Be still and know that I am God. Ps 46:10
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called to peace. And be thankful. Colossians 3:15
We thank you, O God! We give thanks because you are near. People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds. Ps 75:1
I don’t know about you, but I’ve probably taken enough deep breaths in the last year to fill balloons for the world’s children.
Science says that when I take time to breathe deeply, it activates the God-designed parasympathetic nervous system that slows me down internally.
God says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Ps 62.
So I’ll pause to take another deep breath…and I’ll ponder the effects of this year’s events and wonder how many Thanksgivings in the last few hundred years have been observed during times of upheaval?
If I welcome the invitation, Thanksgiving time provides an opportunity to pause, breathe, let the turkey cook, and reflect on this year. Time for sifting, simmering, considering what has been stirring in my heart. Has the gift of time perhaps allowed me to develop more thoughtful responses when I am triggered, instead of boiling over, reacting out of impulsive emotion? What has God been up to within me this year as I have wrestled with issues of Covid, racism, politics, and their effect upon me, those I love, and those I am learning to love better?
Will I give thanks to God for stirring the pot? Within me? In my relationships? In our country? Will I choose to trust God and live in a new normal? How does that look these days?
I have found this prayer by Pastor Ted Loder to be a beautiful place to soak my soul. It has brought me perspective and focus so that my prayers of gratitude this season are more from my deep heart space, bringing hope as I desire to follow Christ in unsettled times. I hope you’ll read it slowly, sit with it a while, and make it your prayer each day this week. It is rich with meaning.
I Need to Breathe Deeply
By Ted Loder
grant me an ease
to breathe deeply of this moment,
this miracle of now.
Beneath the din and fury
of great movements
and harsh news
and urgent crises,
make me attentive still
to good news,
to small occasions,
and the grace of what is possible
for me to be,
that I may miss neither my neighbor’s gift
nor my enemy’s need.
a sense of humor
that adds perspective to compassion,
that adds persistence to courage,
quietness of spirit
that adds irrepressibility to hope,
openness of mind
that adds surprise to joy,
that with gladness of heart
I may link arm and aim
with the One who saw signs of your kingdom
in salt and yeast,
pearls and seeds,
travelers and tax collectors
sowers and harlots,
foreigners and fishermen,
and who opens my eyes with these signs
and my ears with the summons
to follow to something more
of justice and joy
Guerrillas of Grace Prayers for the Battle copyright 1981 Ted Loder Posted by permission of Augsburg Fortress. No further posting or transmission is allowed without the written permission of the publisher.
- What does it mean for you to consider “linking arm and aim” with Jesus as he describes God’s kingdom life in everyday items like salt, yeast, pearls, seeds? You can find Jesus’ references to these here: Matthew 5:13, Luke 13:20, Matthew 13:3-8,45.
- How does the broad description of people who make up God’s kingdom in Pastor Loder’s prayer encourage you to love more broadly?
- Is there encouragement in this prayer that might bring a shift in your perspective of present circumstances?
- How might God be inviting you to be attentive to the small occasions and the grace of what is possible as you attune to the heart of the One who transcends human logic and strength, replacing it with HOPE?