All God, Always

notaloneGood morning!

So lately I’ve received a few emails asking about my weekly e-newsletter, John’s Prayer for the Week, which is … well, a prayer I send out at the beginning of each week to those who’ve subscribed to that newsletter.

People have asked to see a sample of the prayers before they subscribe. (I think maybe they either don’t realize that unsubscribing is as easy as clicking a button, and/or don’t trust that I don’t do anything with the email address I get except use them to send out the newsletters. Or maybe they want to vet one of the prayers for its … theological integrity, or something like that. I dunno.)

I don’t publish anywhere but in the newsletters themselves the content I write for them. But, what the heck: this is the prayer I sent out just this morning:

Dear God,

This week, help us to be more consciously aware that everything we are, and everything we experience, happens within the whole your ineffable mind and reality. It’s so challenging for us to remember that. It is, after all, we, so apparently separate from all, who are out here, making our decisions, finding our way, winning or losing our battles. We do or don’t exercise our will, and it matters. Things, in real time, do or don’t change accordingly.

We live, God, in our very immediate, very physical world. And that (as you know!) is one constant, rich and all-consuming experience.

And so we naturally think of you (when we think of you at all) as a component of that experience, an aspect of it: you become to us something that, if we are pious, we make an effort to fit into our lives. If disciplined about it, we give over to our awareness of you one half of one morning of our week; perhaps throughout our week we even make regular time to read our Bibles, to meditate, to pray to you for this or that.

Our attitude, basically (and, again, quite naturally) is that we are here, and you are there, and if we want more of you here with us then we must put forth the effort to make that happen.

And yes! It’s true! We must!

This week, though, let us be more cognizant of what is also true, which is that you are ever as close to us as our breath. Let us feel all the ways in which it is true that you are always in us, that we are always in you, that the whole idea our being separate from you is nothing so much as illusion.

It’s all you, God. It was you before; it is you during; it will be you after.

This week, help us remember that. Help us to know that we don’t have to try to be with you—that we have nothing more to “do” than remember that it’s not possible for us to be anywhere but with you.

So … yeah. I suppose that’s a pretty typical one. If there is such a thing, actually. To me they’re all so different.

These prayers mean a lot to me; to write them I sink as deeply as I can. And the response I get to them is extremely gratifying. I’m glad I started both newsletters. And of course I appreciate anyone subscribing to them.

Anyway, there we have it. Right on. Onward, upward, etc.

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  • Jill

    Hi John! Just wanted to say that. And that your weekly prayers are a gift. That’s all.

  • Matt

    Since I don’t go to church, I have a lot of different tools I use in its place. John’s weekly prayers are one of those things. They get me in the right mindset at the beginning of my week. John says that he turns inward to bring the prayers outward. For me, they do the opposite: from out here, they remind me to go back inside and be reflective for awhile.

    Also, I just have to say that I love the revised edition of UNFAIR. The new cover is sleek, and it’s very satisfying to see all LGBT people being included right in the title.

  • Thanks, Matt and Jill; I appreciate these kind words.

  • skip johnston

    The thought and spirit in each prayer is evident. Each week, a surprise gift. Keep ’em coming. Thanks!

  • For anyone who has yet to subscribe to John’s weekly prayer, and who is suspecting it is like so many we’ve heard so and read so many times, where what is supposed to be a discussion with God is really a mini-sermon, with everyone’s eyes closed, that when the phrase “let us bow our heads to pray” is stated, you immediately go to your happy place….

    Let me assure you, John’s prayers are nothing like you’ve come to expect. They are wonderful, short, often private conversations with God that we’ve been allowed to eavesdrop on. Yet, what is contained in those prayers often reflects our own thoughts and feelings. Its different, truly, refreshingly, thankfully different. I look forward to each week.

  • Andrea Senteney Fiscus

    Thank you, John. I really needed that one today.