Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Luke 17

"As they were going they were cleansed. And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice; and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan. Jesus said in reply, “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine? Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?” Then he said to him, “Stand up and go; your faith has saved you.”

I have recently been reading a book on prayer.  It isn't a normal book on prayer.  It isn't a theological discourse or even a scriptural based exercise in prayer, but rather it is one woman's experience, practical and readily available to everyone.

She breaks prayer down into 4 different words: help, thanks, wow, amen.

She uses these for words to enter into this humorous and thought provoking look into prayer and how our life is prayer.

Help, thanks, wow, amen.

As I reAd this morning's gospel passage and journeyed with the ten lepers who seek Jesus' attention and continued as I went back to Jesus with the foreigner who on his knees expresses a new dimension of gratitude I couldn't help but think of these four little words: help, thanks, wow, and amen.

Here is a few of her insights:
"But where do we start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are. We find God in our human lives, that includes the suffering...if I were going to begin practicing the presence of God for the first time today, it would help to begin by admitting the three most terrible truths of our existence: that we are so ruined, and so loved, and in charge of so little. ..

"Praying help means that we ask that something give us courage to stop in our tracks, right where we are, and turn our fixation away from the knot of our problems ...and we turn our eyes to something else..."

"Grace can be the experience of a second wind, when even though you want clarity and resolution, what you get is stamina and poignancy and the strength to hang on."

"Without revelation and reframing, life can seem like an endless desert of danger with scratchy sand in your shoes, and yet if we remember or are reminded to pay attention, we find so many sources of hidden water, so many bits and chips and washes of color, in a weed or the gravel or a sunrise...""

"Gratitude begins in our hearts and then dovetails into behavior. It almost always makes you willing to be of service, which is where the joy resides.  It means you are willing to stop being such a jerk."

"When Sam was six, he explained to me why we call God "God".  "Because when you see something so great, you just go, 'God!'"


"The amen is only as good as the attitude"

The foreigner who returns experienced all of these in rapid succession: help, thanks, wow, amen.

But don't we as well in our daily walk.  We just need to keep our eyes open, hearts humbled, heads raised to heavens and our arms busy in service to others: help, thanks, wow, amen becomes like the air we breathe and the life we lead.

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