Teach us to pray

By Mary Muirhead

And so we pray …
for success
for wisdom
for health
for peace

for ourselves
for others
for those whom we love
sometimes even for those whom we do not love
maybe – sometimes
sometimes for those whom we consider enemies

“Who is my enemy?”
as no one asked Jesus
how would He have answered
I wonder?

during a war we seem to know
and are we not always ‘at war’
with somebody
for reasons both clear and unclear

in the Psalms we read
mixed right up there with the psalmist’s praise
deep repentance
and humility
in the presence of the Almighty
the life-giving God

in the Psalms we read
equally heartfelt cries for the humiliation
the defeat
the total destruction
of the writer’s enemies

I do not easily understand

I do understand – on some level
the words of Jesus
when he laid out His manifesto
turning the world
His world
our worlds if we accept Him
completely upside down

from the mountaintop
His voice,
“You have heard it said ‘You shall love your neighbour
and hate your enemy,’
but I say, ‘Love your enemies
and pray for those
who persecute you’”

I pause for prayer

and so I pray
for others
for myself
and indeed for all the other wanderers
all those who with me forget
or have missed the point
of the message
from the mountain

God bless us every one.

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