Friday, August 7, 2020

"First Day of Kindergarten-Answered Prayer" by Regina Madonna Oliver from A Promise of Presence

Unsplash: Note Thanun

When they call to me, I will answer them; I will be with them in trouble,
I will rescue them and honor them. Psalm 91:15 (NRSV)

It was the first day of kindergarten. Every kindergarten teacher begs God for one blessing on that first day of the school year: that the children may adjust to their new environment without crying! If one five-year-old youngster with a quivering lip begins to let the teardrops fall, a whole classroom of wailing babes wanting their mommies will soon erupt.

My classroom was full of spruced-up children with their new backpacks and Mickey Mouse lunch boxes. They were each seated in their special places at the four long tables around the room; each child had a printed name card indicating her or his table space and pint-sized chair.

Then in came Angelica, holding tightly to her mommy's hand. Angelica was four-and-a-half-going-on-five. She was an adorable Asian child with China-doll features-at least she was until Mommy left the classroom. Then began a wailing and sobbing worthy of a dozen banshees. I could hardly break through the noise with my useless efforts at consolation.

Reaching Angelica, I picked her up, sat her in my lap, and began to rock and soothe her, glancing furtively around the room. Paul, at the next table, had been very brave-until now. But as Angelica's yowling increased, his little lip began to quiver. Then Ruthie, across from Paul, started rubbing her eyes. "Oh, no!" I screamed out mentally to God, continuing to rock and croon to Angelica. "Oh, God, h-e-e-e-lp!"

My mind then "heard" two words: Play Dough! Now, playing with clay was not part of my lesson plan for the day. I had a supply of it in the closet, but using it could not have been further from my mind. Still, the words persisted: Play Dough!

"Is this God?" I wondered to myself ... but aloud I heard myself say, "Angelica, would you like to make something out of Play Dough?"

As if l had touched a magic button, little Angelica's outraged screaming abruptly stopped.

"Well, let's get some," I suggested. Eagerly, Angelica slipped off my lap and hurried with me to the closet, all smiles now. Like a child with a new toy, Angelica took the cherished clay to her place at the table and began to teach all the other first-dayers how to mold colorful flowers.

Never have I experienced prayer answered with such speed! The Holy Spirit taught me about immediate communication that day-and had the laugh on me by totally reversing my logically developed lesson plan. A teacher learned more than her children that day!


Think of a time when you were desperate about something and God answered you-maybe not with words but with some intervention in your life. That rock-bottom place of desperation is a good place, because that's when we cry out with our greatest passion. That's when God, like a loving mother, responds immediately to the desperate cry. 

Make this your prayer today: God, mother me today. Hear my cries about (mention your deepest concern). I know I have no control over this situation, so I turn to you. I need you. Answer me!


Make this your prayer today:

Holy One, you promise to hear and answer us in times of distress. I hear this promise of yours, but I have not trusted it to be so- at least not for me. I can go along with expecting miracles some other time, some other place, for someone else- but not now, not here, and not for me. Yet that is not what you say. Your promise is not a limited one. I am included in your promise. With a leap of faith in you, my God, I bring to you this need today: (mention your deepest concern).


Make this your prayer today:

 God of Abundance, the more I think about this, the more I am aware of the many "thank yous" I should have given you for rescuing me in times of need. So often, I didn't recognize you in the words or the actions of the persons you sent me. I am too ready to presume that things happen by coincidence. I have often said, "Lucky for me this happened." I now see your loving hand in what I used to consider coincidences. Thank you, dear God for (mention all Gods interventions in your life).


Make this your prayer today:

Now that I think about it, Holy One, you have needs. You need me to be in tune with your loving heart as you see the tremendous needs in our world. Some of those needs are too much for me with my limited abilities and resources. But they are not too much for me to pray about, as I unite my heart's longings with yours. Today, Holy One, I want to intercede for our world: (consider the events and situations that grieve God's heart, and join your heart with God's as you pray for solutions).


Think about the status of your family and extended family. Who among your kindred is in need of the solution to a crisis? Pray  for that person today. Offer courage to that person with a phone call or a note saying how you are praying for and with her or him.


Think about a person or family in your neighborhood or community who needs to feel the support of a caring friend. In addition to your prayers, how can you offer help? Sometimes, for example, the caregivers are the most in need of care. Is that true of your pastor or perhaps a friend who is stressed because of the constant calls on her or his generosity? Talk to God about this in your prayer today. Be open to how you can be an instrument of loving support for someone in need.


As you are aware of the Holy One's wonderful presence today, use the following mantra or compose one of your own. Let the mantra make you aware of your own needs and the needs of the world around you. Pray or sing it over and over, like the drone of the bagpipe under your prayers of intercession.

Every hour I need you.

Holy One

You are within me.

This meditation is from A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver)

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