prayer at crossAbstinent Today:

I am a gratefully recovering compulsive overeater, abstinent by the grace of God one more* day at a time. †

It is the National Day of Prayer. I am glad that the United States has one of these, even though it really should be every day.

 

 

 

From today’s entry in Voices of Recovery:

“What do we say when we talk with God? We say whatever we feel like saying.” — The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Overeaters Anonymous, p. 93

The churches I grew up attending were funny about rote prayers. The general consensus, as I remember it, was, “If you didn’t think of it yourself, it’s not a legitimate prayer, because it didn’t come from your heart.” So I missed out on some beautiful prayers written by some spiritually gifted people over the years, like Francis of Assisi, Mother Teresa, or Reinhold Neibhur. Others I know grew up thinking that if they didn’t memorize the right prayer for the right occasion and say it properly on cue in the right position, then they were off the mark. Thank God, He hears us seated or standing, covered or uncovered, no matter what we have to say. Many times, the cry of my heart is best voiced in the Third Step Prayer. Other times, I can’t help but interrupt myself with my own bit of digression. Any of what I say to my Lord is acceptable to Him. I’m even convinced that He is big enough to handle my rants when they come, though I try to refrain from elevating myself to His level while I’m whining. God has heard me cuss and fuss and He loves me just the same. He was there when I was born, when I found my first chest hair, and when I was in the bathroom this morning. I have no secrets from Him, so pretending that my speech has to be perfect when I speak to Him would be silly.

 

Prayer of Mother Teresa:

Dear Jesus, Help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go, flood our souls with your Spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being so utterly that our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us and be so in us that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus. Stay with us and then we shall begin to shine as you shine, so to shine as to be light to others. The light, O Jesus, will be all from you. None of it will be ours. It will be your shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching not by words, but by our example by the catching force the sympathetic influence of what we do the evident fullness of the love our hearts bear to you.

 

 

From Proverbs 2:

3 indeed, if you call out for insight

and cry aloud for understanding,

This is one of the several “if” statements the lead up to the “then” promises of understanding, knowledge and wisdom. Have you ever wondered what to pray for? Here is a Scriptural answer: insight, understanding, wisdom. Rather than asking God, “Why?!” maybe we could pose a petition from our frustration.

Dear Father, grant that I would understand what You would have me know. May I see all that You have to show me and nothing more. Keep me trusting in You, the bigger and wiser of us, and blind me just enough to keep me faithfully holding onto Your guiding hand.

 

 

 

From my reading through the Bible, currently in Romans 12:

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Not too very long ago, my church pastor presented a whole sermon series based on just what is in this little chapter. It is packed with life-altering instruction. These few verses, however, have special meaning to me, as they hold the key to life-giving renewal, transformation itself. Being a living sacrifice is a key element of my abstinence. Every moment in between my planned meals is, to me, a spiritual fast, and I offer it, based on these verses, as a living worship of my Savior and Provider. These verses describe the faith that puts abundant life into the body when I practice my spiritual worship in observable action. They are the holistic formula to mental health and physical vitality through spiritual worship. It was what was missing from my life when my religion was empty, my spirit was dead, my mind dark, and my body obese.

Verse twelve is a nice little memory verse that helps me get through tough times. I recommend it for anyone who wants to keep a pocket-sized bit of hope handy on the brain for use anytime.

 

 

 

From Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, page 58:

Your prospect may belong to a religious denomination. His religious education and training may be far superior to yours. In that case he is going to wonder how you can add anything to what he already knows. But he will be curious to learn why his own convictions have not worked and why yours seem to work so well. He may be an example of the truth that faith alone is insufficient. To be vital, faith must be accompanied by self-sacrifice and unselfish, constructive action.

 

 

 

Footnotes:

*Abstinence began for me on May 11th, 2010.

† For the sake of accountability, the details of my eating are posted in my online food log.

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