on praying

Re-reading Elizabeth Elliot’s biography of Amy Carmichael, A Chance to Die, which I last read before I went to college. Nine years ago, it deeply challenged me, and now it is doing so again–in more ways, because there is more of me.

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In any case, Elliot shares this poem, which Carmichael wrote, and I share it here, because it is good, and because it challenges me in the way that I pray:

And shall I pray Thee change Thy will, my Father,
Until it be according unto mine?
But, no, Lord, no, that never shall be, rather
I pray Thee blend my human will with Thine.

I pray Thee hush the hurrying, eager longing,
I pray Thee soothe the pangs of keen desire–
See, in my quiet places, wishes thronging–
Forbid them, Lord, purge, though it be with fire.

And work in me to will and do Thy pleasure.
Let all within me, peaceful, reconciled,
Tarry content my Well-Beloved’s leisure,
At last, at last, even as a weaned child.

I want to pray this way, and yet am afraid. Afraid that if I ask, He’ll do it, when wishing my wishes is so sweet. So I pray it tentatively to God: Lord, I ask; help my un-asking.

©2014 by Stacy Nott

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