Teacher of all things; who shares the Law, who promises the good while containing catastrophe, who does not accept burnt offerings, and who leans into our desires, hear us as we pray and may our voices come through the clamor and drone of noise surrounding our days as it surrounded the days of our ancestors. Amen.
I do not understand the prayers of jumbled letters I throw in the direction of whoever will listen. I pray them anyway knowing that in the praying some ways perish and new ways appear in the along. I pray them for the possible, rare arrival of some peace, my heart communing with the stillness of a morning. I pray them to be less troubled by the persistent roar of the ungodly seeking to destroy the change of mystery. I pray them to rebuke my anger before it moves and wreaks destruction on the loves I love. I pray them tumbling from my lips to remind myself: I am not alone yearning for righteousness. I pray them to negotiate with myself hoping for a lessening of my participation in tyranny. I pray them not to be humble or prideful but simply to sort the jumble and get on with my life.
"Ring them bells...when innocence dies." - Bob Dylan
Prepare to be made a desolation. Care packages of cookies cease. Instructions on notecards turn illegible. News becomes nothing but advertising. Butterflies turn into caterpillars. The catacombs empty themselves. Two lonely masks hang on walls. All emails to the elders return to sender. Powerful people dictate their desires. Nothing and something weave together. Expressed needs suffer bad timing. Surprises wrestle in conversations. A day off for devotion never arrives. The last angel carries the last prayer.
If one injuncts another to pray without ceasing, rather than taking offense at being told what to do raise a glass and say, Cheers. Consider yourself a fiber artist weaving threads with every painting you hang on your walls; if the colors clash the red chicken will peel itself off the blue paint and begin to strut around the kitchen daring anyone to pick it up and place the bird back on its canvas roost. Some might view this strange occurrence as a meal in the manner of all who hunger for the strippings from easy marks, simple do-gooders and granola eaters; ogrish brutes will always be brutes. Tonight, there will be those hoping to rest safely on the frozen ground to get a glimpse of Jupiter and Mars kissing in the starlight, each amazed that distance, and crossing distance, means everything to a universe creating more and more space between itself in every lonesome moment.
Say prayers in context so as not to confuse g*d. Knitted prayers work best.
How many eyes closed in prayer this year? How many heads bowed over clasped hands? How many fell to their knees, even when it hurt? How many raised hands and tentative lifts of the arms? How many "Give us" prayers were asked this year? How many "Let us" prayers? How many "Make us" prayers? How many requests that began, "Jesus, we just"? How many more started, "God, if you just..."? How many turns, returns and promises lifted to the heavens? How many beads clicked moving on to the next prayer request? How many sorrows, sadnesses and sicknesses placed in the hands of God? How many prayers to find a way for a blessing to be given? How many more prayers for blessings to be received? How many prayers were obligatory, routine and ritualed? How many virus cells were eradicated by prayer? How many prayers heard by prayer-voyuers? How many prayers were surrounded by the smoke of incense? How many daughters would still be alive if their fathers had said their bedtime prayers? How many prayers sung over glowing grandfathers? How many times worse would life have been if no prayers were said? How many years did prayer add to lives in 2020? How many prayers cried for just one more year? How many prayers said in unison? How many angels carried all the prayers to heaven? Were there enough?