I love this quote about prayer:
I’ve spent my entire career sitting across from people, listening to them tell me about the hardest and most painful moments of their lives. After fifteen years of this work, I can confidently say that stories of pain and courage almost always include two things: praying and cussing. Sometimes at the exact same time. –Brene’ Brown, Braving the Wilderness, pp. 24-25.
Prayer tweaks our vulnerability. After all prayer is an act of dependence. Out of that vulnerability sometimes all you can do is cuss. Praying and cussing at the same time. I’m okay with this. And I believe God is too. God is not shocked by you.
Christmas tweaks at our vulnerability. You may have already noticed that you’ve been cussing more. It is time to start praying more.
To help you pray, here is a written prayer. We like these at Bravester.
I almost want to say I hate Christmas
But I really don’t. I’m just so sad. So stressed. So anxious.
It has not been a good few months. Or a good year.
I know you already know that because you’ve heard my prayers of desperation. I know you’ve heard my cussing too.
For the ones who have lost a loved one in death…
For the ones who have experienced divorce or separation…
For the ones who have lost their health…
For the ones who have lost their homes…
For the ones who have lost their jobs…
For the ones dealing with a life altering problem…
I cry out to you for all of us!
I beg you to intervene on our behalves.
I beg you to hear our prayers. Hear our cries.
Christmas also contains good memories too. In the midst of my hurt I pray to also remember those good memories.
And I ask you to help me make new good memories this Christmas season.
I make the words of Psalm 42:4 my own prayer:
My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God, singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration! The holidays bring back so many memories and often my own good memories become the very things that pierce my heart.
The psalmist “gets’ me when he uses the phrase “used to.”
There are so many things that I used to have, used to do, used to be that are absent from my life right now. (Feel the freedom to list these things to God. It is okay to remind him again. He is listening again.)
Although I miss what my life used to be, I affirm all of these as good gifts from you that I can still treasure in my memory and in my heart.
Because I cannot have the life I used to have, I ask you to help me on the journey that I now have.
Although I may not be able to hear the angels sound the great celebration, I pray that you will make me aware of the quieter, less glittery angels who each day bring me a glimpse of your comfort and joy.
This Christmas season I need you.
Thank you for coming to me with skin-on so long ago.
Thank you for being with me still.
On the days when I feel like you don’t hear me,
I still see you in that baby in the manger.
In faith I know that you do hear me. And see me.
Merry Christmas, Jesus. Amen.
(Photo credit: http://rainforestislandsferry.com/broken-christmas-ornament.html)