What does your prayer life look like in this covid Christmas season?
Mine could be summed up in three words:
Lord, have mercy
Well, maybe six words, because I often add, “Christ have mercy.” If I’m feeling especially verbose, I might say, “Lord, Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Lord, have mercy, what has happened to my ability to pray?
Prior to covid life, my prayers were writerly in tone: eloquent, loquacious, filled with fancy words, (like loquacious) and long-winded. My husband’s short and sweet prayers drove me crazy. The running joke in our house was me teasing, “I pray better than you do!”
I don’t think there’s ever been a time when I’ve prayed so much while using so few words.
Lord have mercy. It’s the perfect prayer, don’t you think? Some days I shorten it even further:
I mean, why beat around that burning bush? Let’s just slip off our shoes and get to the point:
We. Need. Help.
Sometimes I wonder if that desperate HELP! prayer isn’t the one the Father responds to the quickest.
If you’re a mom or dad, you know what I’m talking about. Don’t you come running when you hear your kids shout that word? And it doesn’t matter if they’re six or thirty-six. You drop everything and your feet hit the floor because your kid needs you.
I believe the Father does the same thing; He drops everything to rush to our aid. That one-word cry for help tells Him all He wants to know: we need Him. Desperately.
He loves to help
This is what He hears when you pray the help prayer:
“I’ve tried so hard to be good. I’ve done everything I know to do. I’ve prayed all the prayers, done my best to fix things, read my Bible, worked hard, but I’ve got nothing. Not one thing to show for it. I can’t do this by myself. I need you.”
Did you know that the word ‘pray’ comes from a root that means to beg? It’s the cry of a child. It’s the hardest prayer of all because it’s so humbling.
Help! is the beggar’s prayer.
My original plan for this post was to create a liturgy of covid Christmas prayers for you, (eloquent and loquacious, of course ) for the days when it’s just too overwhelming to come up with your own.
A prayer for gift giving. Prayers for holiday traditions. For loved ones out of work, out of money, out of ideas; the ones you can’t be with this holiday season and prayers for the sense of normalcy we all miss in this season.
But friends, the truth is, I’m a beggar. My prayer pockets are pretty much empty these days. This previously, loquacious writer has been reduced to one word… one four-letter, humbling, ridiculously all-sufficient word:
It’s short but no less powerful for it’s brevity. Will you pray it with me (and for me?) as I pray it for you?
“Help me, oh help me, God, my God…” Ps 109:26 Msg
Let me know how He answers! (I can hear His footsteps already!)