A Prayer on my 50th Birthday

I wrote this prayer on my 50th birthday.  That was quite a few years ago now, but I found it again and want to share it.

Dear Lord, my eternal friend,

Here it is, my 50th birthday.  While I’m not having a full-blown mid-life crisis, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this birthday.  It’s reminding me how short life is, and how little I have accomplished.  When I look at all the youthful dreams I had of what I wanted to do for You, I wonder if I ever will do anything really significant in the time I have left on this earth.  Why does all this matter?  Well, I guess I just want, somehow, to pay you back in some small way for all you’ve done for me.  Love needs a response, and I’m so aware of how much You have loved me.  I want to love You back, and I don’t know how to do that except to love Your people and do good things in this world.  Yet, my love for You is so small, my expressions so inadequate, and I always fall so short of what I intend to do for You.  This love is so much about Your giving and my taking.  What else can I say but thank You.

Thank You for making me.  Thank You that I was created to live here and to know the experience of human life.  Thank You for letting me know You from an early age so that I wouldn’t spend most of my life running away from You in fear, as so many people do.  I can only imagine what that must be like.  Thank You for being there during the saddest and loneliest times of my life, and for letting me know in small, yet personal ways, that You were there for me and heard my prayers.  Thank You for being a God who always listens.

Thank You for giving me sight, hearing, a mind to think clearly, the ability to move freely, and days that are mostly so free of pain that I take my body for granted.  Thank You for the freedom from disease that allows me to serve You with more opportunity than a lot of people have known.

Thank You for the people You’ve given me to live with.  Thank You for good parents.  They were people who loved and respected You, and who gave me a wonderful heritage of their wisdom and strength.  Thank You for a husband who’s the perfect partner for me.  He has taught me more than any human, been there through thick and thin, and filled every empty place.  He has led, supported and loved me for years.   Thank You for the gift of children.  Loving them throughout their lives has been so completely satisfying.  You’ve taught me more about Yourself through the experience of parenthood, for You are the Great Parent.  Thank You for being a partner in our parenting–the largest share of the partnership.  Thank You that despite all my failures as a mother, these children have turned out well.  Thank You for being all they needed and all I wasn’t.  Thank You for the wonderful relatives and friends who have graced my life through the years, whose presence seen and unseen, has been a source of joy and comfort.

And so Lord, what about the future?  I don’t know how many years or days You plan to leave me here.  I know I still have dreams of doing a lot of good things–things I hope will please you.  If the past is any indication though, I’ll fall far short of what I hope to do.  What can I say, Lord, but take me and use me.  Since You always do the lion’s share of whatever we accomplish together, then You please pick what we will do.  I realize there’s going to be three of us in whatever You plan, for You are always thinking about my dear husband, and making plans for us as a couple.  I want to say yes to all of it, Lord.  Use us Lord, and let me serve my sweetheart, as well as You, for all the days You grant us together.

I know some things will change in the future.  If I live long enough here, my body will wear out.  I dread that Lord, and I dread losing, one by one, my abilities to serve You in this world.  Help me to face my limitations with courage.  Help me depend on You.  You have things to teach me, even in my physical weaknesses.  Help me to focus on what I can do for you, not on what I can’t do.  Help me to realize that my weaknesses are blessings, if they force me to depend on you more.  They will make us closer.  And after all, what’s more important than becoming closer to you, if I am soon to see you face to face and live with you forever?

Lord, I’m thinking less now about how many things I can do that spread far and wide.  I’m thinking about what things I can do that will live after I’m gone.  I want my grandchildren and great-grandchildren to know what a wonderful friend You are, how totally trustworthy You are, and how You help them in every way.  Please show me ways to do that Lord.

Last of all Lord, we will make a final journey together.  I know it will come sooner than I think, even if I’m quite old when it comes.  Just as You’ve never left me in life Lord, I trust You’ll hold my hand and walk me through the final passageway.  It will be light then, Lord, and I’ll finally see Your face, which has been in the shadows all these years.  I hope I will also see the faces of all those I’ve known and loved.  If You grant me a last request Lord, it would be that everyone I’ve known would unfold their arms from across their chests and take Your hand.  Give them whatever they need to be able to do that, Lord.

What can I say now Lord, except You are truly the beginning and end of everything.  You are the Love behind all that is good.  Help me complete all I lack in loving You.

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6 Responses to “A Prayer on my 50th Birthday”

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