“… no sir!” Hannah replied, “I’m just a very sad woman. I haven’t had any wine or beer but have been pouring out my heart to the Lord. Don’t think your servant is some good-for-nothing woman. This whole time I’ve been praying out of my great worry and trouble!” Eli responded, “Then go in peace. And may the God of Israel give you what you’ve asked of him.” 1 Samuel 1:15-17
I know I have prayed prayers like Hannah’s here, prayers from a place of “great worry and trouble.” Sometimes we pray in this way in times of looming fear like our neighbors in California watching walls of fire crawl down hillsides; sometimes it’s when our families are stranded on highways by surprising snowstorms. To even pray in these times can seem difficult when our hearts are hurting and our minds full of fear.
Living as people who practice the presence of God opens us up to the possibility of living in peace independent of external dynamics. As we move closer to Thanksgiving and the coming season of expectation we call Advent, I invite each of us into this practice. Pray with me this prayer attributed to Thomas Aquinas to keep us connected and whole in a time of disconnection:
Give us, O Lord,
steadfast hearts, which no unworthy thought can drag downward,
unconquered hearts, which no tribulation can wear out,
upright hearts, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.
Bestow upon us also, O Lord our God,
understanding to know you, diligence to seek you, wisdom to find you,
and a faithfulness that may finally embrace you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Grace and Peace,