C. K.

This is a very emotional prayer or poem for me. Forgiveness is the key word I focus on, I can’t go around holding grudges, because when bad things happen, I’ve started to recognize it may not really be about me, or directed at me personally.

A lot of people my age are at a crossroads with their religion. We were taught the values of Christianity, but now it’s hard to identify with that label, since so many people who claim it, don’t live-out those values. It’s disheartening and confusing. We were taught that our qualities should change the world, but many Christians aren’t changing it for the better. Their actions contradict their espoused values.

S. M.

I’m coming to terms with the fact that my multiple concussions no longer allow me to pursue my vocation. I can no longer ride, because one more fall could cause further brain injury. I’m actually different as a result of these injuries and I’ve had to accept the hard, life-altering decisions I’ve had to make as a result.

This prayer is really beautiful, but I don’t even know how to begin to let these ideas and thoughts impact my life and future. Life is very hard right now, and I actually need this prayer prayed for me, so that I can find some peace, some reconciliation with an uncertain future.

M. L.

What stands out to me in this prayer is the challenge of how I can be proactive and engage with others in a way that lets me be an agent of these values. I’m concerned with how can I avoid being the source of the negative side of these phrases?

There is a strong sense of loss in my life right now, of needing to let go of things I’ve clung to and hoped for. I guess I’m struggling with what I need to give up…and why. What is God promising, that I may eventually find?

S. M.

It can be very daunting, if you don’t find peace. Not being reconciled to someone brings anger, but the Comforter brings peace. I was raised by my grandmother and never had a relationship with my birth mother until the end of her life. She came to me and told me that she loved all her children and I knew she was close to leaving. She asked for forgiveness and I forgave her and she forgave me. Before we reconciled, I felt alienated. Afterwards, I felt released, free. I am pretty sure that I can go forward now with that sense of peace.

You know, reconciliation is not the easiest thing to do. It requires someone to come to the end of themself. 

 

 

THE THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON ARE MUCH GREATER THAN WHAT SEEMS TO DIVIDE US.

Join us in an ongoing conversation as we seek to understand, not just to be understood.


T. B. and B. G.

T. B.  |  This prayer expresses what I seek in my walk with Christ; it’s what I’m working on in my life, daily. Through my non-profit, we want to be cheerful givers and pay into other people’s dreams. We want to be positive, living examples of what it looks like to live-out your calling. I think that when you are in God’s will, your vision and your calling are synched up.

B. G.  |  This prayer addresses a lot of what I’m trying to change in my life and what I’m trying to give up, like doubt and fear and the need to be in control. I’m trying to let God be in control of not only what I do but also the outcomes of what I do. It’s a challenge I’m committed to.

B. H.

I love people and don’t hate anybody. My folks were Christians and that's how I grew up and how I tried to raise my family. Now I'm by myself. But, you know my daughter…she never comes to see me. I’d love to see her, but I can’t get over how she treated her mother when she was dying. I guess she couldn't take how hard it all was. I've tried to reach out to her, but I guess I don’t have her anymore.  

L. S.

The poem is about extremes and it reminds me of a trailer for an action movie: “In a world filled with darkness, there is but one man who can bring light.” I'm not sure if I can believe this is a real and good thing. Maybe this is just an exaggerated view of what people hope will happen if they believe strongly enough in a supernatural force or a super hero figure.

I'm pretty sure that the negatives expressed in this poem and in the real world are actually an accidental by-product of mistakes people have made. There is very little real evil, you know!

Never the less, I think this prayer is a personal call to action; we can’t just wait for others to do these things.

B. J.

I connected with the whole prayer. Growing up, when I wasn’t in church, I was in jail. You know, a pastor came to visit me in jail and I told him that if he checked in on my family for me and would tell them how much I love them and that I would join his church when I got out. So when I got out, the distance to his Lutheran church was the same distance as the Baptist church that I had been going to, so I kept my word. I’ve been there for 40 years. I would add, for those that are lost, I hope they’re found. My faith keeps me in gear. 

Oh, one more thing…I just wish I could be reconciled with my ex-wife. Now she’s in a nursing home, dying, lonely and afraid. I wish there was a way to see her and to help her.

V. and J. — sisters

V.  |  I don’t like hate; I like love. Hatred is hurtful. When someone is in despair, I want to bring them hope. When I hurt someone, I want to be forgiven. This prayer speaks to me since life is sad sometimes. If you lose someone, it is sad, but God can lift you up. Some people go into depression and they blame God. We know that God stands firm and is beside us.  Even when our sister was killed we wondered why, but we knew God was faithful.

 

J.  |  Growing up in a family of 18 children, we learned to talk things out and we stood up for one another. We learned to not burst out in anger and we learned to pray. Prayer kept us on the right road. 

K. S.

This is a very hard time for me personally. I desire the words and ideas on the right side of each line, but I am drawn to all the darker, more negative words, given my personal pain right now. 

How can we reconcile with our disappointments? Peace cannot come from vengeance; I have to force myself to take the high road.

I want my sons to look at me and see a strong example of how to live life well, how to be positive and move forward. I want to be a role model on how to live out this prayer.

G. A.

We can try to sow peace, but without God’s help we cannot be successful, we lost that when we got kicked out of the garden. I think that harmony with others is hard…we are broken and there are forces that work directly against us and oppose us.

This prayer is challenging, because it encapsulates our broken nature, our fallen world and the struggle that goes on inside and outside of myself, and each one of us, every day.