Prayer: cloudy or fair?
Some time ago I was taking a photo of a scene I wanted to draw. To my surprise, I was verbally abused by a passer-by, (a) for indulging is such a time-wasting pursuit as photography, and (b) because he didn’t want to be in the frame as he walked on ahead of me (so he isn’t). It took quite a lot longer to say than that may imply, but, well, you let these things pass. We all have our off days. Soft answers turn away wrath, and all that.
But then a few days later on the way into Bradford he got on the bus (I’m almost sure it was the same guy), and proceeded to have a serial row with the driver: jumping the queue for a ticket when the person ahead was taking a bit of time; calling the driver names when asked to keep in line, making rude assertions, loudly; and at the end of it all (would you believe) promising to pray for him as he was so obviously in the grip of Satan! Understandably, I felt, the driver declined his offer: “I have no need of your prayers. I have plenty of people praying for me.” Like a dark cloud, you were glad when it passed.
I confess I didn’t join in. I didn’t try to act as a peacemaker, or even pray. I sat tight, like everyone else on the bus. What would you have done? What would Jesus have done? I rather think he would have radiated light in some recognisable way. Belatedly, then, I pray: Lord, please fill me with your life and light. Give me gentle grace towards others, even when tempers are short. And Lord, please speed my reactions to reach out through the Spirit on behalf of your kingdom in every situation.
A prayer for each week
Lord of all peace, and of peacemaking, please give me your peacefulness within, but also peaceableness towards others, especially those whom I find irritating – but who are made in your image, just as we all are.
Lord God, Heavenly Father, Champion of the put-upon, please give me that combination of compassion and courage to stand up for those who’re being bullied or abused – and not just think about it afterwards.
Creator Lord, maker of the entire universe, even down to the detail of human ability to talk, please guard my lips and help me watch my words, that what I say may more closely match your Living Word, Jesus.
Lord of space and time, and of people and events, thank you for sending Jesus to rescue us when we screw up. From the wrath of impatience and injured pride, and our hot hurtful words, please save us, as only you can.
Lord Commander, King of kings, please take more charge of me. Please heal me from anger, and angry thoughts, and words, and worse. Please take away all my anger that harms your kingdom, or help me control it.