wandering soul :: daily prayers

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columbus | georgia

// incline my heart;

open my eyes;

unite my thoughts;

satisfy my soul;

sanctify my spirit.

It’s Sunday afternoon—a lazy, sunny Sunday—the kind of Sunday where my laundry can wait in the washer a few more hours…

This morning, in church, the orchestra played “I’d Rather Have Jesus,” and it was beautiful. But, it got me thinking. Would I rather have Jesus than anything? Maybe you’re like me sometimes. Maybe you find yourself holding onto something tightly and, consequently, unconsciously idolize it.

So, what’s the cure? How do I learn to let worries and possessions go and only crave Jesus? Personally, I think it begins with prayer.

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, one of my professors told the class he wrote the following in the front of every Bible he receives: “Incline my heart; open my eyes; unite my thoughts; satisfy my soul.” Later I added, “Sanctify my spirit.”

Each part of this prayer is based on a verse or passage of Scripture. I didn’t write down the verses the professor had paired with the stanzas, but I researched ones of my own.

Here they are for you:

~Incline my Heart:

“let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in your sight, o lord, my strength and my redeemer” || psalm 19.14

~Open my Eyes:

“open my eyes that I may behold wondrous things out of your law” || psalm 119.18

~Unite my Thoughts:

“do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of god, what is good and acceptable and perfect” || romans 12.2

~Satisfy my Soul:

“delight yourself in the lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart” || psalm 37.4

~Sanctify my Spirit:

“now may the god of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole         spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our lord jesus christ” || i thessalonians 5.23

It’s hard to set aside a designated time to truly commune with God. I know from experience, and it doesn’t get easier once you get to college or once the summertime comes around. It just gets more difficult and more tedious the longer you put off training and cultivating your body, spirit, and mind to focus and to want to pray.

Usually, I manage to shoot little prayers at God throughout the day like, “Thanks for the meal” or “Pray for so and so and please keep them safe.” Rarely do I actually quiet my surroundings, create a prayer list or journal, and earnestly seek the Father with praises and supplications like He commands.

I think the Devil delights when my only “prayers” for a given day are the ones I bounce up to God out of habit —because is “Dear Jesus, thank you for this food, Amen” really going grow my relationship with my Lord and cause me to humble my heart and open my eyes to other’s needs? I highly doubt it.

The prayer at the beginning of this post has helped me with a way to start each day by setting my priorities in order and challenging me to listen to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. In a way, it serves as my pre-game pep talk—a way to intentionally condition myself to dedicate the day to the Lord’s work. (Or else I become a flustered, stressed-out mess, trying to get all of my assignments completed and all of my engagements met.)

My soul wanders and is restless each new morning, but meditating on this prayer for a few moments helps tie me to the only One Who can set my soul free.

I hope you find these thoughts encouraging or, at least, of some benefit as you start up a new week.

[ au revoir, hannah ]


bread and circuses :: more than just celebration


parachuter | dayton dragon’s baseball game

   // no one may speak for the dead, no one may interpret their mutilated dreams and visions…neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented…our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately || [ elie wiesel, nobel peace prize 1986 acceptance speech ]

Hello, Readers :: Happy (almost) 4th of July! Tomorrow’s celebrations mark the 240th birthday of our United States of America. (Right, 240th, NOT 2016th.)

I remember my parents holding a party for my sister and I when we became U.S. citizens after our adoption. We each received a shadow box with a cast iron copy of the Key to the Bastille (like the one that hangs in George Washington’s home, Mount Vernon). Beside my replica of the Key is a short explanation of its meaning; perhaps best summed up by the Marquis de Lafayette’s words: “Give me leave, my dear General [Washington], to present you…with the main key to the fortress of despotism. It is a tribute which I owe as a son to my adoptive father, as an aide de camp to my General; as a missionary of liberty to its patriarch.” Included in the rest of the text is the admonition to “cherish the blessings of liberty and remember the sacrifices that have made it possible.”

My current job has allowed me to, almost daily, keep up with the world news. If anything, the current stories and reports have convinced me to remember that freedom comes at an enormous cost. It requires deep, thoughtful contemplation and planning; foresight for the future; an understanding of both the small and big picture; and an ultimate respect for the value of life. Like the late Wiesel suggested, we cannot turn a blind eye to injustice or bias—we cannot just contently eat bread and merrily go to circuses, as a Roman satire once wittily said. It’s not too hard to continue to pursue the liberation of those in captivity; it’s not good enough just to skim the headlines and post a Facebook profile picture of yourself decked out in a country’s colors, it’s a crime to remain silent about injustice.

Celebrate the success of our country and get excited about patriotism! (Fireworks, here I come!) But do not forget to continue to seek to educate yourself on what made this nation great and who has worn the uniform and the One who gives and takes away blessing.

[ au revoir, hannah ]