Pastoral thoughts from a United Methodist in Western Kentucky (USA)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
I heard this old Irish prayer many years ago:
May those who love us, love us; and those who don't love us, may God turn their hearts; and if He doesn't turn their hearts, may he turn their ankles so we'll know them by their limping.
Proper? Probably not. Honest? Well… there are days that I’ve prayed this very same prayer (in the spirit of “Know thy enemy”). If our conversations with God are at least as honest as those we have with close friends and family, sooner or later God’s going to see our worst side.
Prayer needs to be honest. It needs to be an open and candid conversation if we want to grow and mature in faith. Kingdom work and community living in the Body of Christ is dependent on honesty. If we practice being honest with God, community life is fuller, richer, and faithful. Gossip, hearsay, and behind-the-back conversations are replaced with enabling and productive communication and camaraderie.
Honest conversation can be painful… but it gives way to change, which all of us not only need but are dependent upon. When we begin to practice such, we become not stumbling blocks but blessings to each other. Then we can pray such blessings with sincerity:
May the road rise up to meet you, May the wind be ever at your back May the sun shine warm upon your face And the rain fall softly on your fields And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.