set aside prayer

Sometimes I say this prayer before I go into a room full of people. Or sometimes I say it right before a coffee date. Sometimes I just say it mid day-when I start to think I have good ideas and big plans.

“God, help me set aside everything I think I know about (fill in the blank), about myself, and most especially about you God… That I may have a new experience with (fill in the blank), with myself and most especially with you God. Amen.”

I used to be a ritual prayer. I’d have to get all my ducks in a row before I could pray. Take a shower. Light a candle. Balance the check book. A lot of the time these mundane tasks held me back from praying. There were big things too. Guilt and shame mostly. Feeling like if I open up, really truly try to open my heart and soul to God he’ll take one look in there and puke. I’d tell myself to come back and try again later after I did some redeeming acts or ‘stayed good’ for at least a week. Needless to say I didn’t pray much back then. I have to constantly be reminded to be gentle with myself. And with others. I’m far more likely to treat you well when I’m treating myself in the same fashion.
I used this prayer today before our morning walk. I wanted to have a new experience with our neighbors, the sidewalk, myself and my children. And I did. Maybe its as simple as being more grateful. I find being grateful for the stuff you do and see everyday to be hard sometimes. It’s so much easier to be excited and thankful for trips to Disney Land and new kitchen appliances. We see these signs and houses and trees almost everyday today though they seemed especially special. It’s a place I recommend you see for yourself, and when you do be sure to stop and talk to George and Judy. They’re real friendly.
Peaceful Valley is of itself peaceful and colorful, but I’d like to think today we helped contribute a little something else. A spark. Some laughter and especially some light. Go ahead, get out there and shine!

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