Recycling Prayers

Wednesday, May 14

5-14By JoAnn Condit of Phoenix, Arizona, USA

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone…so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity.

—1 Timothy 2:1–2 NRSV

As the years fly by, I feel as though funerals and memorial services come more rapidly. I am always struck by the beauty and artistry of the bulletins and prayer cards printed for the services, with photographs, flowers, and beautifully decorated poems and prayers.

When a service is over, we pay our respects and often shed tears for the loss we feel. We arrive home with the service bulletin and prayer cards in our pockets or purses. What do we do with them? It is not possible to keep all these mementos, and there is no practical need. We have the memories of that person etched on our hearts. Still…are we simply to toss them in the recycling bin?

I have found a solution for the slender prayer or inspirational cards, often decorated with flowers and butterflies. I put them in the top drawer of my bedside table, where they join dozens of other bookmarks. Each time I pick up a new book, it receives a fresh bookmark. When I finish the book, the bookmark takes its place at the bottom of the stack.

I read many books over the course of a year. I find great joy in remembering anew with each bookmark, the friend, relative, or acquaintance who touched and enriched my life. It reminds me to pray for their families. My heart is made whole again and again. The peace of Christ comforts me.

Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, be with us on our journey to maturity as our losses multiply. May we remember with joy and gratitude those we have loved and lost. May we open our hearts to your comfort and peace.

Spiritual Practice: Tears of Compassion
Offer a silent prayer for the gift of God’s compassion. Cup your hands and ask God to make you aware of the suffering that causes the Earth and its inhabitants to groan and weep. Be open to faces or places, sounds or voices; feelings of connection with those who suffer. Imagine catching the tears of those you see and holding them in your hands. Listen for prayer images or words God may give you. Notice any active responses of ministry or healing you are invited to complete for those who weep.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will smile through my tears as I feel your compassion.

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  1. Diane Akers

     /  14 May 2014

    Thanks for your thoughts! I too have most of the time kept the bulletin in a smaller drawer in the middle of two larger drawers in my bedroom. Like you i re-read them and think of the joy of knowing them and how special they were in my life.

  2. Bren

     /  14 May 2014

    Very nice, Jo. That is a lovely use for something most people never know what to do with.

  3. Kathy

     /  14 May 2014

    I love the idea of recycling remembrances of loved ones who have departed as book marks. It will help to keep those memories alive. Thank you for the beautiful thoughts.


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