Turn, pilgrim


Shop front, Edinburgh  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

A prayer inspired by an eighth-century Abbess of Clonbroney in Ireland, Samthann, renowned for her prayer and wisdom.

 


A prayer

 
My journey will not bring me
any nearer to You,
unless at each turning
is a turning of the heart.

And the true heart turns to You.

The Kingdom of Heaven
is not far from anyone:
its secrets open
to an open heart.

When I turn,
I turn to You.

Wherever I go,
You are near.

 
from  Celtic Daily Prayer, Book Two, p. 1132
 


 
From the blog
Sabbath rest
Theme: Sharing in Jesus’ ministry
Dust and transformation
 

To be a pilgrim


In a village just outside Geneva  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

I was in Geneva recently to conduct a workshop on the theme, To be a pilgrim.

We reflected on our life journey thus far and what it means to be a follower of the Way (the name given to the early Christians). We also shared the pilgrim songs that lift our spirits, got creative in pilgrim expressions, like writing haikus and short short stories, and made time for pilgrim prayers.

 
Here is a prayer from our opening devotions:

Come, Holy Spirit, Come!

When we feel alone, when we feel rejected
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we feel drained and dried up, and we can’t give any more,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
When we are unsure of how to move or where to go or what to do,
Come, Holy Spirit, Come!
Come, Holy Spirit, revive us, move in us,
and encourage us on the journey of faith.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come! Amen!

~ written by Rev. Mindi, and posted on Rev-o-lution.
 


 
From the blog
People of the way
3 Prayers for refugees
Light on my path
 


 

If you’d like to know more about the To be a pilgrim workshop, do get in touch.

 

In the school of prayer with Pádraig Ó Tuama


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 
 

From 2014 to 2019, Irish poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama, led the Corrymeela Community, Ireland’s oldest peace and reconciliation organisation.

Drawing on the spiritual practices of the community, in 2017 he published Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community. Here are some excerpts on prayer from the Foreword, and a prayer celebrating the gentle gifts of morning.


Prayer is …

Prayer is a small fire lit to keep cold hands warm. Prayer is a practice that flourishes both with faith and doubt. Prayer is asking, and prayer is sitting. Prayer is the breath. Prayer is not an answer, always, because not all questions can be answered. (p. xi)

No prayer is perfect. There is no system of prayer that is the best. … Henri Nouwen said that the only way to pray is to pray; the only way to try is to try. So the only way to pray well is to pray regularly enough that it becomes a practice of encounter. (p. xii)

We turn to prayer in days of joy, and days where our world shows – again – that it is wrapped in the circle of conflict. We turn to form, we turn to old words because sometimes it is old words that hold the deepest comfort and the deepest challenge. … in a time of trauma, God is given a name by the traumatized. In a time of joy, God is named by the joy of our hearts. In a time of confession, God is named as light. In a time of rest, God is the soft dark that enfolds us. (p. xix)

Prayer, like poetry – like breath, like our own names – has a fundamental rhythm in our bodies. It changes, it adapts, … it sings, it swears, it is syncopated by the rhythm under the rhythm, the love underneath the love, the rhyme underneath the rhyme, the name underneath the name, the welcome underneath the welcome, the prayer beneath the prayer. (p. xx)

The world is big, and wide, and wild and wonderful and wicked, and our lives are murky, magnificent, malleable and full of meaning. Oremus*. Let us pray. (p. xx)

 
*Oremus: Latin for ‘Let us pray’
 

from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. ix-xx
 


A liturgy of the morning

On the first morning God said: ‘Let there be birds.’ And God separated voice from voice; and in some voices, God put a song, and the song sang to the land, and to the light, and to the light on the land, and when the people heard it, the morning had begun. The first morning.
And God said that it was Good.

On the second morning God said, ‘There will be dreams from the night that will need the light of the morning.’ And so God put wisdom in the early hours. The second morning .
And God said that it was Good.

And on the third morning, God said: ‘Let there be a certain kind of light that can only be seen in the morning.’ And God created gold, and dew, and horizons, and hills in the distance, and faces that look different in the light of the morning, and things that look different in the light of the morning. The third morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fourth morning, God said, ‘Sometimes the day will be long. Let there be warmth in the morning, let people sleep for some mornings, and let the rest of the morning be good.’ The fourth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the fifth morning, God said: ‘There will be people who will rise early every morning, whose day will begin in the night, by the light of moon and stars; they will see the sun rise, these early risers.’ And God put a softness at the heart of the dawn. The fifth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the sixth morning, God listened. And there were people working, and people struggling to get out of bed, and there were people making love and people making sandwiches. There were people dreading the day, and people glad that the night was over. And God hoped that they’d survive. And God shone light, and made clouds, and rain, and rainbows, and toast, and coffee, places to love the light and places to hide from the light. Small corners to accompany the lonely, the joyous, the needy and the needed. The sixth morning.
And God said that it was Good.

And on the last morning, God rested. And the rest was good. The rest was very good.
And God said that it was very Good.

 
from Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community
by Pádraig Ó Tuama, p. 65-6
 


Digging deeper …

 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Called into community
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
To Emmaus and back
 

3 Prayers for my soul


Bumble bee feasting on catnip, Wydale Hall, Yorkshire  (Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Addressing “my soul” is common practice in the psalms. Here are some examples:

Psalm 42:5
Why, my soul, are you downcast?
      Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
      for I will yet praise him,
      my Saviour and my God.

Psalm 57:8
Awake, my soul!
      Awake, harp and lyre!
      I will awaken the dawn.

Psalm 103:1
Praise the Lord, my soul;
      all my inmost being, praise his holy name.

Psalm 116:7
Return to your rest, my soul,
      for the Lord has been good to you.
 


To supplement your soul-speak, here are three prayers to engage and nourish your soul.


Pierce My Soul with Your Love

 
Lord Jesus Christ,
pierce my soul with your love
so that I may always long for you alone,
who are the bread of angels
and the fulfillment of the soul’s deepest desires.

May my heart always hunger and feed on you,
so that my soul may be filled with sweetness in your presence.

May my soul thirst for you,
who are the source of life, wisdom, knowledge, light
and all the riches of God our Father.

May I always seek and find you,
think about you, speak to you
and do everything for the honour and glory of your name.

Be always my hope, my peace, my refuge and help
in whom my heart is rooted
so that I may never separate from you.

 
written by Bonaventure, 13th century, posted on re:worship
 


Expecting Miracles

 
Dear Lord,
Help me to expect miracles.
Help me to get past the borders of my eyes,
the roadblocks of my mind,
the narrow door of my heart.
May my soul embrace
the mystery of Your magnificent love!
May my heart rejoice
over the unexpected and undefined!
May my mind and body sigh
with the sheer awe of it all. Amen.

 
by Leonard Sweet, posted on Preach the Story.
 


Devoted to You

“Preserve my life, for I am devoted to you;
save your servant who trusts in you.”  (Psalm 86:2)

 
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
Guard my life, O Lord, for I am devoted to you;
Guard my heart, O Father, for I love you with all my choices;
Guard my mind, O Jesus, for I fix my thoughts on following you;
Guard my body, O Spirit, for I give it to be your temple;
Guard my relationships, O Trinity,
      for I centre my conversations on you.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul:
I offer my eyes to you, O Lord, to behold your beauty;
I offer my lips to you, O Father, to speak your praises;
I offer my ears to you, O Jesus, to listen to your words;
I offer my steps to you, O Spirit, to follow your movements;
I offer my life to you, O Trinity, to honour you alone.
Hear my prayer, O Lord.

 
by Bill & Kristi Gaultiere, posted on Soul Shepherding
 


 
From the blog
Check the index for more prayers in the “3 Prayers” series, and much more besides.
 

Guest post: Reflections on the word ’embrace’


“to love and to cherish” by Ian Evans-Boiten   (Photo by Willem Wilstra)
 

On the Feast of Pentecost 2019 I (Irene) was privileged to take part in the dedication service of a Christian retreat in the south of France, Colomba le Roc. Located a few kilometers from the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Colomba le Roc is run by Rev Joanne Evans-Boiten and her husband, Ian. Here Joanne shares some reflections on the word “embrace”.

Joanne writes,

A few years ago I was asked to do a talk about my experiences as a pilgrim on the way to Santiago.

No talk nowadays is complete without plenty of pictures and so I chose some photographs taken on my journey. However, I missed a suitable illustration to express the welcome I had felt at times, particularly in moments of difficulty. So I looked on the web and googled “welcome, pilgrim”.

One photograph in particular stood out. It was of a man, arms wide open and a big smile on his face. The picture did not just say “welcome”. It said “Welcome. I am so glad you are here – I have been waiting for you.”

To me, that is what the word “embrace” is about in the first place: arms wide open as a sign of welcome. A welcome that is as non-judgmental, as loving, as that of the Father in the parable of the prodigal son. (Luke 15:11-32)

But these same arms are also cherishing arms that protect; arms like the wings of a mother hen who covers her chicks when they are in danger and who is willing to give her life so that they may live.

How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.

 
 
Celtic Christians used circling prayers as reminders of God’s protecting embrace. This prayer by David Adam from his book, Tides and Seasons, was written in that tradition:

Dressing Prayer

This day I bind around me
The power of the Sacred Three:
The hand to hold,
The heart to love,
The eye to see,
The Presence of the Trinity.

I wrap around my mortal frame
The power of the Creator’s name:
The Father’s might, His holy arm,
To shield this day and keep from harm

I cover myself from above
With the great Redeemer’s love.
The Son’s bright light to shine upon me,
To protect this day to eternity

I pull around me with morning light
The knowledge of the Spirit’s sight.
The Strengthener’s eye to keep guard,
Covering my path when it is hard.

This day I bind around me
The power of the Sacred Three

by David Adam, from Tides and Seasons: Modern prayers in the Celtic tradition, p. 11

 
May God’s embrace empower us too to welcome and protect those who need it most.
 


 
From the blog
Circle me, Lord
In the school of prayer with the Celtic Saints
Up to us
Welcome ~ embrace
 

Welcome ~ embrace


 

The Welcoming Prayer

Welcome, welcome, welcome.
I welcome everything that comes to me in this moment,
because I know it is for my healing.
I welcome all thoughts, feelings, emotions,
persons, situations, and conditions.
I let go of my desire for security.
I let go of my desire for approval.
I let go of my desire for control.
I let go of my desire to change any situation, condition,
person, or myself.
I open to the love and presence of God
and the healing action and grace within.

Amen.

 
by Father Thomas Keating, posted on www.spiritualityofconflict.com.
 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Called into community
Do this remembering
In the light of His coming

Bend down low


Artwork, Gorinchem Museum  (Photo: Irene Bom)

 

Our theme for July is EMBRACE.

May you know the embrace of God today, and draw others into the circle of embrace by your prayers and by acts of loving kindness.


A Prayer for Others

Lord Jesus Christ,
when you walked on dusty roads
or sat by glistening waters,
you met people where they were.

When you bent down low
to touch the leper,
or raised your eyes to touch Zacchaeus’ heart,
heaven and earth were met.

And so our prayer today is that our world will know
your healing touch
and your forgiving heart.

That those who have been hurt
by insincere actions
and damning words
will hear your healing voice.

That those whose lives are filled with dark thoughts,
or unimaginable fears,
will know your peace.

Walk beside those who are close to giving up hope
and where life seems to have no point;
where people struggle to make ends meet
and fear the bailiffs’ knock on the door.

May children living in sewers
or tending AIDS-racked parents
feel the touch of a caring hand
and an end to injustice and fear.

And may all who weep and mourn,
or feel abandoned and unloved
turn towards your voice,
move towards your arms
and hear the whisper of your presence
in the long hours of night.

Inspire us and encourage us to bend down low;
to embrace those for whom society has no time or patience.

Raise our eyes upwards to see the struggling patient
and the exhausted care giver.

And where young and old stumble and fall,
may we be there to offer support,
that all will know your love that transcends all others.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour.
Amen.

 
— written by Reverend Eleanor Macalister, and originally posted on the Church of Scotland’s Starters for Sunday website. Reposted on re:worship
 


 
From the blog
Prayer sheet: Good shepherd
Blessed assurance
Prepare a way

Wonder-full psalm


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

Here is an active prayer by Roy DeLeon, inspired by Psalm 139, a truly “wonder-full” psalm and one of my favourites.

 
 
Note:
Roy DeLeon’s book includes drawings for the different poses, but the written “instructions” should be graphic enough to get you praying with body, heart and soul.

 


An active prayer

inspired by Psalm 139
 

O God, you know when I am happy;
Inhale: Express your joy with a smile coming from your heart and radiating out through your hands and feet.

You know when I am in the gutter.
Exhale: Sag your body down, depleted of energy, drained of life.

You know well the choices I make
Inhale: Lift up your arms.

And the paths they lead to.
Exhale: Bring your arms down toward your front foot and check the path you took today.

Your thoughts go beyond my reach;
Inhale: As you breathe in, reach up.

Your depth beyond all thoughts.
Exhale: As you breathe out, reach down, letting your head dangle freely.

I open my eyes, and there you are.
Inhale: Look up toward God in the heights.

I look inward, and there you are.
Exhale: Close your eyes and feel your humanness.

Thanks for your wonderful gifts.
Inhale: Count your blessings and give thanks. Smile.

Because of you, I am wonder.
Exhale: Smile. Radiate God’s joy.

 
from Praying with the body: Bringing the psalms to life by Roy DeLeon, p. 94
 


 
From the blog
Summer-friendly spiritual practices
Fearfully and wonderfully made
walk, run, soar

The Spirit does wonders


(Photo: Irene Bom)
 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Romans 15:13 (NIVUK)

 


Prayer to God, the Spirit

O God,
You are Spirit;
You are wind;
You are breath.

You meet us in the wonders of creation,
in the awe of wonderful things,
in the terror of fearful things.
You blow among the fallen leaves,
the broken branches,
the whining pain
and the whirlwinds of delight.

Your wind gently touches our brow
with comfort and caress;
your forgiveness raises us to life;
your challenge disturbs our tidy piles
and spreads opportunities before our eyes.

Gentle Spirit, breathe on us your life.
Strong Spirit, open our closed doors to your compassion;
Universal Spirit, inspire us to sing and sigh for justice;
Spirit of Jesus, teach us to walk,
to work, to pray, to live, to love,
your way.

Awaken our dreams,
expand our visions,
heal us for hope,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen

 
written by William Loader and posted on www.staff.murdoch.edu.au
 


From the blog
Rejoice in the Lord always (Prayer sheet)
Take heart
3 Prayers to the Sacred Trinity