This whole “one word” thing isn’t entirely new to me.
In college I used to meet for coffee with my campus minister and try to talk and talk and talk my way through vocational discernment. At the end of one marathon coffee session, my ever-patient mentor turned to me and asked, “What should I be praying for you for?”
Well THAT shut me up. I thought for a minute before the words came:
I began praying for these things, and my mentor did as well.
I got four candles and lit them at the start of every morning or evening prayer time:
Slowly, I discovered that I was praying in the wrong order.
I had to trust and be patient and be at peace with God. Only then would the discernment come.
And it did!
I realized my call to ministry, graduated from college, survived the end of a relationship, started seminary, and realized that somewhere along the way the discernment had worked its way out.
But I continue praying for trust–in God, in myself, in other people; for patience–with God (geez, why won’t God hurry up already/let me be in charge!?), with those around me, with myself when I realize that I’m not perfect yet; for discernment (how do you want me to live, O God? What am I to do in this situation?); and for peace, internally & throughout the world.
So those four words have been my words for the past five years. As I started seminary, I added a word. I told my preaching professor that my seminary quest was to re-kindle HOPE. He said that if that’s all I did in seminary, it would be a worth-while cause. So I bought another candle, and added it to my morning routine…
But while I have no intentions of letting the candle of hope go out, I have overall found that prayer to have been answered.
It is time for a new word… coming tomorrow….