Provision

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I pray, like, a lot. Maybe it’s my Catholic upbringing or my anxious nature, but basically I am literally living out that impossible sounding admonition from scripture to “pray continually.” (1Thessalonians 5:17) When I wake up, I get on my knees just for a second or two to give the day to God. I do the ‘Jesus Calling’ devotional over my morning coffee and smoothie. I make the sign of the cross over the schools and homes of dear ones in the car on my way to teach music classes. I pray before starting each class. I say grace before eating, even, say, a granola bar. I stop and hold the hands of Mary on my way back from a run or a walk, say a few Hail Marys there, and give my kids to her protection once again. I stop and mentally put people and petitions under the altar in my church.  I have a prayer board at home, and it’s possible your name is on it right this very minute.  I read and underline scriptures every night in my One Year Bible, and I often pray the rosary and go to daily mass when I can.

I pray a lot. I’m not bragging. It’s kind of a problem, actually, when prayer feels more like a lever I’m pressing than the communion with God it’s supposed to be. In fact, you could say that my interactions with my students, the times I notice a beautiful sky, the times I look into the eyes of my dog and she looks back with limitless love…these are holier moments on some days than the literal litany of rote prayers I may offer. Sometimes, much holier.

I’ve learned that I can’t really make things happen with prayer, and that’s a late and surprising realization for me. It makes intercessory prayer challenging these days, as I question the value of it, trusting that God will take my effort and make a result that’s good eventually, even if it’s not at all what I asked for. I can spend all that time pushing on all those levers with my prayers, and in the end, all I have is what I had at the outset: a good God whom I can trust with my life and who never leaves me or mine alone. Ever.

I stopped to light candles at a grotto for my dear ones and felt the weight of how this regular discipline had become somewhat less prayerful and more obsessive. Still, as I made my way up the steps, I found an abundance of acorns crunching under my feet, and I received the message they were delivering. Provision. Acorns are literal food falling from the skies for whatever squirrel might want to come along and take some. And I laughed at myself because God gives me stuff like this all the time, whether I notice or not.

Like the time there was a single sticker on the floor of a school in which I was working. A dragonfly and a purple flower, two symbols that evoke a feeling of my late mother and my late friend, Julie. Or the garden of mushrooms growing in a neighbor’s yard that reminded me of the magical nature of life. Or the two purple blooms on a wildflower in the path of my run one afternoon. Or the four tiny shoots that are growing from a paper anchor filled with wildflower seeds on my porch. It’s provision for me in the form of much needed hope. After all, I can get my groceries from a store, and I do. I have no need to gather acorns, but I desperately need to gather up hope for those cold days when there’s none to be found. God gives me these bits, abundantly, and I hold onto them, and I’m glad of it.

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I do pray a lot, but it’s the unbidden breaks of God into my everyday, ordinary life that so often make the difference for me. I feel Him helping, steering, and guiding, making all things new. Slowly, like a growing seed, and abundantly, like a sea of acorns underfoot, God provides.

2 thoughts on “Provision

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  1. Love this, I pray a lot as well, intecessory, and sometimes wonder why, as, God is God, right, He is going to do what He is going to do, right?!

  2. Thank you! I get it, your regular prayers are throwing a line to God and His reply’s are the dragonfly’s, purple flowers, mushrooms, acorns, unconditional love from your dog and many other ways He knows how to talk to you without using “words”. He does really love you, and He tells you that He feels your unconditional love for Him. Bob

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