Monday, November 30, 2015

A Prayer Trade

As I drove home today, I thought about selfish and unselfish prayer - namely my own. During the dark season of the year, I am prone to struggle with dark thoughts, and to say a few prayers for deliverance, that somehow God will lift me up enough to keep going. I have very few external reasons for my darkness. It travels inside me, to paraphrase Milton. But internal darkness is just as much cause to turn to prayer as external. Normally, I don't think of those prayers as selfish. It's not selfish to ask for help when you need it.

However, as I drove home today and listened to the news on the radio, I wanted to take back those prayers for my own small self and invest them instead in combatting the darkness of the world. Climate change, terrorism, violence, war. Our planet, our world - the huge, overwhelming darknesses we face, those things I feel so limited and powerless to change. If carrying my own darkness and wading through it could somehow mean there was extra prayer energy to fight those huge, terrifying crises that plague our world, I would gladly take up the burden. Given a choice, I choose the world over me. I'm one person, a blip on this earth. But this earth is, can be, beautiful on a grand and ageless scale, if only we human beings could just stop screwing it up.


  1. There's nothing more powerful than your prayers, I think you had it right in the first part. Our prayers are like "reversed thunder" - (to quote Eugene Peterson... and Revelation I think), and they are amplified by God and they roll through heaven with his power. I think when you light that one candle in the darkness you can overcome all of the darkness. Just one candle has that kind of power. One Prayer, one Kindness, one simple act of defiance against darkness. Keep doing that and you will, eventually, conquer darkness every time - there's the trade we can make, prayers for light.

  2. Thank you for your beautiful words. We cannot be reminded of these things often enough, especially these days.