It’s been snowing for two days here in Alleghany County. Today is sunny and the snow is melting. The picture above is from yesterday evening when we got caught in a passing cloud for awhile. It was eerie and beautiful.
Several weeks before Thanksgiving I was at the local Family Dollar store. Since I had no list, I was walking the aisles trying to remember what I needed. On a shelf I saw some little blue boxes with the label “Prayer Box” on them. Curious, I opened one and found a little pad of paper and a pencil. This is a picture of what is written on the inside of the lid:
Always looking for any help I can get in remembering the things and people I want to pray for, I bought one. The little box fit neatly on the table beside my bed and I wrote the “names and things” of my prayers on the slips of paper. The box got crowded with paper slips and they landed behind the table and under the bed…well, you get the picture. So I got sticky notes to use instead of slips of loose paper. I stuck them on the side of the bedside table and now when I get into bed they are right there at eye level.
Thinking that this would be a great thing to give friends I went back to the Family Dollar store but could not find any more of the little blue Prayer Boxes. And of course, you know what is next: I decided to make my own to give others! I found out that Amazon has these little boxes, and also has little mechanical pencils that fit into the boxes. I ordered them. And here is my version of the Prayer Box:
There was nothing on the original box that said where it was made or any copyright information so I used the little poem on the inside of the box in mine. I made several of them and of course some of you who are reading this will get one. You don’t really need a “Prayer Box” to write prayers down on little sticky notes to put beside your bed. The easier thing to do is get a pen or pencil and some sticky notes.
Sticky notes on my bedside table
There are so many things that fill up our hearts and stir us to pray. While I was in Georgia for Thanksgiving, I saw a car wreck. When I finally got a chance to turn past the accident all I saw was a badly damaged car with all the air bags deployed. I felt my chest go heavy with fear for the people who had been in the car. I eventually pulled off the road to just gather myself and pray. The image of that car has persisted in coming into my mind triggering my prayers. One of my little sticky notes simply has the word “travel” on it to remind me that all who travel need prayer. We live such distracted lives and the holidays accentuate that distraction. We all need “travel mercies”!
The older I get the more “slippery” my mind becomes. I remember my wonderful friend, Margaret Peterson showing me her “prayer list” which she faithfully prayed every night. It was a full page of names and things to pray for. Margaret was head of the Prayer Chain at Holy Trinity in Fayetteville for so many years and a great example of faithful prayer to me. Not everyone of us can pray in that way.
Prayer continues to be such a mix of mystery and memory to me. I want to remember people by name in prayer. Not because I think God needs me to remind God of that person, but because I want to allow that person or that event or that need to fill up my heart. I need to reach across time and space through God’s Spirit and feel that person’s pain or need; I want to remember my friends by name and feel their love fill my heart. I want my heart to ache for peace. Prayer is seldom, I think for others – it is for us. Prayer is that time spent in God’s presence so that our hearts are enlarged and changed. Those little pink sticky notes take me into that place where God is present.
May your hearts be filled with prayer this holy Advent season.