Sine intermissione orate

Lord Jesus, Master of my life, my very breath is in your hands. Remind me throughout the hours of this day to depend on You for the help I need and to ask You for it.

O what peace we often forfeit,
O what needless pain we bear,
All because we do not carry
everything to God in prayer.


~ Elisabeth Elliot, A Lamp Unto My Feet

My weakness is not knowing my weakness. It is a struggle for me to involve God in my everyday life, because it doesn't extend me beyond my own ability to cope. I have often wondered if that is why He has allowed me to experience such intensity in such a short life - the threat of my death in high school, when I became acutely aware that I depended on Him for my very breath and consciousness; working with such an intense group of patients and families as a nurse; getting married after one summer of courtship and being blessed with four children in short succession; being diagnosed with cancer at 29. At 29, I have experienced things that many people wait until their old age to see. I have watched many people die; I have comforted the mourning; I have grieved myself; I am forced to contemplate my own mortality. I think this is probably God's way of drawing me close, forcing me to draw near to Him because of adversity.

I love the phrase ora et labora (work and pray), the motto of St. Benedict. I am striving to become better at this - pray without ceasing (I Thessalonians 5:17), so beautiful in the Latin: sine intermissione orate. I wrote that motto of St. Benedict, ora et labora, on the inside of my wrist for many weeks while working with a particularly challenging patient years ago. It was a constant reminder to seek God's help through prayer as I worked with this child, dying slowly, and her father, losing faith quickly. I long for this current trial to teach me how to integrate prayer more frequently and urgently into my life as a wife and mother. Sometimes I lose sight of the neediness and intensity of this phase of life, as it pales in comparison to my prior work as a nurse, at least from the human perspective. Being a mother and wife and homemaker requires many more years of vigilant and persistent attention to detail despite the sometime monotonous nature of the work. It was easier to recognize the need for prayer when someone was literally dying on my shift!

I love the above hymn, quoted by Elisabeth Elliot, and it's reminder that neglecting prayer means forfeiting the perfect peace God would keep me in. That is my goal and prayer for today - that I would not forfeit the blessing God has prepared for me by heedless forgetfulness. Keep me aware of You today, my God!

Blessed Savior, Thou hast promised
Thou wilt all our burdens bear
May we ever, Lord, be bringing all to
Thee in earnest prayer.

Soon in glory bright unclouded there
will be no need for prayer
Rapture, praise and endless worship
will be our sweet portion there.

~ Joseph Scriven (1857)