I was thinking this morning of the default prayers that run through our brains. I'm talking about the short phrases we find ourselves muttering under our breaths when life goes south, when we need something, when we're scared out of our wits. The medieval monks repeated what is known as 'the sinner's prayer', found in Luke 18: 13, "Lord, have mercy on me, a [poor] sinner." In foxholes and ICUs the simple, "Save me/him/her" is often uttered. And across the world, whether believers or not, in time of great need, the words, "Help me," are spoken, whispered, screamed in the darkest hours.
So, too, I have a default prayer. Mine is a bit longer than the two word phrases above, but deep in me. It's the prayer I pray as I rise in the morning and as I'm falling asleep at night. I speak it so often I sometimes worry that it's mere rote, empty of meaning. But as I thought of it this morning, I realized again how cell-deep and life changing it is for me to pray. It's this: "Lord, be more in me than I am in myself." Be more. That's the prayer I speak when I don't know what else to pray. What I am in myself is small, sinful and painfully ordinary. If left to my own devices, I know what I will choose. Self and sin and all things wrong. But if He's in me, increasing in me day by day, becoming more and more and more in me, just imagine the difference. Because what He is, is everything. More wise, compassionate, patient, loving, forgiving. What He is is more full of grace and healing. He is more. Well, actually, He is all, isn't He? And I am just selfish enough, just greedy enough (spiritually) to want it all--I want all the wisdom, the mercy, the grace that He, who said He would come into those who asked, has to give. I want it all. That's true, I want all that He is to fill every crevasse of my life.
I also believe this might well be the most important thing I can pray for others. To ask God--who asks me to pray--to overwhelm others' weaknesses with His strength, to flood their little lives with his abundance. To inundate them with all that He is. So I pray this simple prayer for my children, my Beve. I ask Him to be more in them. I want Him to be more in them than they are in themselves alone. More true, more wise, more loving. More.
And, as one of His chosen ones, one of His adopted children, I am just presumptuous enough to ask Him to be more in the world than the world is on its own. In fact, I believe it is the responsibility of every son and daughter of the King to approach Him boldly on behalf of those who aren't yet in His family. It is our primary job in His Kingdom--before doing anything, we are called to pray. And to pray that He acts and does and IS more in this world. Today I'm thinking of Haiti. I'm thinking of the incredible devastation, the loss of lives. I'm thinking of that unbelievably impoverished country now facing ruin of catastrophic proportions. Tragedy beyond which I can imagine. Though I can (and have) sent my pittance across the wires to aid, what I know to be true is that mere human aid will not suffice. So I keep praying my default prayer. "Be more, Lord. Be more present in Haiti. Be overwhelmingly present. Yes, overwhelm them with help, hope, strength and peace. Be more real in those who fly in with aid, actually be the hands of those who lift hands to heal. Be more, Lord."
Be more in me, Lord. So that I can be more in this world. Amen.