When we try to wrap our brains around the fact that, yes, the year actually is over, and wonder where exactly it went because it flew by so quickly.
When our thoughts turn to resolutions and goals for the New Year.
A friend of mine just wrote on his Facebook page that he began one of his resolutions in October and reached his goal by the end of the year. I will try to keep that in mind for 2013. But as I did not have that foresight, here I am at the end of 2012 thinking about my New Year’s resolutions.
There are the usual … eat more healthy food and less junk food, exercise more, finish all cookies and pies by 11:59 pm so that I don’t break the resolution due to a sugar and gluten infested home, etc.
But New Year’s resolutions need to be more than just weight loss and exercise goals, I think … something that outlines growth of the soul.
During this past summer I began to read a book titled Between Heaven and Earth, by Ken Gire. The introduction follows:
Between heaven and earth lies the firmament of our prayers. In one sense, the firmament is ethereal as air. In another sense, it is substantial as atmosphere. In a sense, it is a mere wisp of who we are. In another sense, it is rich with the elements of life, gritty with the dust of our humanity.
Within this ever-changing sky funnels a maelstrom of faith and doubt. Turbulent at times. Galing with emotion. Wild and windswept and full of fury. A swirling vortex of questions, arguments, and confusion.
But that is not all there is to the weather of the heart.
There are calm days, too. Serene as a sunset. A tinting of thankfulness on the horizon. A billowing of praise. And, thank God, for most of us, there are more blue skies than storms.
Some … prayers have been sighed into the heat of day. Others have been shivered into the cold loneliness of night. Together, they make up the atmosphere.
And together they celebrate an intimate God.
A God who listened and spoke, cleaving all of human history with a word.
God with us.
Prayer is, I think, an expression of our deepest longing. Unspoken syllables tearfully ascending an expansive sky. Snowflaking into a word. Something beautiful from heaven, coming down.
Glistening with grace and truth. Settling on our shoulders. Touching us with wonder. And love. And hope.
Perhaps it is more than a name.
Perhaps in the firmament between heaven and earth
It is both a prayer
And an answer to prayer.
It took me a few months to read through the book, and it was a journey of sorts, as I sat on my balcony on quieter mornings, or curled up in the corner of the couch to fit in a few pages on busier days.
The book, contains thoughts on prayer, and prayers from various walks of life and perspectives. I felt a stirring in my heart as I read, of the need to make prayer more a part of my life. Yet the hope hasn’t quite taken off in my life as I would have hoped it would. Not quite the eagle soaring life of prayer I envisioned as I read. So I will start in the New Year with perhaps a fledgling resolution: yes, to pray.
More specifically, to quiet my heart long enough to listen and feel that stirring in my heart of someone to pray for.
My New Year’s resolution is to pray for someone every day, someone that is in a way a part of my life, whoever comes to mind as I stop and listen and pray. It is, in a way, a hope to give a little of myself in a way that will matter. A way to say thank you to those who have touched my life in some way.
The prayer might be in my heart one day, or spoken aloud the next. It might be a verse, or a whole Psalm. I might write a note to the person, or post a prayer on this or my other blog. Or it might just be a prayer offered up in silence, trusting God to answer the prayer in His time and way.
Prayer is a mysterious thing, as Ken wrote above. It is ethereal and heavenly, yet at times answered in surprising, miraculous, and tangible ways.
It is my New Year’s resolution … one that I pray to keep all year long.