Instead of listening to a sermon this past Sunday, our congregation spent time in prayer, prayers for healing. Along with lighting candles in for a personal prayer, as well as healing prayers for the nation, we were invited to write a concern we wished lifted in prayer during the coming week. We deposited those prayer cards in a basket by the baptismal font, and then later in the service when coming forward for communion, we could take one of the cards from the basket and include that name or issue in our personal prayer time during the coming week.
Here's what was written on the paper I selected from the basket.
Prayers for our country--the horrors of ignoring
the poor and middle class. Those left out without
Yes, this prayer will be in my heart this week.
As I sat in the pew thinking about all the concerns in the basket and also those symbolized by the lit candles in the windows lining the sanctuary, my eyes filled with tears.
And my heart ached. How often have I said to someone in deep emotional or spiritual distress, "My heart breaks for you," but that is not really what I feel or what happens. My heart is stronger than that. Instead, what seems to happen is that my heart opens, perhaps wider than it has stretched before. It opens to hold someone else's heartache. The eyes and ears of my heart awaken me to someone else's pain and plight.
Sometimes, too, hearts ache when they snap shut, close up tight, and work extra hard to fend off what is unpleasant or when we want to flee into denial. It seems to me we think we protect ourselves when we retreat in this way, but I wonder if we aren't really weakening our heart, not allowing it to beat stronger.
When your heart aches, it is time to listen to it.
One more thing: A new friend happened to select my prayer request from the basket and told me she would pray for my dear one. My heart lifted.
What is your heart telling you right now? How does your heart want you to respond? In what ways can you nurture your heart to be a truth teller in your life? I would love to know. Happy Valentine's Day!
Another of my posts about the heart:
NOTE: I invite you to read my guest post on Abbey of the Arts—one of my favorite websites. Christine Valters Paintner, whom I quote often in my blog, is the host of this site. Consider subscribing. Anyway, here is the link to my post on one of her ongoing features, Monk in the World http://abbeyofthearts.com/blog/2017/02/08/monk-in-the-world-guest-post-nancy-l-agneberg/