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attention Other Writings Pages on Poetry prayer

Praying – a poem by Mary Oliver

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

— Mary Oliver, Thirst


I first encountered Mary Oliver and this poem when reading Common Prayer, the book I mentioned in last Friday’s post. I was an immediate convert.

  • Does this poem change your thinking about prayer?  In what ways?
  • Are there things that seem to block you from praying? What are they?
  • How would you like prayer to be for you?
  • Take time to write down your thoughts…and consider reading them aloud to God…in prayer.
Grace and peace to you…
dw
Photo by dw

p.s. Notice she’s talking again about paying attention, a growing theme for us (see this, quoted from her book Upstream; see also Wednesday’s post where I emphasize it’s importance in living out our faith.)


More about prayer

Click below to see other posts on the theme of prayer:

Categories
the real self

Thomas Merton – The First Responsibility

For it seems to me that the first responsibility of a [person] of faith is to make [their] faith really a part of [their] own life, not by rationalizing it but by living it.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

Jesus said we would know the reality of a person’s faith by how they live. Living our faith means we pay attention to his words and let our lives be transformed by them. It means we let him live in and through us; we follow where he leads.


  • Are we living our faith? Do we keep it contained in a comfortable space or do we let it loose in our lives?
  • What is God pointing out now to help us live our faith more fully?
  • Write down what comes to mind so you can go back to it over the coming days.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Photo by Madi Robson on Unsplash
Categories
light and darkness Scripture

Light and darkness

…the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed.

But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

John 3:19-21, NRSV Bible with Apocrypha

We are so torn.

We reach for what we think gives life.

It entices us, fools us, and warps our very ability to perceive the difference between death-dealing and life-giving.

And the light is too bright, life-giving decisions and actions too hard, the freedom outside our familiar prisons too risky.

When we get to this place…and all of us get there…Lord, light of the world, have mercy on us.


  • Have you been in this place? Are you now?
  • If you are, what about the darkness is enticing you, holding you? What frightens you about coming into the light? Try to name these things, write them down. I think God will help you; in fact, God has promised to help you.
  • If you once were, what is it like looking back now? How do you feel about the darkness you were in? What was your experience transitioning to the Light?
  • Take some time to write down what is coming to mind. It might come back to save you someday.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Photo by Isai Ramos on Unsplash