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Spiritual Sandwich: Pray In Place

Spiritual Sandwich: Pray In Place

By Cate Lycurgus, 2007-2010 Summer Staff Alumna & Adult Volunteer

This winter I lost my father, who I had lived with and cared for over the last six years. Being fairly isolated, the all-too-familiar chronic fear for those I love and their health, on top of community and societal concerns, can threaten to overwhelm me.

Grief-in-place on top of shelter-in-place has been challenging, and it is easy to succumb to despair. I often combat despair through writing, and so have taken up a poem-in-place practice, drafting one piece everyday. Sometimes it is praise, sometimes it is witness. Sometimes though, all I can do is cry out, beginning, “Dear Lord, Dear Lord, Dear Lord…”

For centuries, people have been crying out to God. In Psalm 116, David writes:

“I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death wrapped its ropes around me; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord…”

– Psalm 116:1-4 (NLT)

Take a moment to consider:

  • What is something weighing on your heart today? From where do you cry out? Try writing your own prayer or poem as a way to express your heart’s concerns.
  • In the waiting, can you hear the pain or cry of another amidst your own darkness? Are there places, people, or situations of loss or injustice that need your ear?
  • Scripture says God has heard our cries and complaints (2 Samuel 22:7). How have you seen evidence of this in your life? If you have not, how might you be on the lookout for this?
  • If you feel moved at some point this week or in the near future, write a prayer of thanks or praise to accompany the lament you’ve written about. What blessing might accompany the pain you’ve lifted up?

I’ve included one of my prayer-poems below. God can handle our honest aches and is big enough to handle them.

Editor’s Note: SSP has been the launchpad for countless young adult leaders like Cate, who have gone on from staffing at SSP to serve communities via ministry, nonprofit work, and more. Consider supporting our efforts to foster the development of young people by donating to SSP’s Leadership Development Fund.

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