A-Lenten-Prayer-a-Day, Day 18

Note: As a personal, spiritual discipline, reviving my practice in the Lenten season of 2017, I revise the prayers I wrote then for each of the forty days of this Lent; each petition focusing on a theme, a concern weighing on my mind and heart or a care of my soul and spirit.


On waiting, doubting, and listening in prayer…

O Lord, some (most?) times, when I call Your Name, I don’t hear anything. (Not even Your still small Voice that, though the sheerest of silences, Elijah heard.)

Elijah listening for the Voice of God, James Tissot (1836-1902)

Sometimes I wonder: Where are You? And sometimes, I confess, I wonder: Are You?

O Lord, in the face of my wonderment, my doubt, nevertheless, deep (deepest!) within me there is a yearning, insatiable and irresistible, to call out to You.

O Lord, in this, as I continue alway to listen for Your Voice, I have learned to listen also for the echo of my voice as it grows fainter by the instant until I no longer can hear the sound of it. In this, in faith, I believe that my plea has reached You.

sky, clouds, sunlight



Illustration: Elijah listening for the Voice of God, James Tissot (1836-1902)

4 thoughts on “A-Lenten-Prayer-a-Day, Day 18

  1. I love this, Paul. So brief, so simple, so human. Two things about it resonate so strongly with me – your noting of that eternal burning desire to reach out to (but perhaps also inward to?) Something/Someone for essential contact, for solace, for love, for affirmation. I’ve always found it comforting to think that the human desire to commune with God must mean something, must bespeak God’s receiving Presence, an Understanding Heart.

    I love the image of your listening so attentively to the echo of your own voice until it dies away. In some way, to me the longing inherent in your/our seeking, calling voice becomes one with God’s listening presence, akin to what I expressed above. The heart’s deep desire for God is inseparable from the listening, attending God. I don’t believe one can or would exist without the other.

    Thank you for these daily prayers, Paul. They are so meaningful, particularly in these days in which we are living.

    Be well, my dear friend,




  2. My dear sister Karen, I pray Ted’s, Emilia’s, and your safety during the tumultuous times, which, I fear, I feel will continue long beyond the eventual (I, too, pray) abatement of the current coronavirus onslaught. For, I believe, given our global, communal human reluctance, resistance(!) to engage willfully and constructively the now and oncoming threats to our wellbeing due to climate change, in the words of the hymn regarding time, these threats to our existence are like “an everflowing stream.”

    Thank you always for reading and reflecting on that which I write and share, and then commenting. And, yes, the “eternal burning desire to reach out” also reaches inward. And your words, “In some way, to me the longing inherent in your/our seeking, calling voice becomes one with God’s listening presence,” resonate deeply within me. The Divine Presence beckons prayer as much as our prayers seek that which, aye, the One Who exists…

    In this, I am reminded of Exodus 17.1-7, the Revised Common Lectionary’s appointed Hebrew scripture text of this past Sunday, which recounts the Israelites exodus rebellion (one of several!) against Moses and, thus, too, God, for their struggles in the wilderness; in this case, for the lack of water. The Lord provided water for the people to drink, yet the passage ends with these ominous words: “He called the place Massah and Meribah, because the Israelites quarreled and tested the Lord, saying, ‘Is the Lord among us or not?’”

    This comes to mind, for the question, “Is the Lord among us or not?”, in short, means, “Is the Lord?” That is, does the Lord exist? Nevertheless, that the question is posed at all and aloud suggests to me an inherent, unmistakable (though, yes, tinged with doubt) belief that God is present. For who calls, verily, cries out without the impetus of hope that there is Something/Someone who can and will respond?

    Love you


    1. Paul,

      (I had tried to respond to your reply yesterday, but for some reason WordPress experienced an error, and my comment disappeared into cyberspace.)

      Thank you so much for your prayers for Ted, Emilia, and me. They are much coveted and appreciated in these times. And likewise, you, Pontheolla, and Clevedale are in our hearts and prayers as you weather both literal storms and now this metaphorical typhoon. In an odd way this isolation is bringing nearer those people I would like to gather around me to explore in long conversations this experience and what it may mean to our lives and the forward march of history. You and Pontheolla would surely be among that group. Would that I could pull the cork on an excellent bottle of wine and sit down with you and others in the living room and ponder what this all means.

      Yes, “who calls… without the impetus of hope that there is Something/Someone who can and will respond?” Perhaps most of us are lucky enough here on earth that we at some time experience a minuscule sliver of heaven sufficient to suggest that there may after all be a listening ear, a loving heart, a strong hand that reaches out to us when we call. Maybe the best we can do is to seek to embody that minuscule piece for our sisters and brothers when we can, so that we all keep alive that impetus of hope. You certainly do that, Paul, from everything I have experienced of you. And for that enduring faithfulness I feel great gratitude to and for you.

      With much love,



  3. My dear Karen, I would love to sit and sip both a refreshing glass of vino and, more, the refreshment of soul-deep conversation with you. Perhaps one day again we shall know that life’s delight.

    In the meantime, please, know how much I savor your words; your thoughts and feelings, your discernments and observations about yourself (indeed, your self) and about life, which you craft so exceedingly eloquently into cyber-sent transcendent messages of hope and love and faith. This these, aye, for you, I am grateful.



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