“Thank You” as Sufficient Prayer

The renowned 13th century theologian and mystic Meister Eckhart is credited with the statement: “If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, ‘thank you,’ that would suffice.”

On Thanksgiving and the other 364 days in the year, remember to give thanks. It’s the only prayer you need pray.

Happy Thanksgiving!

           

Gratitude and Faith

Among the possible hallmarks for a life, the guiding principles that will at the same time distinguish you and shape your future, there may not be any that can surpass gratitude and faith.

We’re coming into the season in the USA in which people give more thought than usual to being thankful, and it’s an excellent thing that we devote one day a year to giving thanks. But gratitude is more of a 365-days-a-year kind of thing, more of an ongoing attitude of recognizing that all that comes to us has the potential to be a gift that warrants our thanks. And the more we purposely express gratitude, the more we will find to give thanks for. The very attitude by itself is enough to scour negativity out of our minds and out of our hearts.

Faith acts on us in a similar fashion. As long as we have faith – in the work we are doing, in the God we worship, in the integrity of our relationships, in the lives we are building – we can maintain the trust, conviction, and hope to carry forward until we accomplish what we have set out to do. Faith, in this sense, is the opposite of the cynicism that leads to despair.

Every day or so, I receive a “daily insight” in my email box from the folks at AsAManThinketh.net. Here is one from a day or two ago, suggesting that Maya Angelou has a similar outlook on gratitude and faith:

Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer. And let faith be the bridge you build to overcome evil and welcome good.                                                                                                                   ~Maya Angelou

           

Moses – When Courage Fails the Strong

I noticed something in Acts the other day that fascinated me. It was a description: “Moses was educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians and was powerful in speech and action” (Acts 7:22).

I had to stop and look at that again, because what I remembered about Moses was that when God told him he was to go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt, Moses repeatedly objected, stating, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

Now, admittedly a lot happened to Moses between the time when he was educated in Egypt as a young man and decades later at the scene of the burning bush, but it’s likely that a lot happens to all of us between the time we are young and being educated, and the time we may be called to put that education to use.

What I find here is a message to the “educated,” to people who have gifts they have never used because they are fearful that when it comes right down to it, they will fail.

The Exodus story in chapters 3 and 4 recounts a little divine impatience with Moses, who has been chosen for a particular role, but it is God who delivers the solution: “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say” (Exodus 4:12). Even then Moses continues to protest and to ask that God send someone else, so God creates a further solution: Moses’s older brother, Aaron. You can hear the exasperation in God’s comment: “I know he can speak well.” So that is how the story goes. The two brothers go before Pharaoh; God tells Moses what to say; and Aaron delivers the message.

We’ve all heard stories about how God helps the poor, the weak, the downtrodden, but this is a story about God helping the strong and the educated who are suffering a failure of courage. This is a promise to store in your heart for those times when your confidence and courage fail: Go to your spiritual center and hear the divine message, “I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”

           

Who Might You Be?

 We all had dreams, when we were kids, of who we might be one day. Some experts even say that the best avenue for determining your purpose in life is to look at what you were good at as a kid and what you dreamed of, back then.

But it seems that a better avenue would be to look at the dreams that have persisted for you. Yes, think about what you wanted to be when you were nine. But how about when you were twenty-nine, and then in your forties, etc.? I suspect that for many of us, it’s the same dream throughout our lives, with only variations on the theme. That’s how you identify who you might be.

English novelist Mary Anne Evans (better known as George Eliot) was one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She gave us excellent advice: “It’s never too late to be who you might have been.”

All that remains, then, is to get started.