paying attention

Today, in my devotional reading this thought from The Spiritual Life struck me:

To be human is to pray… prayer is the disciplined dedication to paying attention.

As I sit here and try to write this morning, I must admit I am distracted.

Distracted by the remnants of water in our basement (our backup sump pump failed to switch on, leaving some standing water in the unfinished areas).

Distracted by the squirrels and birds fighting with one another on the fence.

Distracted by the pings from Facebook because I left the tab open in my browser.

Distracted by the waiting and anticipation for a SCOTUS decision.

Distracted by the garbage trucks making their way up and down the streets in my neighborhood.

 

What if instead of being distracted, I focused on paying attention in prayer.

 

Gracious God, be with my husband and I and help us to be patient and wise as we clean up the water and as he fixes the pump.

Holy One, thank you for the creatures of this world who play and bring joy to our lives.

Blessed Redeemer, be with my friends and family and acquaintances.  Help them to know your grace and mercy.  Be with them in their struggles.

God of Grace, you teach us that love is patient and kind. You teach us that love is sacrificial.  You teach us that your love has no boundaries.  Be with us today as so many of us wait and dream of a nation that recognizes the many kinds of love and families that bring joy and support and stability and hope and companionship to our lives.

Almighty Savior, be with those who serve us today. And help each of us to think carefully about the waste in our lives. Help us to treat this world and its possessions with respect.  Help us be less wasteful with the precious gifts we have been given.  Help us to focus more on relationships and less on things.  Forgive us for our reckless use of resources others are dying without.

 

Westerhoff and Eusden write in The Spiritual life that “unless our identity is hid in God we will never know who we are or what we are to do.”  It is when we pay attention, maybe especially to the things that distract us, that we discover God’s longing for our lives, we hear the still small voice calling us to a transformed life, and we see our neighbors through new lenses.  Prayer is the foundation of our faith, the beginning of change, the roots of justice, and the core of our belief.

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