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Beside Restful Waters

“An objective of our prayer is to change the way we perceive the world in order to change the way we relate to the world.”

-Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Do I have an objective for my prayer?

Yes, I can admit that I do have an objective for my prayer: to come in to a closer relationship with God, my Higher Power.

This is the objective of any relationship that I enjoy, and is becoming an objective of relationships which I don’t enjoy. Here is my greatest challenge!


Yes, I am finding myself praying for people I do not like. It has become a way to walk in this other person’s moccasins. When I visualize myself in their footsteps, I often come to recognize that they have a story that I don’t understand. Therefore, I have no business passing judgements of like or dislike of them. I find this very humbling. I find that this prayer slowly removes the sting of my judgement and makes space for a growing sense of love.

This approach to prayer has been made possible by sobriety.

Sobriety is the source of space in which others can be loved.

This is becoming a healthy state of mind when living in a society filled with news of potentially destructive energy. Random acts of killing, hostility, tragedy, divisiveness, and social distance. So I try to take the following suggestion to heart:

“Follow the news reporting for one day. What are the cries of the earth and the cries of the poor that you listen to and read about in the day’s news? What one simple act can you take in response to what you see and hear so that your grieving serves the world?” (Richard Rohr)

For me, the jolting questions are whether or not I even allow my grieving to serve a purpose other than my own self-pity or to justify my anger. I’d much rather point a finger and blame than take responsibility for serving the world. Yet, there is a growing cry within that calls me to call on the pains of my addiction and offer them in service to the world I know.

What one simple act can I do?

I am finding this fairly easy within the individuals and groups I encounter as I practice my sobriety each day. However, this growing cry is calling from distances beyond my daily circles. Whomever I read, Buddha, Krishna, Jesus, Pope Paul, Native Grandparents, the message grows louder: WE ARE ALL RELATED, EVERY LIVING BEING IN OUR COSMOS.

I must act in response to the national and global pains that grieve me, or shut the hell up. Period!

As I reflect, there are simple acts I perform every day:

My Christian practice includes forgiveness which makes space for love rather than judgement. This softens my soul and opens my heart to respect your path.

My Yogic practice starts with awakening the four lower chakras: earth, water, fire, ether. Each of these grounds me in the Source of existence which I share and protect with you.

My Native Ojibway practices starts with honor of earth, water, fire and air. My relationship to these Sacred elements is the foundation for all life and all relationships.

When I err, I pray for the mindfulness to admit the error and correct. I pray for your voice to make this possible.

I will continue these practices. I will call on my Higher Power to allow the practices to grow where I least like and want them to go. I will be grateful that we are all related, especially those of you I encounter daily as you are the breathing presence of my Higher Power.

I will be grateful and try, try, try not to take any of us for granted. When I do, I rely on your presence to remind me of our relationships. I will know that you, too, are with me beside the restful waters, breathing fresh air, walking on sacred soils, and warmed by the same fires.


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