Praying from where it Hurts


(Gethsemane, Calvary, Tomb, Manger, down but not out!)

Praying from our gethsemanes is not uncommon.
Praying from our woundedness is not uncommon.
Only lately did the awareness dawn
That not only is one to pray when down
Nor meditate only at dawn
But to pray from where one is brought down.

For praying when it hurts and praying from where it hurts are not the same.
And praying when in pain and letting the pain pray are not the same.

Praying from where it hurts as in the psalms is praying
In the middle of the night – the night of nightmares –
In the night of pain and the night of age and rage that overwhelms.
Praying from where and when it hurts is sacrifice par excellence – offering up –
Praying from where it hurts is persevering to and in love to the end like the Lord.

Praying from where it hurts is the call of misery for mercy –
Not hiding like Adam behind the tree
But groaning like Jesus under a similar tree –
Choosing not to tranquilize nor despair or melancholy.

Praying from where it hurts is to pray with,
And from the headache, the body ache, the organ ache with,
And for oneself or others or nation or church –
And from the fire like Daniel or Job or Jeremiah or Jonah –
Praying from where I, he, she, we, they can’t see or breath or feel or eat or act or endure.

Praying from where it hurts is praying from where
It’s normally or meant to be joyful and cheerful and blissful;
It’s praying from agonies and thorns and nails –
It’s praying from where we pray.
It’s like praying while you work in the office or farm or home or online.
It’s like mystics in the city or active contemplation.

There are times for praying from mountain tops of ecstasy and gratitude and awe;
That is Praying with praise, honour and worship in Tabor or Sinai or Horeb or Carmel –
And Praying from where it hurts self or others is real prayer – in this valley of tears.

Praying from where it hurts is embracing gethsemane, calvary;
From the upper room to the tomb; from the Manger to the workshops;
From the riversides to the cross’ side or the prison sides or the sick bedside.

Praying from where it hurts is supplication and intercession and petition for a broken world.
Praying from where it hurts is the cry for salvation and redemption and transformation and glorification.
Praying from where it hurts is an unprecedented awareness.
Praying from where it hurts is so common and so real.

Don’t look far! Look inside you!  Look around you!
Check out who prays more and why and how!

Praying from where it hurts is praying the litany of humility –
When humiliated or calumniated or victimised or destined for the cross and for glory!
It’s praying with joy and hope and love even in grief – for grace and goodness and glory!

Praying from where it hurts like –
From under the tree and the cross and the burden like –
Mary and Mary and John and you and them,
And they in hospitals, in wars or storms or despair or birth pangs.
Praying from where it hurts is so common and so real.
We are all seafarers, and we are all seasick – GK Chesterton.

We are all in the same boat and we are all sinking – Pope Francis.
And there is more to this life and life after death,
Than meets the eye and the mind and heart and the ink,

And that is why prayer enlarges, transforms and sanctifies the same.

Emmanuel Mbeh, April 2023.

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