The Universal Prayer for purpose: The prayer of St. Clement

 

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Have you ever listened to the words of a prayer that infuse your heart a new purpose?

The first Christian radio station that listened to was a Catholic radio station in Tampa. This little radio station was like a voice of an angel whispering God’s truth to me all day long. I loved the contemporary praise music they played but especially the prayer I would hear at noon every day.

At the same time every day, the radio stations played this recorded prayer that touched my heart. No matter what I was doing, I looked forward to hearing it, memorizing it as the words sank deep into my soul.

Sometimes on the journey toward purpose, our hearts need to hear prayers that we can not speak for ourselves.

It was soothing to me and beautiful. I hope you enjoy this prayer to day that is attributed to Pope Clement.

And to my Catholic friends, may the peace of Christ be with you always.

 The Universal Prayer

Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith. I trust in you: strengthen my trust. Click To Tweet
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.

I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.

Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.

I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.

I want to do what you ask of me: In the way you ask, For as long as you ask, Click To Tweet
Because you ask it.

Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.

Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.

Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.

Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.

Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.

Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.

Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.

Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.

Help me to prepare for death With a proper fear of judgment, But a greater trust in your goodness Click To Tweet.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.

Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Rory Story #1: What is the color of love?

What color represents love to you? slider-mission

Blue

red

yellow

 Love was blue and grey shades of sadness the night my husband discovered a boy from our church was leaving town for good.

Fear made my husband’s voice quiver.

“I think Rory is leaving for New York. His family is homeless in three days.”

Rory is a 19 year old African-American young man from our Sunday School Class at church. He was introduced to Christianity through Compassion House, a food bank and resource center that is next to our church. He went to Compassion House to get food for his family and eventually work to earn more food by helping around the place.

Rory’s family lived in the ghetto of lakeland and has struggled with poverty and homelessness for years. He has lived in abandoned houses, foster care, group homes and cars. He and his biological mother were on their own after his father died when he was 8 years old. Rory came to our church at 18 years old.

Love became deep shades of red, as this boy captured my husband’s heart in Sunday School each week.

There is something so special about Rory and his personality. He had a genuine love for learning and was an active participant in discussions. Rory was not like most of the kids in Sunday School. As he left church, he walked back to a hard life and not a privileged meal at a restaurant.  He walked back to a life on streets without security that most of take for granted.

Love was shadows of grey for Rory living in the ghetto.

The ghetto: full of  hopelessness and empty promises from those he trusted.The ghetto: devoid of true joy. It is survival. It is getting by. It is never living for more than Friday. Rory told me that when you live in the ghetto, you start to get used to believing you will never get out. There is nothing more. Good people have nothing and bad people are rewarded with  money in bad ways. They seem to prosper.

Three weeks ago, love became yellow in my husband’s heart, shining hope for Rory in a moment of decision.

Mark shined an opportunity that came with a question:

“Rory, will you stay in lakeland, Florida? I can help you here but I can’t help you in New York.”

Mark quickly left church with Rory and asked him mother to trust him to try to help Rory. His mother agreed to let us take care of him, to try to help build a better life for Rory in the future. Through her tears and some hesitation, Rory made the decision to stay in Lakeland. He came to live with us on the other side of town.

Love was orange as fear and in trepidation filled my heart-

MARK- ARE YOU CRAZY!!!!! We just sent a boy off to school and now we are taking on another one that I don’t even know! I felt a wave of panic mixed fear and impending disaster-

Love was white in my heart that day- White is safe- White is plane – White is status quo- white throws money at problems but not it’s heart!

That’s what safe white girls do!

A solution was born that Rory would live across the street at my brother-in-laws house. A safe entry to a stranger coming to live with us, unexpectedly but not completely unwanted. It was my fear that was preventing me from extending full love to this boy who needed my help, our help, our family.

He arrived with dirty clothes that we began to wash and a gorgeous smile that was irresistible. His hug left me speachless that first day.

Somewhere deep inside, I heard a voice say, Will you make him a meal? Will you just make him food?

Love became the color of grilled chicken and salad. It became the color of green beans on a plate from a can.

Love smelled like good food. I’ve smelled that kind of love before in Malnutrition Centers in Guatemala with Orphans Heart.

As I took that plate of food to Rory, I was filled with joy, more than any joy you find in a store or experience on a vacation. I heard that familiar heartbeat in my ears, the one that beats for the needy, the poor, the hungry. Yes, I know that heart beat. I usually have to get on a plane and fly around the world to help hungry kids. Now I just have to open my door.

Love became purple, a royal calling was being born and I began to see this boy with a kingdom purpose for God in this world.

This was not ordinary street kid, this was a man in the making. This boy had potential for so much more and with just a little, his life could become a lot.

My Christian speaking and writing ministry seems ridiculous in light of the tangible opportunity I had to change the color of love in my heart.

Yesterday, my brother-in-laws house sold. Rory moved into my home, into my son’s bedroom, and into my heart.

Love was green yesterday, as I shopped for groceries in the store with him.

I let Rory drive the family mini-van to the grocery store, practicing his driving. ” Miss Tracey, I am whipping’ the hoop-tie . ( that means driving the car )  He is a becoming a great driver as Mark helped him get his learners permit. He practices driving our cars in a back field behind our house. We walked in the grocery and he grabbed the cart to push for me. He remembered doing that for his own mom.

An unexpected simple experience suddenly transformed into a bond experience.  We picked out food and vegetables and yes, I even let him get sugared cereal, Frosted Flakes! We laughed in the grocery story as he pushed my cart. I felt just like I do with my own boys. My little helper just happens to be 250 pounds and 19 years old.  We laughed as we saw Black families looking at me strange and white people looking at him. As we were checking out of the lane, I noticed I was late to pick up my daughter.

Rory smiled and laughed- ” Uh Oh, I am late to pick up my little sister! ”

We headed to the car, picked up Faith, and headed home

Love is black, rich deep ebony, warming my soul and fueling my faith.

As I fluffed pillows on his bed and took laundry to be washed, my heart filled with pride as if this boy could be my own son. Rory is in my home and love is black, rich deep ebony in my heart. My faith sees this young man as a great leader and a prosperous individual.

I may never be the color of his skin but he is the color of my heart.

Today, I am thankful I didn’t stay the color of fear or the color of my safety-

I am glad God changed the color of love in my heart-

Will you change the color of you heart?

Think about my initial question:

What color is love and will you let God change that color to love someone else- ?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Risk Becoming Overwhelmed

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Summer is a hard time for me as I remember the loss of my nine year old nephew, Philip. He died from a very rare case of PAM- primary ambeobic meningitis contracted from lake water. The hot humidity in the air feels like a slap in my face every time I walk outside and feel the sting of reminders. Memories can overwhelm me.

Recently, my sister in law (Phil’s Mom)  posted a quote she found written in his last science report for school.

He penned these words,

“To me, science is so complicated that when I try to figure it out, I feel like I could get amnesia. But I am still so interested in why things happen that I enjoy the risk of becoming overwhelmed by it.”

This summer God has given me Phil’s own words to comfort my own heart and gain wisdom for the future! 

 

I must begin to risk becoming overwhelmed 

 

Risk becoming overwhelmed when I am  sad and don’t have all the answers ….

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.

Jeremiah 33:3

Risk becoming overwhelmed when I am afraid and fear I don’t have words to comfort my family…

“As for me, this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit, who is on you, will not depart from you, and my words that I have put in your mouth will always be on your lips, on the lips of your children and on the lips of their descendants–from this time on and forever,” says the LORD.

Isaiah 59:21

Risk becoming overwhelmed when I am mad my resources seem limited….

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

2 Corinthians 12:19 

Dear God-  

Even as I write these words, my fingers and heart tremble because at times, I am so scared.

Help me run the risk of daring greatly in this life, when I don’t have all the answers, when I seem to be overwhelmed with uncertainty.

Help me trust your overwhelming power, peace and joy that will enable me to live for your great kingdom purposes.

Release my hold on my small plans to play it safe in this life-

Oh God, help me risk becoming overwhelmed…

 

Thank you Phil- I will always love and remember you ! You will always be my precious nephew!


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