Over the course of the last several months, I’ve immersed myself in poetry to pray. Whether I’m writing or reading, poetry has caused my imagination to open to the ways of God in the world, including my life. I wanted to share a poem I have come back to several times. If it’s difficult to read, say it out loud, like a prayer, because that is what it is.
Every day I want to speak with you. And every day something more important
calls for my attention – the drugstore, the beauty products, the luggage
I need to buy for the trip.
Even now I can hardly sit here
Among the falling piles of paper and clothing, the garbage trucks outside
already screeching and banging.
The mystics say you are as close as my own breath.
Why do I flee from you?
My days and nights pour through me like complaints
and become a story I forgot to tell.
Help me. Even as I write these words I am planning
to rise from the chair as soon as I finish this sentence.
(Marie Howe, “Prayer,” The Kingdom of Ordinary Time: Poems, p. 27)
In the summer months, when schedules loosen from around our calendars, where there are moments when you can breathe, inhaling and exhaling deeply, take this prayer with you, read it, pray it, and listen deep within to what it’s saying to your life. Let it help write your life differently, more freely opening you to what God is calling you toward in your life. Listen for the Spirit’s breath as it resuscitates you, calling, equipping, and sending you forth into the world to serve.
This summer, this poem, this prayer is one of many I carry with me as I listen for the work of the Spirit in my life. I hope it may do the same for you as you take time to breathe.
Pastor Paul Lutter