From Your Lips to God’s Ears
I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. … In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From God’s temple God heard my voice, and my cry to God reached God’s ears. – Psalm 18:1-2 & 6 (NRSV)
I was sitting in the sanctuary one morning trying to practice centering prayer, a form of prayer in which you empty yourself of thoughts and just rest in the presence of God.
But I didn’t feel restful. I felt agitated, anxious, afraid. Things were bad and had been for weeks. I hadn’t been sleeping well. I was always on the verge of tears. I needed some peace. I needed to stop thinking about the issue I spent every moment thinking about.
So I tried again to settle my mind. I breathed deeply and attempted to release the thoughts as they came.
And then, outside, a child started crying. From the sound of it, a preschooler who refused to be consoled.
As a parent, it pulled at me. The longer it went on, the more I felt a primal urge to scoop them up and make sure they were OK.
That’s what we’re evolved to do, I realized: to cry and to respond.
It was what I had been doing too. Crying out. And if my own instincts were to care for that child, how much more would God desire to scoop me up? If I am made for love, how much more the one who made me?
God in your love, hear my prayer.
Vince Amlin is co-pastor of Bethany UCC, Chicago, and co-planter of Gilead Church Chicago, forming now.