Thursday, April 2, 2009

Coming Clean

By Deanna Matzen

As Lent wraps up, I feel the deep need to come clean. I have not stuck to my Lenten practice of prayer as closely as I had hoped. I have failed to pray every day. Usually my environmental prayer life lasts a day or two after I blog and then I get swept up in my life and all the other needs of prayer immediately around me. I have friends going through very hard times right now - divorce, cancer on top of unemployment, no health insurance, and expecting a baby. Personally, we have been finishing up a bathroom remodel and then I had wrist surgery. It seems that all my energy is focused on just surviving right now. Over the last two days, I've become emotionally unraveled and unable to give anyone grace. It is in moments like these that I realize how much I need prayer more than anything else.

My first mistake in beginning this Lenten journey of environmental prayer was not setting a specific time to pray every day. My second mistake was perhaps setting a prayer schedule when I should have just sat in the creator's presence and let the Spirit guide me. The other realization I just made writing this blog post is that I perhaps do not pray for the environment because I'm completely disconnected from it.

One of my best moments of prayer came when I was standing in the rain waiting for the bus because I couldn't drive yet after my wrist surgery. It was the week of giving thanks for creation. I was thanking God for the rain because even though it was unenjoyable standing by the busy road in the rain, I knew that we needed the snow pack for the summer. I was also anxiously praying that the bus would arrive soon and at the moment the bus emerged over the hill I prayed emphatically, "Thank you, Jesus!" And then I stopped myself. I thank Jesus for a lot of things. Maybe too many things that it becomes trite. Did Jesus really bring the bus at that moment. Probably not because if he had, it would have come a lot sooner, in my opinion! But that didn't mean that I didn't owe Jesus a debt of gratitude. I was immediately grateful in a new and profound way.

The gratitude poured out earnestly, "Thank you, Jesus, for the creativity that brought us the gift of public transportation. It affords us an opportunity to help the environment by not driving and it gives people who can't afford a car an opportunity to get around the city more quickly. Thank you, Jesus!" It was a profound moment and I am so glad for it. Yet, it continues to be a struggle to make time for environmental prayer.

This week, I'm scheduled to pray for God's people to engage in action, advocacy, and acknowledgment of the planet's needs. Perhaps I should pray for people to spend more time outside so that the needs become relevant to their immediate world. However the Spirit moves you this week, please join me in praying.

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