Wisdom of the Ages
Yet I make my prayer to you, the WISDOM OF THE AGES, at a favorable time, God, in the wealth of your faithful love, answer me, with your certain salvation. – Psalm 69:13 (A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year W, p. 228)
When I pray, the words I use for God change: sometimes over a season and sometimes within a prayer; sometimes with the intention of opening my mind and sometimes without realizing my need for a familiar image; sometimes in public prayer to offer as many ways in as possible to congregation or readers and sometimes in private prayer to approach God differently.
And sometimes when I pray I skip the formalities and raise up the heartaches, injustices, and tragedies weighing on my mind, my name for God something shorter than a murmur, quieter than a grunt, an indistinct semi-syllable of greeting like the nearly imperceptible shorthand of intimate communication with someone we trust. Many of my prayers sound just like that. Mnnh, Ukraine. Hngh, guns. Ghnm, everything else.
WISDOM OF THE AGES, though, stops me short. A prayer to the WISDOM OF THE AGES would not be, could not be, a one-way communication, a mere unloading of worries or list of hopes or demands. A prayer to the WISDOM OF THE AGES requires more from the one who prays. It promises that the pray-er will listen for an answer.
I confess, I must confess, the thought of waiting for an answer worries me. What if the answer is not favorable? What if the answer asks more of me than I feel prepared to give?
And yet, I make my prayer.
WISDOM OF THE AGES, please, give me the the courage to listen for your will and the faith to respond with actions that serve you. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, new from The Pilgrim Press.