The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing, to take everything to the Lord, not only the dire hardships and trouble. And so for those more ordinary days, I offer seven short prayers borrowed and revised this morning from friends who wrote a little book of uncommon prayers—prayers of transfiguration for those moments when you probably pray but just need to pray better.
The first is a prayer For Lost Car Keys: “Lord Jesus, when you promised to find the lost sheep, did you ever imagine that they might be driving? In the frustration of losing the very thing I need in order to get out the door and start my journey, I am stuck. In this moment, gently wrack my brain. Remind me of my steps. Grant me deep breath and clarity. Open my heart to see clearly. It is in rushing, that we lose things. In making space and taking time, we find them. Pause my soul in the frenzy of life that I may find my keys and surely be found by your grace. Panic will never suffice for faith. Amen.”
The second, similarly, is a prayer for When I Am Stuck in Traffic: “O Lord, who desires I make time to pray, thank you for making this time. I pray that every car on this road will take the next exit and clear the road for me. If not, I pray for patience and for empathy, for a heart to understand how these other people in their cars may be stuck in ways that go beyond traffic. Give us all an awareness of your mercy, even as we curse our time management skills, the highways and the whole world. Remind us that there are far worse things than being stuck in a car. I am simply running late, but I will get there. So be it. Amen.”
The third is a prayer for When Domestic Duty Overwhelms: “Dear God, why can the laundry not do itself? When you created the world, why not leave the leaves on the trees? I spend more time loading and unloading the dishwasher and cooking than sitting at table. Dogs need to go out, cats want to be fed, children want all this and more. There is no time. No time to think. No time to pray. Chores pile up. Chores pile up. Chores pile up. The chores pile up. But chores are not my life. Grant me the grace to do as I am able, one thing at a time one day at a time, until the day you return and redeem all our days and grant us the time of eternity. Amen.”
The fourth is a prayer for When I Am About to Send a Reckless Reply to an Email: “Dear Jesus, who came as God’s word for the world, give me the right words. Keep me from ever hitting send in anger, even if it would serve the other person right to be devastated by my words. Give me wisdom to discern between reply and reply all, and to never write anything I wouldn’t want forwarded to my boss or to you. Give me courage to stop emailing and texting and start talking instead, especially when stakes are high, and give me words to mend and repair. May I always choose to stand at the threshold of resurrection and not just crucifixion, confident in your cross that stands for the cause of grace. Amen.”
Prayer number five is for When I Envy a Friend: “Lord Jesus you lived with so little. You roamed from place to place with so few belongings but with so many good friends. Why do I envy someone I love? I want what they have or for them not to have it, and this changes me. I wish ill and not goodness, I resent and refuse to bless, I rush to judgment and jump to conclusions. In my moment of bitterness and discontent, help me see myself and count my own blessings, including the blessing of knowing my friend. You command us to not covet because it ruins our hearts. Make me obedient for the sake of true joy. Amen.”
This sixth prayer is for When the Account Balance is Dangerously Low: “Dear Lord, I want to be noble and selfless and holy: for my bank account to reflect who I want to be, for my debit card be a tool for your kingdom, that I might empty its balance for righteousness’ sake, even as you emptied yourself for the world. But not today. Today I pray for enough to cover expenses, and if not, that my credit will be duly unharmed, and if not, that I will be chastened to face the truth of my lack with discipline and strength. You promise to give me no more than I can handle; but please do not trust me too much. Send money too. Amen.”
And seventh, a final Sabbath prayer of Satisfaction for a Job Well Done: “O Lord, you enable us and call us to use our abilities and talents creatively and generously, to bless your world and contribute to its beauty and flourishing. Thank you for hard work. Thank you that we participate in your creativity and are thereby drawn deeper into your purposes. Thank you for your spirit in us that infuses our efforts presses them outward to serve and to love. It is a true gift to be tired from work that matters. It is a privilege at the end of the day to feel contentment and gratification. It is beautiful to behold when ability and effort come together to bear fruit. Thank you for this gift, this privilege and this beauty. Amen.”