In the Words of Bon Jovi & a Franciscan Prayer

What could an 80’s metal hair band babe and some Franciscan monks have in common? I mean, do they have something in common?!

Stay with me for a second. I know this sounds crazy as I’ve been laughing (literally out loud) while watching the Bon Jovi “Livin’ on a Prayer” music video, but sometimes this is how God talks to me. I can’t help it.

For the last week, I feel like I’ve been at a loss of words. When confronted with the deep, heart-wrenching pain of others I wondered, “What could I possibly say?” So, I spent lots of time listening and reading because I believe that’s part of my calling at this time– to no longer feign ignorance, but educate myself and grow.

This is no new concept. In fact, this is a foundational principle whenever you come in contact with someone who is grieving….LISTEN. There is no perfect arrangement of words to make everything better, but listening brings a simple solidarity between people.

As I’ve mentioned before, during my own personal darkest hours the moments people came and just sat with me or allowed me to share openly about my loss and bear my wounds have been some of the most comforting. These kinds of interactions also bring about a depth of genuine connection certainly needed in this current conversation as well.

In my reading this week, I came across this ancient Franciscan prayer. Even though I haven’t had many words to share and have even struggled knowing what and how to pray this simple prayer seemed beautifully relevant.

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, hard hearts, half-truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live from deep within your heart where God’s spirit dwells.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world and in your neighborhood, so that you will courageously try what you don’t think you can do, but in Jesus Christ you’ll have the strength necessary to do.

May God bless you so that you remember we are all called to continue God’s redemptive work of love and healing in God’s place, in and through God’s name, in God’s spirit, continually creating and breathing new life and grace into everything and everyone we touch.

No fancy words are necessary when we pray. You do not need a Theology degree or even know the Greek word for prayer. Prayer is simply connection with our Heavenly Father. I’ve started many a prayer with a sigh or groan.

Sometimes the majority of prayer IS listening. God listening to my list of grievances and frustrations. And if I’m smart, me doing the majority of the listening as He comfort or corrects or directs me.

No need to over-complicate it or overthink it. Just make the space to do it–to simply quiet yourself down and turning off all the distractions. Just you and Him. It’s there where the Living Water of His Presence can come in and give us a drink of water. A drink of hope and a drink of strength.

Here’s my encouragement, whether in the words of an 1855 hymn by Joseph Scriven (“Take it to the Lord in prayer”) or a 1986 rock ballad by Bon Jovi (“Livin’ on a Prayer”) take a minute to do just that.

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