Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thinking simply

Psalm 27:11 (NIV)

Teach me your way, Lord;
   lead me in a straight path
   because of my oppressors.
It’s been something of a crazy week. I took off Monday so I could take Jack to the dentist in the morning, then bring the boys and two of our good friends from church (and their summer caregiver) to the theme park. Jack started school Wednesday and Max today, except Jack’s at a new building so his bus call is about 40 minutes earlier than the last three years. We both have struggled to get up on time each morning, exacerbated for me my wee-hours visits from Charlie early Wednesday and Max early today. I’m not getting to bed any earlier, and last night was later than usual because I spent a few extra hours on a newspaper project.

Suffice it to say when it came time to walk Jack to the bus stop — or, more accurately, nudge him out the door then go back inside and get my shoes on and hope to make it down there myself before his chariot arrives — I was not exactly in a good place mentally to be able to resume my morning prayer ritual. In fact, I’d practically forgotten until the first day of school that praying on my way to the bus stop was a part of my routine going back to the end of Jack’s first-grade year.

I did manage something slightly coherent Wednesday morning, but early today my brain was a complete jumble. I repeated “thank you for today” about a dozen times, hoping it would lead somewhere, and eventually offered a “I hope Max has a good day at kindergarten.” I eventually got into the Lord’s Prayer, which I try to recite each morning, but I started it too late and wasn’t quite finished by the time I reached the stop and the handful of parents interested in small talk.

So at a time when so much is going on in our life, when I would naturally be expected to have many things to offer in prayer, I find myself satisfied if I’ve put my shoes on the correct feet (two for two so far). As such, I was happy to come across this verse from Psalm 27, a Psalm I’ve already used for three earlier posts, and see a few words that can be used for a simple prayer.

Simple is what I need right now. If I find a few basic words to get me going, maybe I can start to sort out the thoughts racing through my mind. “Teach me your way, Lord; lead me in a straight path.” I’m going to try repeating that sentiment, if not the exact phrasing, at least once for the next week and see if it helps put my brain at rest and allows me to focus on a more engaging prayer experience. I might not be successful, but I can’t fathom this attempt being a wasted effort.

A prayer for August 22:

Lord, teach me your way. Lead me in a straight path. Search my heart and mind to determine what I need to walk in your light, to love as you commanded and to be a positive example. Use me as you need me, God. I will try my best to live a life worthy of you. Amen.

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