Prayer Reflections

Aaah! A New Year is upon us! Some of us were creatively inspired, scribbling down our heart-felt resolutions for physical, emotional, financial or spiritual improvement. Others among us are already changing our minds and x-ing out those fervent plans for 2012 because they are just not working. The stick-to-it-iveness of self-discipline can be as slippery as black ice.

Flying Pig"If" can be a calculation that indicates the outcome of a situation or determines the choices that we make. "If pigs could fly..." is a way of saying that something will never happen! "What if...?," "If only...", and the rest of the "iffy" family translate into words like supposing, even though, whether, when or whenever. Periodically, I like to prayerfully mull over the British Nobel Laureate, Rudyard Kipling's poem,"IF," written in 1909. It reminds me of our common call as followers of Christ even as it depicts the complexities of human existence.

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;

If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools...

(This poem belongs to the public domain and can be found on the Kipling Society website where you can read in its entirety, IF you are so inclined. Blessings in 2012!)

Reflection:

  • What words or phrases bring you comfort or challenge you the most? Why is that?
  • Where do you recognize the Biblical "turn the other cheek" (Matt. 5:39) or "unless the Lord build the house" (Ps. 127:1)? Are there any other scriptural similarities/stories that you note?
  • With the poem as a backdrop and as an associate of your congregation, where is God leading you in prayer at this time?
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