Enter my present trouble, O God of strength & compassion. Protect me from despair and faint heartedness. Encourage me with hope. Make me strong in Christ , ‘the one at your right hand’ (80:17). Amen.
Eugene H. Peterson Praying with the Psalms
I think it is fairly clear I do not generally have trouble when it comes to words, either written or spoken. Except, possibly, using too many (my personal word mantra? Why use one when one can get away with ten?). But whenever life has been tough, I have found it difficult to pray. As a Christian, this is something that bothers me. Or it did. I gave up with being bothered some years back. I now believe this is the very time that others hold us up and that is why we are called to be part of a community. I am so grateful for the prayers of others which have been prolific and are ongoing. People I barely know and communities I have never been to are praying for me continually. And this is something that is available for all. Did you know, for example, that most (if not all?) cathedrals have prayer boxes where you can fill out a slip of paper and your request will be included the next time the prayers are said?
For now, while it is so hard to form my own words, I am finding great comfort in liturgy. This is an often overlooked part of my Christian culture though my church heritage is rich with it. I have frequently quoted Julian of Norwich on here, or Teresa d’Avila or even Psalms. Reading the words of others has allowed me a voice when my own can get no further than ‘O God!’ The prayer I opened with is one I read last night, when not only my personal circumstances were pressing down on me but I was feeling crushed by the death of Jo Cox MP. I did not know Ms Cox, but I am horrified that my country, the country that so proudly showed the world our inclusivity and diversity during the 2012 Olympic Games, seems to have descended to such hatred and bigotry. So I find myself once more turning to the words of others:
LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Book of Common Prayer