My wife and I burn a prayer candle in our fireplace when someone dear to us needs support or asks us to pray. But since February when the pandemic first took hold, we've been bundling together more prayers than we can count. With job loss and online school, hunger, political stress, inequity and injustice, and so much illness and death, our friends and our global community are struggling.
So we've kept one candle burning almost all of the time at our house, day and night, for 10 months. It's a small gesture, but important to our hearts. Every time I walk by, I add a prayer. Every time we light a new candle, we add lots and lots of prayers. Mostly, we just lift our concerns, grief, and fatigue into the Light.
I can't really explain in words how prayer shifts my perspective and reorients my priorities... it’s a quiet, mysterious alchemy of Spirit inside of me. I bring in heaviness, and come out a little clearer. I carry in the ache of despair, and rise up aching with what must heal. I release my agenda and opinions and am given a little more compassion and purpose.
This new fabric art image, Prayer Practice, asks,
I wrote these questions the day before we here in the U.S. witnessed an attack on our Capitol building and election process in an attempted coup.
That night— last night— I picked up the Prayer Practice fabric art and held it in my hands to pray. It calmed me more than anything else had, because that dark, deep bowl reminded me to make room in my heart for anger, fear, trust, and curiosity all at once. The layers of expanded bowl asked me to grow my capacity for fierce clarity and condemnation of what’s wrong, while at the same time I hold understanding of the wounding that motivates what we can no longer tolerate.
The birds in this prayer put me in touch with both humility and power. I felt asked again to listen humbly with my soul to those who have suffered, including myself, who know a different way forward. Specifically, my sisters and brothers of color, indigenous communities, disabled and ill friends, and our Earth are offering wisdom I need, and that we need. They show me that when we privilege one person or one group above the rest, when we don’t care for the wholeness and well-being of all people and beings, none of us can rest in the belonging that heals our wounding and our destructive behaviors.
In my prayer, the birds of empowerment rose up in that hopeful color. They called me to speak out a little bit more, which isn't easy for me. And so I’ll say today: Friends! Power is shifting in the US and the reactions of White supremacy and rage are real and dangerous. As a people, we can love in much bigger ways, create vibrant community, and find more joy— but only if we face and engage the wounds of racism and injustice in our long histories and in our own hearts and habits. The Light and its power to reveal are right here with us in the struggle. We can choose to be birds who dive into the dark richness of the truth and rise with wisdom.
The Light is in me, it’s in you too. Here’s my experience: I know that Light when I get still and listen, when I set an intention in my spirit to pay attention. With a little practice, I feel the Light’s presence. It helps me remember the joy and gift of being alive, and honor those who’ve gone before. I find guidance and lean into trusting and following the Light within. It shines on my fear and ignorance so I can discover what’s mine to heal or change today— within myself and my community— and I can ask for help to do it. Living in the Light, I am a little more brave and free.
What’s your experience of the Light in you, however you name it?
Please join me and dedicate your Light, prayer, intentions, and effort to the good of all of us. Although it might sound trite in chaos moments or when dominance divides us, I still believe the Light is weaving all of our good practices and actions together into transformation.
Blessings as we pray fiercely and make change, lifted by the Light.