Lent with the Lord's Prayer
Thy will be done. Matthew 6:10When I began seminary, my main worry about being a pastor was pastoral care. As an introvert picking up the phone to ask someone if I could come visit was a real effort. So I was scared and also wanting my CPE (Clinical Pastoral Care) unit, hoping that by serving as a student chaplain in the hospital I would be able to work on my introverted nature and learn to improve the first step. When I began, I was confronted with an entire wing of the hospital. The Cancer wing, where many of the patients had received devastating news, some of who died in the weeks, months and year following my rotation. My assignment was to go into each room and offer pastoral care. Well, that first week did not go well. I felt like I was a pest. I would walk into the room and tell them who I was and then grill them with question after question so that there was no silence and then I didn’t even close by offering prayer. I had to learn to get over myself.
My first step was to be comfortable with the silence. I would start with a question about family or pets and that would usually open them up to talk. But I was still uncomfortable with silence and with prayer. But then I read this book on Healing Prayer in which the author argued that the most effective prayer you could say was: Thy will be done. So instead of fearing that my prayers were inadequate and being unsure that God could or would change outcomes, I began to pray about what we had talked about and ask that God’s will be done. My encounters with patients were getting better but I still needed to work on myself. What I learned was to stop. As I was standing at the door, I would stop and ask God to guide me that God’s will may be done. To this day, I still try to stop at the door or while in the car on the way over and ask that God’s will be done.
As you go through the day, stop before every door or before you pick up the phone and say, “Thy will be done.”
1 Hear my prayer, O Lord; give ear to my supplications in your faithfulness;
answer me in your righteousness.
2 Do not enter into judgment with your servant,
for no one living is righteous before you.
3 For the enemy has pursued me, crushing my life to the ground,
making me sit in darkness like those long dead.
4 Therefore my spirit faints within me;
my heart within me is appalled.
5 I remember the days of old,
I think about all your deeds,
I meditate on the works of your hands.
6 I stretch out my hands to you;
my soul thirsts for you like a parched land. (Selah)
7 Answer me quickly, O Lord; my spirit fails.
Do not hide your face from me,
or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit.
8 Let me hear of your steadfast love in the morning,
for in you I put my trust.
Teach me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
9 Save me, O Lord, from my enemies;
I have fled to you for refuge.
10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God.
Let your good spirit lead me on a level path.
11 For your name's sake,
O Lord, preserve my life.
In your righteousness bring me out of trouble.
12 In your steadfast love cut off my enemies,
and destroy all my adversaries,
for I am your servant. Psalm 143