Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 5th, 2011


No, the heart that has truly loved never forgets

But as truly loves on to the close,

As the sunflower turns on her God when he sets

The same look which she turned when he rose.

I have loved these words ever since I first heard them sung by John McCormack on Victor 78s in the 1940’s.    They bring to mind a faithful love, the dog always at his master’s side, the eyes of the servant on her master’s hand.  So our eyes are to turn to our God.

Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until  he have mercy upon us.  — Psalm 123:2

I do not know if the sunflower’s face actually turns toward the sun throughout the whole day but the imagery works for me.

Thomas a Kempis in his Imitation of Christ writes:
I have said to thee full oft, and yet I say again: Forsake thyself, resign of thyself and thou shalt enjoy great peace. Give all for all, seek nothing, ask nothing again; stand purely and undoubtingly in me and thou shalt have me; thou shalt be free in heart and darkness shall not over go (overwhelm) thee. To this enforce thyself, this pray thou, this desire thou, that thou may be despoiled on all manner of self, and thou, bare, follow bare Jhesu (Jesus only) and die to thyself and live everlastingly to me. Then shall end all vain fantasies, wicked conturbations and superfluous cares; then also shall go away inordinate dread and inordinate love shall die. [ Part 3, Chapter xlii ]

And yet, and yet, while something in me seeks the will of God, how often and how well do I turn to him?  A few days ago I went to mass a half hour early, thinking I will ask God to teach me to pray.  This is one of my most constant prayers. I am not happy with how I pray.   I look about me, I see people sitting quietly in church, unmoving, apparently recollected, probably praying.  But me, I’m in the back seat because I’m fidgety, because I need to rearrange my body, because I used to the agoraphobic, because I want to see who comes in and what’s happening, and yes, I sometimes pray for these people, but I also cough, and clear my throat,  and move about, and I’ve been known to do “pew exercises” out of sheer boredom.  I turn to God and when he doesn’t talk back I move on to other things.

Father Thomas Dubay, S.M.,  says that waiting is a kind of prayer.  It is an activity that involves looking for someone, an expectancy, a yearning.   But I have trouble staying in waiting mode for any length of time.  The mind wanders.  It is true that often I go home after mass and the rosary and know what I am going to blog about that day.   It has somehow come to me at church.  How much is from me and how much from God I couldn’t tell you.

I don’t fret about the distractions too much.  God has shown me that he can get through to me if he wants to.  He knows how often I’ve asked to pray well.   I’ve learned from The Little Flower (St. Therese of Lisieux) that to be a little flower may be exactly what God asks of her (and of me).   I fancy she is a white violet.  Me, I’m a chickweed bloom.

Somewhere I read of a nun who wanted to learn how to pray well.  And a saint (I forget which) advised that she not strain over one method or another but pray like the flower in the field that simply turns to the light and opens up.

Fill my cup, Lord
I life it up, Lord
Come and quench this thirsting in my soul.


As the deer pants for streams of water,
So my soul pants for you, my God.  — Psalm 42:1

November 8th, 2008


1. Pray for Obama’s protection. We already know that some weird, neo-Nazi fanatics in Tennessee plotted to kill Sen. Obama during his campaign. Let’s pray that racist hatred is not allowed to spread. Let’s cancel every assassin’s bullet in the name of Jesus. May civility triumph over bigotry.

2. Cover his wife and daughters in prayer. It is not easy to live under constant media scrutiny. Pray for Obama’s wife, Michelle, and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha, as they face invasive cameras, nosy reporters, maniacal fans and dangerous enemies. Obama is not only a politician but also a husband and a father.

3. Pray that Obama will govern with God’s wisdom. God rewarded Solomon because he asked for wisdom instead of wealth, long life or vengeance on his enemies (see 1 Kings 3:11-12). Pray that Obama will order his priorities like that. Despite Solomon’s tragic character flaws, his legacy was wisdom. We can ask God to give our president the same grace.

4. Ask God to keep our president humble. Many great American leaders became corrupt after they moved to Washington. The fatal attraction of fame, wealth and power proved irresistible. The only thing that will guard a man or woman from this pitfall is humility. May God deliver President Obama from the curse of pride.

5. Pray for wise and righteous advisers to surround him. Godly leaders cannot do their job alone. Even the best leaders have failed because they trusted the wrong people. Pray that Obama will not select his counselors based on party, race, pedigree or political cronyism but on godly character and proven wisdom. Pray also that he will not allow secret traitors into his inner circle.

6. Ask for the spirit of reconciliation. Some segments of our deeply divided society want nothing to do with Obama now that he has won the presidency. Even some Christians will be tempted to harbor resentment and nurse political grudges throughout his term in office. Pray that God will grant forgiveness and healing so that leaders on all political levels can have constructive dialogue.

7. Pray that Obama will adopt pro-life convictions. Many politicians have changed their views on key issues while in office. In the 1800s some leaders who favored slavery later denounced it. In the 1950s some who opposed racial integration later became champions of it. Even though Obama won approval from many voters because he sanctions abortion, God could soften and change his heart.

8. Bind all evil forces assigned to manipulate our president. The specter of Islamic terrorism looms over the United States, and dark forces are ready to infiltrate. Our only hope lies in prayer to the God who is able to expose and outwit the schemes of the wicked. This is truly a time for spiritual warfare, and intercessors must not come off the wall in this hour! Pray that no foreign government, terrorist organization or demonic principality will use Obama as a tool. We must stand strong against the spirit of antichrist that promotes dictatorship, persecution of Christians and hostility toward Israel.

9. Pray that Obama’s door will remain open to the church. The loudest voices of secular culture—from Bill Maher in Hollywood to atheists in academia—would be happy if religion were removed from public life. Pray that Obama, who claims to have a personal faith in Jesus Christ, will unapologetically welcome Christian leaders into his company and seek their counsel. And pray that false religious leaders (who claim to know Christ but deny His power) will not have his ear.

10. Pray that our nation will enjoy God’s peace and blessing during the Obama administration. The apostle Paul instructed early believers to pray for all in authority “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity” (1 Tim. 2:2, NASB). God’s will is for America to experience peace and prosperity so that we can continue to export the gospel to the nations. This must happen whether a Democrat or a Republican is in the White House. As we cry out for God’s mercy on our wayward nation, pray that He will allow us to be a light to the world as we finance global missions, feed and heal the world’s poor and share Christ’s love at home and abroad.

The above Ten Ways to Pray for Obama arrived in my e-mail a day or two ago.  I have not been able to  find out who wrote it so I could give appropriate credit.  However,  people who write prayers are usually not seeking recognition but, rather, want to encourage more people to pray.  I include it here, with gratitude.

Postscript:  In no time at all I have been informed that the author of the above prayers is  J. Lee Grady of Charisma magazine — see here


More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.   Tennyson.