A while ago I bought a small box of prayer cards. I am always looking for different ways to connect with God and widen the stimuli. I love reading the Bible and being inspired to pray but sometimes I fall into a rut. I use the same phrases over and over or follow the same structure and pattern. If I was God I would quite possibly be bored at the lack of variety in my praying.
Each card has a prayer and a picture. They are Celtic in nature, both the words and the images. They remind me of a bigger world than just my own life experience and use words and phrases that would never normally occur to me. They don’t replace my own prayers but prompt me to be a little more creative and imaginative in what I say and how I say it.
“May my conversations be significant.” This is the first line of the prayer card I picked up this morning.
I have been looking at the life of St Columba recently and some of the rules that governed the monks on Iona. One of them was about not speaking unless there was something important to say! I have a leaning towards irrelevant conversations. I was once accused of liking the sound of my own voice!
This morning was not the best of mornings. There were no big disasters to deal with – although we do have a leak in the ceiling of the spare bedroom! It was the little things, really little things that were tripping me up.
Let’s take the packet of cheese, for instance. The biggest word on the packaging was “re-sealable”. There was an ingenious press and seal thing along the top edge. You did have to cut along the top for the first time of opening, but once done, you could open and close the seal and keep the cheese fresh. Whoever opened the cheese didn’t cut along the top and open the seal. The packet was skewered in the middle and the cheese liberated. Re-sealing wasn’t an option after that. A really little thing.
And then there was the pedometer. It was given to me last Friday. I’ve had it for a week. It’s supposed to encourage me to walk more by giving me a target of 10,000 steps a day. I used to have a yellow one, courtesy of a packet of Special K. It was flat and clipped to the waistband of my trousers or a skirt and did the job. This one was supplied by an organisation encouraging healthy living in the work environment. It’s just the wrong shape and will not stay clipped on. I had to chase it down a flight of stairs when it fell off this afternoon. So, yes, another really little thing.
The list goes on.
I wasn’t heading into work in a peaceful frame of mind. I didn’t quite snap at my husband in the car, but the silence wasn’t a companionable one. I wasn’t muttering under my breath, but inside my head there was a commentary about the day so far.
Suddenly the still small voice spoke.
“What was the first line of that prayer you read this morning? Something about conversations?”
I couldn’t remember word for word. I thought the end word was something like “godly”. Yes, something about conversations being godly.
The still small voice didn’t correct me.
“Maybe the conversations you need to consider are not the ones you have with other people but the ones that you have with yourself. Maybe those conversations need to be godly.”
What we say to ourselves very often lays the foundations for what we say to other people and how we say it.
I took it to heart and spoke kindly to myself for the rest of the day.