A Prayer for the Profoundly Sad


A Brief Note About this Prayer

I don’t like praying out loud. Well, that is to say I don’t like being asked to pray on the spot. I don’t think quickly on my feet and so resort to cliches and platitudes that I don’t necessarily mean. I’ve been reading some of Walter Brueggemann’s prayers lately and started experimenting with writing some of my own that (in theory, anyway) I would be able to, say, pray over our community group or in some other group setting. You know, because people are asking me to pray all the time.

Mostly I think they will just be for me. I pray most often without words but sometimes I want something to anchor me and to name the things that I am feeling and hold them before a benevolent God. Here’s what I came up with for the first one:


A Prayer for the Profoundly Sad

. . .

I’m awake. I’ve brushed my teeth, combed my hair, bought the groceries. What I want to do is get back in bed. I want to get in bed and burrow like an animal beneath my blankets and stay until the shape of my body is indented on the mattress and my hair is a tangled, matted mess and everyone has long since given up waiting for me to get up.

I don’t want to know what I know. I don’t want to see what I have seen.

How long will this last? How long will I feel the sticky grime on my palms from the dross and the draff that is mine now to hold? How long until I can bathe in fresh water and loose the dirt that is caked on my hands, my face, my breasts? How long until I can lie again in soft meadow grasses and feel the cool warmth of the sun on my skin?

It could be a long time. It could be forever.

Yet you will be with me. You won’t leave my bed. You will stay even when my back is to you, my fists clenched, my eyes squeezed tight. You will stay and show me how to be kind to myself. You will stay and tell me who I am. You will run your fingers softly through my gnarled, knotted hair and rub my feet with oil. You will remind me about the banqueting table where once I feasted and will, one day, surely, feast again.

. . .


Image credit: Chris Pawluk