realize I in fact know nothing, and the whole thing seems all the more hopeless. Not the best or most helpful attitude, but there you go. I must believe that prayer helps.

Suzanne Casamento said...

Beautiful post. And prayer is not a paltry response. It's one more prayer. If everyone prayed for peace, we'd get there. And your post may inspire someone to pray who might not otherwise.


Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I read the eye with one eye shut lately--so much awful stuff going down in the middle east.
And yes, the best prayer is that gut-honest one. Exactly like you do!