Each Day By Name

After holding babies close,
Holding hands on the walk to the mailbox,
Holding feet to the fire,
Holding loosely to the ones who have left the nest
(Say it and say it until you believe it:
“roots and wings,”
“roots and wings”),
My hands and heart are learning the contours of a new holding:
An upholding,
A gift of words that will not be written down,
But only offered up.

Standing quietly in the sure center of an ever-increasing circumference,
I watch as my family grows.
While 7 in Scripture is the number of perfection
Six — for me —  was always the number of completion —
The number of plates on my table when everyone came home for dinner.

When six swells to nine,
And the highchair is back in the dining room,
And the daughters-in-love help clear,
There’s a thankfulness that bubbles quiet.
Since they are all priceless to me,
My deepest desire is for their greatest good:
Wise decisions
Satisfying relationships
Holiness and helpfulness.

Time-bound and short of sight, do I really know what’s best?
Even with all my good intentions,
My jars of green beans and homemade granola,
My warm thoughts and my heartfelt hopes
Will add nothing to the faithfulness of their following
For this is something that only God can do.

God in heaven,
God of Hannah who prayed for a son,
God of Esther who prayed and influenced a nation,
God of Anna who spent a lifetime serving through prayer,
Will you give me grace to pray by name each day for those closest to my heart?
Will you help me to float their names like an offering,
Giving them back to you anew with every prayer?

Just as there’s a fine line between privilege and responsibility
(I want to see this as a privilege),
There’s also a hair’s breadth between conviction and superstition
(Especially when it comes to prayer).
Jesus says, “Go into your room and shut the door,” and
I go into my room and shout from the rooftop via Facebook.
Jesus says, “Where two or more are gathered in my name . . .”
And when I interpret that to mean that if two is good, then twenty is great,
And two hundred is pretty much a sure thing,
How lightly I have reduced this privilege of moving the hand of God to a referendum —
Or even an entitlement.

In my reading, I see that Paul lifted names in almost every letter.
I wonder . . .
Did the names spring readily to his pen because they had been on his lips in prayer?

“Euodia and Syntyche at loggerheads again”
Prayer like sandpaper to smooth away the relational splinters.

“Tychicus, a beloved brother, faithful minister, fellow servant”
Prayer like a spotlight on the beautiful image-bearer and words of thanksgiving for that sweet life.

When my prayers become prescriptive
(“Lord do this thing that I have planned for us . . .”),
As if You were on my staff;

When, with cobbled-together omniscience,
I presume to second guess Your sovereignty;

Set Your cross-shaped correction upon my words
And bring me back to the simple grace,
The lavish mercy,
That comes with unclenched prayer.
Let my words be few
And my listening be large around each whispered name,
With the offering up of my hopes and a commitment to Your will.
For prayer is the hardest work of all
Since it is not my work at all
But Yours
When I cooperate with You
And agree
That You know what is best as,
One by one,
I bring each one
To You
Each day
By name.

 

Photo credit

//

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular Bible studies and book reviews delivered to your inbox.  Just enter your e-mail address in the box at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging  communities on a regular basis.  They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week.  I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.

Advertisements

Published by

Michele Morin

I am a teacher, blogger, reader, and gardener who finds joy in sitting at a table surrounded by women with open Bibles. I have been married to an unreasonably patient husband for nearly 27 years, and our four children are growing up at an alarming rate. Nonetheless, two teens still remain at home, and along with an incorrigible St. Bernard, we laugh, make messes, clean them up, and then start all over again. I love hot tea and well-crafted sentences, poems that stop me in my tracks and days at the ocean with the whole family. I lament biblical illiteracy and advocate for the prudent use of "little minutes." I blog at Living Our Days because "the way I live my days will be, after all, the way I live my life." You can connect with me on Facebook or Twitter.

70 thoughts on “Each Day By Name”

  1. Oh dear. I’ve been out of tears for awhile now. Not sure if it’s an age thing or waning estrogen thing. Perhaps I’m just all cried out. But I can still feel the sting when emotion evokes it. I sure felt it reading this. My family has forced me to join Facebook because apparently I am missing out…or something. I’m still trying to figure it out but if and/or when I do I’d like to share this with them. Is that okay?

    Like

    1. Smiling, because I’m still trying to figure it all out, too. Sure, you can share anything you like, and I’d be honored. I’ll look for you in the FB jungle — are you Meema there? Meemanator?

      Like

  2. WOW! So powerful! Amen, yes, I am agreeing with you in prayer, especially this last stanza…
    Set Your cross-shaped correction upon my words
    And bring me back to the simple grace,
    The lavish mercy,
    That comes with unclenched prayer.
    Let my words be few
    And my listening be large around each whispered name,
    With the offering up of my hopes and a commitment to Your will.
    For prayer is the hardest work of all
    Since it is not my work at all
    But Yours
    When I cooperate with You
    And agree
    That You know what is best as,
    One by one,
    I bring each one
    To You
    Each day
    By name.

    Like

    1. Why is it so hard to pray for the people who are closest to us? This has been such a challenge for me — and, of course, we write about the things that we’re working on, right? Thanks, Beth, for your words of affirmation. When I saw that the post had gone live this morning, I asked myself, “Should I have shared this?”

      Like

      1. Yes, Yes indeed you should have shared this Michele Morin. Your words bless me this am. Beautiful. I saw a glimpse of your heart through this lines that came alive on the screen today! xoxo

        Like

  3. Beautiful, Michele! – and convicting.

    This line really got me: “Let my words be few
    And my listening be large around each whispered name”

    I’m working on offering God a gift of silence and waiting on Him every day. I see now that even when I get to the petition part of my prayer-life, I’m still giving a lot of instructions – as if He were “on my staff.”

    Once again, you nailed it.

    Like

  4. Powerful! You shared from your heart the real things, things that really matter. I think the one thing that stuck out to me that you said is this
    “When my prayers become prescriptive
    (“Lord do this thing that I have planned for us . . .”),
    As if You were on my staff;”

    “As if you were on my staff”… I think this alone shows sometimes just how we think God ought to go and do our bidding as we pray.

    I’m learning, slowly, that it is not for me to tell Him to do things I know He can do and is doing. My time in prayer is for me to listen and learn from Him.

    He doesn’t need my bidding. I need HIS.

    I’m learning more every day that my prayer time with Him is being willing to be obedient and do the things He has called me to… and the rest of the problems around me, I can share them with Him, and allow Him to work as He will. He is GOD after all, and not Santa Claus. More of Him, and less of me.

    So that really spoke to me today, and I pray the Lord continues to bless and draw you ever nearer to Him! Hugs and appreciation for your deep and powerful words today.

    Like

    1. Yes, I amaze myself sometimes with my flippancy toward God — as if we’re all sort of sitting around a table, all of us more or less equal and we’re discussing my proposal for one of my kids’ life. Incredible. Thanks for weighing in with your words today. So good to have met you!

      Like

  5. Michele, I am undone and tears are flowing. So glad I came to read this post after a conversation I had today with my daughter. May I be faithful to pray for each one close to my heart – every day – by name. I have many favorite posts of yours but well, this one is THE favorite. Thank you for sharing this beautiful prayer!

    Like

  6. This is beautiful, Michele. Yes, prayer is hard because it is not what we do but what God does. Thank you for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.

    Like

  7. The big take away I have here is to endure in praying and praying specifically by name for those we love and care about. So important! Thank you for sharing, Michele!

    God bless,
    Patty

    Like

  8. Michele, that poem was amazing! Such an inspiration to pray for others by name.
    ~Sherry Stahl via the #CountingMyBlessings
    xoxo

    Like

  9. Ah, the power of praying for others. I know it’s powerful. Thank you for the reminder that it’s Biblical, too! Paul was all about praying for people–and it’s something I can do when I run or walk around my classroom checking on work or baking and cook in my kitchen.

    Like

  10. My week never feels complete without a visit to your space, Michele. But this. this poem is delightful! I’m moved to tears! “Prayer like sandpaper to smooth away relational splinters.” < That speaks to me on so many levels. Jesus did a little smoothing of my rough heart just this week. Blessings to you, my sister in the Lord!

    Like

  11. Powerful, powerful… I am glad I found your page today. Poetry combines so well with prayer. I am especially paying attention to what you are saying about prayer being the work of God, with which we cooperate. Great post! #SmallVictoriesSundaylinkup

    Like

    1. Thank you for finding your way here! And I’m also being impressed with the truth that we cooperate with God in accomplishing His will and His purposes “on earth as it is in heaven,” when we pray “unclenched.”

      Liked by 1 person

  12. beautiful inspiration, Michele. as the numbers around our tables grow, the love expands. but so does the pain, sorrow, challenges, and opportunities to sit with God with all that crowds our minds.

    thank you for going there in this post …

    Like

    1. That is certainly true, Linda. And we need a bigger God to get us through those challenges — you know that I’m thinking of Lucy in Narnia who realized that Aslan got bigger for her the more she grew to trust in him. May this be our experience as well.

      Like

  13. Michele, I love your reflections on prayer. It can be so difficult to listen to God when we already have a chore list ready for Him as if, like you said, He is a member of our staff. I find myself erring in that regard far too often. Thank you for sharing these lovely words!

    Like

  14. This is so, so beautiful. I have just been married for two years and have no children yet, but this really speaks to the heart of family. I can’t wait to share this with my mom and mother-in-law when the time is right.

    Like

    1. Kelsey, your words bring back to me those glorious days of everything being new. May God bless you with children according to His will, and may you and your husband grow in your love for one another and in your closeness in prayer as the years go by. Thanks for reading and for letting me know that you have been here.

      Like

  15. Oh my word. This!
    I’ve read many of your blogs and they’re good. But this.
    This caused tears to flow and my heart to beat in sympathy and in understanding and in that wholeness of desire to see my children in the kingdom, not MY way, but His.
    I’m learning to let go as well. I have one out of the nest who calls and communicates and sends love often and the other who responds if I beg. Where’s the line? I don’t know. I give them both to God each day and cherish the 2 years I have left with child number 3 at home!
    This was beautiful. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carol, I am finding, too, that the empty-ing nest makes me so grateful for the chicks that remain. I’m thankful that the piece resonated for you. I’m learning these lessons on prayer as they unfold in my daily life, and am happy to be living them alongside you.

      Like

  16. I can’t believe the timing of this post! It came to my email late last night, so I didn’t see it until this evening. Yesterday I became a Meemaw for the second time, when my own “daughter-in-love” gave birth to baby Connor! And just now I read this encouraging and heart-warming reminder to continue to hold up my adult kids and my precious little grandchildren before the throne of grace, regularly and with open hands (boy, is that hard!). The one thing I want more than anything for each of them is that they love and follow the Lord, and I must trust Him to work in their hearts so they will do that. Thanks for sharing this!

    Like

    1. Aren’t grand children just the best? What triggered these thoughts for me is the engagement of my second son. The weight of all those much-loved people makes me aware of my responsibility to pray faithfully for them. And also the truth that God knows better than I what’s best for each one. Thanks for reaching out!

      Like

  17. I’m so glad you chose to share this beautiful piece at our Pot Luck today at The Loft, Michele!

    Again, I echo the sentiment – “you nailed it.”

    Like

  18. Michele, what beautiful, convicting words! I’m going to read this over and over and pin it to read again. How wrong we get it sometimes! I was especially struck by the phrase “a hair’s breadth between conviction and superstition (Especially when it comes to prayer).” Thanks for sharing this on Mondays @ Soul Survival.

    Like

  19. Amen, Michele. You have painted a beautiful picture of your family and your heart for them, and how praying for them by name is a bit part of how we love those who are precious to us.

    Like

    1. I’m thankful that God is doing something in my heart regarding prayer. It’s hard work, and my lazy brain would rather listen to NPR when I’m in the car alone, but God is giving grace and strength, and I’m thankful.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s