Breathe

Changes are always rolling our way. Some we know about, some we don’t. After Jesus had gone, the disciples waited for the promised coming of the Holy Spirit, God’s presence and power with them for all the times to come. They had gone through a lot of changes, and more were to come, but rather than ignoring or hiding from these changes, I noticed that they spent time praying (see Acts 1:12 – 2). This poem is about following the disciples’ example to pray about change and seek ways we can be transformed positively by it, as they were by the Holy Spirit when it arrived in wind and fire.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 
“Breathe”
 
we wait in the shadow
of the upper room.
We have been told that change
is coming again. I duck my head
and hold my breath.
 
pages from the past tell of
men who waited for change
in the upper room, but they
did not neglect the air they
needed. They
breathed
prayer.
 
I hear it coming now, a bellow
to rattle the fragile and the new
stones I assembled in the wake
of the last blow. At last I look up and
breathe
prayer.
 
It is here, a crash into my heart—
a shifting, a whirling, a pain.
I am not ready, but I am open now
to God’s Spirit, for when I learned to
breathe prayer in the waiting, I also learned
to speak in the wind. Standing in the blowing change,
I become a tongue of fire
and voice.
 
 
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Breathe by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Offer of Prayer

May we embody prayer lives not only of saying words and requests to God, but also of action. This poem is dedicated to the amazing woman who has taught me what that looks like.
 
“Offer of Prayer”
 
She sees pain gnawing your heart
like a starving dog on a bone
without blood to give, just marrow
trying to hide from the teeth.
 
She offers you prayer
and you know she’s offered her heart.
She will spend moments saying words
to God for you but she will spend
as many and more holding your weeping
head in her arms, listening to your sorrow,
and speaking to you the poetry that is her wisdom.
 
She is the breath in the prayer,
living the words in a slow dance of love circling
around you in an embrace.
 
 
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Offer of Prayer by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

The field

A prayer for unity and forgiveness.
God bless,
Morgan
 

“The field”
 
God, forgive us for the walls.
Forgive us for
     the bricks we’ve been laying.
We carry tension like marble
    backpacks as we bend over
to add new layers
to our masterpiece with
    no gates but many turrets.
Help us pull the bricks down
and reopen the field where
against all odds, the lamb and the lion
      could come to meet.

 
 
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The field by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Grief prayer

For the many people I know who have recently lost loved ones and for the many in mourning who I do not know.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Grief prayer”
 
Today, for you who grieve a passing
       or a passing soon to come,
I pray that the comfort of God
    be with you, nestled around your aching heart:
        an embrace and a whisper that beckons memory
     of joys, lessons, wisdom,
         bright eyes, loud laughter, and precious time.
 
May these final moments be richly filled with 
      hands held, tears shed,
         and songs sung.
  May there be arms around
      your shaking shoulders.
 
I pray you will speak, hear, and cherish
   both the vulnerable words and the brave words,
        trembling and true: 
        heart-spoken.
 
At this passing of life, stand still. Feel
      the wings of a beloved soul
           brush you on its way by.

 
 
 
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Grief prayer by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

A God Moment

Hi everyone,
 
Many times we get caught up in looking for a certain “feeling” in our spiritual lives—the same experiences of the Holy Spirit that our fellows have when they’re in tune with God, like a wave of emotion in a church service. Sometimes we feel as if we’re not “getting it” like everybody else.
 
At times like these, we’re unconsciously putting a mental limit on the ways in which we think God can interact with us. Our God created diversity, and so I believe He speaks to us in just as many ways. Maybe you feel close to God when you’re singing in church, or maybe you feel close to God on your morning run. Each one is valid and should be celebrated.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“A God Moment”
For Debbie and Duncan
 
we post it like a clipped newspaper ad
   on our hearts:  looking for a God Moment—
a flash in time when we are connected
    to the Majesty of the universe
        and feel that Someone bigger
     is speaking to us.
each note is written in 
      billions of uniquely formed letters, 
    characters, and symbols that ask 
              without knowing what the answer
        will be like.
 
Replies come to us 
    unique as the notes we scrawled 
at midnight in the lonely hour
       of the wondering and lost:
 
In the air trembling
   from the deep strike of African drums
in a medley of passionate 
    gospel choirs
in triumphant organs 
     playing nineteenth century hymns and  
in bass guitars and shaking speakers
      in the whirling energy of a concert
in soft creek water running beneath
      canopies of sunny green leaves
in the whisper
    of a brushstroke over canvas
in the joyful bliss of giving
     and the crashing chorus of construction
in the spring of sneakers running over
    pavement or turf
in that click in the mind
     when all the logic of the puzzle lines up
in words brimming with stories
      and in the curling waves of ocean surf
in first and last breaths
       and the wonder of wide open eyes.
 
across the globe 
     to each reply
  our smiles broaden the same way
     at fresh encounters with joy.

 
 
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A God Moment by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Summer Night Prayer

Hi everyone,
 
This poem is a reflection I wrote a couple years ago. God listens to our prayers no matter our stages of life and ability, and His Words back to us help us grow as His children.
 
God bless,
Morgan
 

“Summer Night Prayer”
 
deep in summer dreams buzzing
       with cicadas and lawnmowers
              i murmur midnight prayers. what
amazes me and confounds me
      is the listening ear i find taking in
             each long list of worries, questions,
                            requests, and hopes. what makes 
me lie still as leaves hanging in humid
       noon sunshine is that silent reassurance
            that i’ve been heard and that since 
        my first wailing breath i’ve 
    been cherished close by family
here around me and up above. in clouds
        drifting over the moon, You’re up there
               cupping Your great ear
                  to hear my little voice.
 
back when i only knew words in patterns
        and rhymes, You listened. now, with my
              rambling prayers You
still listen, offer a guiding hand and a
        gentle voice in reply, a voice i hear
tonight amidst the buzzing of summer. it’s 
        delicate but deep with life and love
             and power beyond vast starry skies and imagination.
 
it says simple things to me, for a child’s ears,
        but simple things are wise and change souls.
                   if i set aside doubt for a minute, set aside
          scientific rationale and if onlys and what ifs,
i can feel a seed in my heart split open
         to sprout a shoot of faith. if i listen, rain falls
                      gently on me and the shoot grows leaves 
and branches. branches are beautiful because
              they reach—over and down and up in all
                     directions. Your Word is 
air around me, a fine cool mist, and nourishing
       sunlight for the faith
                   growing in me.

 
 
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Summer Night Prayer by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest

Sorry it’s been a while, everyone. This is a poem I wrote a while back and have shared before. This poem came about from talking to a friend of mine once. She had been told she couldn’t pray in a forest, only inside in a place like a church. I don’t think God limits Himself to buildings, not when the Bible tells us how He created us in a garden and met Moses and His own Son on mountaintops. This is a three part poem for people who have trouble feeling like they’re being heard by God and need to know He wants to and does indeed listen.
 
God bless!
–Morgan
(P.s. I refer to Romans 8:38-39 in this poem (the letter) – (NIV) “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels not demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Jesus Christ our Lord.”
 
 


"For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest"
 
I.
this is for the girl who was told
            she couldn’t pray in a forest.
in simple words in a letter a long time ago
a man wrote a great truth that
nothing in the world, nothing in our imaginations,
            can take us away from God.
we are connected by His love
linked forever to His grace,
            a lifeline that cannot be broken.
so in the soft murmurs of a forest
             how can He not be heard
             and how can He not hear?
if He created the trees of the forest,
            their broad leaves and narrow needles, 
            the sweet smell of old leaves and fresh berries,
            the cool shade and the warm glade,
                        then can’t He meet you there in that garden?
 
II.
this is for the children of God 
           who are afraid to lift their voices too loudly,
who are afraid to be heard, who have been told too many times
           their prayers and thoughts aren’t worth enough
                       to be of any concern to God.
your words don’t have to be beautiful or elegant or perfect.
            a parent praises a child’s first words, 
            and one who loves the child never stops listening
            when those words become sentences, become questions,
            become who they are struggling to explain in sounds
                        someone else can understand.
don’t be afraid to try and speak, don’t fear rock cold judgment 
            when what awaits you is warm open arms 
            and a ready ear for whatever words you say.
every whisper and worry and hope
            He’s waiting to hear, however you say them,
            wherever you say them.
 
III.
i walk in a forest today and sing aloud to heaven.
            Listen closely—
            the forest is singing back His reply

 
 
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For the girl who was told she couldn’t pray in a forest by Morgan Prettyman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.