Keep Nothing Back!
Open up before God, keep nothing back – Psalm 37:5 (MSG)
I recently met with a spiritual director and shared with her my trouble with guilt and worry. Guilt and worry over old sins. Guilt and worry over what I have left undone. Guilt and worry over what is enough and what is too much.
She asked about my prayer life and invited me to add one paragraph each night — “God, please take the guilt and worry. I am turning it over to you. I am trusting you. Thank you, God.” — and envision myself laying it all at God’s feet. Holding nothing back.
What a simple, yet life-giving gift.
Before I left her office, Sister Jean also shared a resource on poetry-prayer exploration, reminding me of the poetry of the psalms and the heart of those who shared them. One style of poetry-prayer exploration might be familiar to many: the acrostic poem, using the first letter of each line in a poem (or prayer) to spell a word or phrase. It was freeing!
Here is an acrostic prayer I wrote while on retreat, responding in gratitude to the work of the Spirit and reflecting on our call to be the Living Word in these times. I invite you to try it—and keep nothing back!
I offer myself to you
Valley of the lilies
I offer all I hope to be
Never forgetting you as the source of love
Receive all of my praise and gratitude
Delivered with joy and dancing
Marilyn Pagán-Banks (she/her/ella) is a queer womanist freedom fighter gratefully (though not always gracefully) serving as executive director of A Just Harvest, Senior Pastor at San Lucas UCC, and adjunct professor at McCormick Theological Seminary. She is a joyful contributor to The Words of Her Mouth.