Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, June 26, 2018
Prayer. More About Breath
When I read a section from this little book of Father Nouwen’s today, I immediately thought of people who are very much hurt. Hurt on the inside. They hurt so much that they can hardly open up to anyone. Not even to God.
Yes, I know Father Nouwen wrote so eloquently about prayer, and about it being the life-breath of God. That is true in so many situations, yes. But, not in all.
Last week was World Refugee Day. I read what several prominent church leaders had to say about the incredibly sad situation that so many people are in, worldwide. Migrants, refugees, fleeing for their lives, in most cases. Fleeing because of war or conflict, violence, famine, flood, or any of a dozen other reasons.
And, I prayed. I prayed for these dear ones, all over the world. I prayed for the desperate or horrible situations from which they flee. I lamented. I wanted to raise my fists to God, crying out, “How could this happen?” But, I didn’t.
However—I am sadly aware that some of these refugees are incredibly hurt and angry. Some of these refugees and migrants cry out to God, asking about justice, about free passage to a stable life, about a decent place to sleep and food to eat. Things I know nothing about, since I have had stability and a roof over my head for all of my life. (Not necessarily the most emotionally-functional living situation, but still, pretty stable.)
I am afraid many refugees are too emotionally and psychologically hurt to pray. It pains me to think that, yet I realize it probably is a reality.
At the same time, I was so touched by Father Nouwen’s quote from Simon and Garfunkel’s song “Song for the Asking.”  He speaks of allowing others to appear to him as they choose. “Then people can talk to one another and share their lives in a way where heart speaks to heart.” 
Alas, I do not think many refugees are quite ready to enter into dialogue, sharing their lives in such a way. I suspect their lives right now are much too desperate. I hope and pray that refugees worldwide can arrive at a place where prayer and thanksgiving become possible for them. I pray that such dialogue becomes a possibility for them, too. Dear Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our heartfelt prayers.
Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.
 “Song for the Asking,” Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970, Columbia)
 With Open Hands: Bring Prayer into Your Life, Henri J. M. Nouwen (United States of America: Ave Maria Press, 1972), 32.