To do Lists: a prayer

Dear God, here I am obsessing over the stuff that isn’t getting done again.

I woke up late and left the bulletins on the printer at home (because we took our printers home) to photocopy at church, and a letter, and a million other things.

All week it’s been forgotten lunches and badly timed doctor’s appointments (first I have to drop kid number 1 at church and bc its closer to the dr and he can still do class then run to mine then pick up kid number 2 from school then repick kid number 3 to take them to the dr). This is a hard day off, Lord.

And I can’t reschedule anything because it will harder later.

So I’m checking in with people as best I can, even tho my phone is broken, and finally taking down the church Christmas decorations.

And tho I am getting just enough done this week, all week, I am haunted by all the things I still need to do.

God, you know that I thought it was Friday on Wednesday, when I turned in the workshopped, filled out and returned in a day paperwork for the grant we need so, so badly.

My brain is fuzzy. My brain is fuzzy, and its hard to put anything off, because it will make it harder to catch up on it later.

So here I am. Knowing I kept the eldest home on the one day this week that was supposed to be in person, knowing that I threw a little fit this week from sheer overwhelmedness

and knowing that you are there God.

Thank God your there God. Because, I am hanging on only by your strength. I am doing and grasping and loving and surviving, only by your will.

I have no extra oomf, but by the grace of God I am still here.

Hang to me God, because I might lose my grip for just a second. Hang onto me I pray.

Amen.

Without Ceasing, I Can’t Catch My Breath

God, I know that I am supposed to pray without ceasing.

Prayer is like oxygen. Prayer like breathing. Thrusting all that I am and have and do upon your mercy. Over and over again.

Sometimes it looks more like a raging Psalm, and sometimes it is the endless search for how to pray today.

But God, I have asthma, like most of my family, and breathing is severely underrated.

Too often, I can’t catch my breath. Too often I am trying to hiss a prayer out between my teeth. Feeling like no oxygen is going in…making it hard to breathe or speak or pray.

Stress, might I add, doesn’t help.

And sleep is shaky at best. We joke that everyone has insomnia, and try not to be awkward with one another over our devices, all alone, on little sleep and little breath.

I’ve been angry, I’ve been sad. I’ve dealt with loneliness, depression and hopelessness.

And I keep trying to catch my breath to pray. I know I do not need to speak to pray God, but you understand what I mean.

Here I am. Praying the “I don’t know” prayer, surviving.

I love to pray until the Holy Spirit prays you. Meditating deep enough that your soul find equanimity and respite in prayer.

That’s not the kind of prayers that are going on these days. Its more gasps and sighs, gutterals and selahs. With shoulders hunched over computers, or a quick plea as we rush through the day, or the pondering that keep you awake at night.

Lord, hear my prayers, all of them. Connect the dotted lines of prayers in my life–so like my asthma, even when I struggle there is enough there.

And if I need an inhaler for praying, please provide it to me as soon as possible.

For I am weak and you are mighty.

Amen. Amen.

Some Epiphany, isn’t it?

I wonder how the Magi felt, leaving a small baby full of beauty and hope behind to journey home.

Did they let themselves hope? How terrified were they, God, when the angel appeared to them in a dream and “warned them to go home a different way.”

Is this what Epiphany feels like God? Understanding yet standing up to the real evil that exists in the world? Did the Magi feel a weird mixture of hoping for hope, but not being able to spend time on that yet?

Is Epiphany knowing what you don’t know? Is it finding small joys in babies and families and journeys successfully completed even as Petty Rulers do every single despicable thing to keep their power not caring what innocents will suffer or die along the way?

This is some epiphany, God. Where the vaccine is found, but the virus has not yet been defeated. The Good News is real, but hasn’t been disseminated yet. Where the fullness of already but not yet of salvation and health and peace and change is imminent, but completely out of reach.

What did the Magi pray when they looked upon the star? Did they pray for wisdom? for guidance? for safety? for family and friends who were far away? For the furture that had yet to impend?

Because that’s what I’m praying for this epiphany.

Lord, keep us wondering and wandering in the right direction I pray.

Amen.

Magi from Armenia manuscript of John
Malkon, Gaspar and Baghghazar

I am so angry

I am so angry, she said, and I admit I was surprised to hear the echo of her words in my heart God.

Of course, I know I’m angry God, we all are. Haven’t I been giving permission for people to scream psalms and then wrote out my own about the catastrophe that lead up to and was 2020? But I was still surprised…because I am SO angry, God.

I’m angry God, with little places to process it, and very small chances to even be grumpy (though I am, of course grumpier like most people).

I’m angry that people keep making poor decisions, I’m angry that I don’t know how long I have to stay in survival mode.

I’m angry that my child who has autism works so hard to remain masked when so many capable adults believe rumors and lies and continue to ignore the need to do what is needed to stay safe.

I am angry that we are so, so lonely, while others go out and party.

I’m angry that my family’s mental health is precarious at best, and I’m angry that the priorities of the government and individuals seem to be power and money over safety, and self-righteousness over loving our neighbor.

And I’m angry that my family cannot perfectly keep others safe because there are too many factors and not enough cooperation for us to be able to tell when and how all of this will end.

I am angry that more and more people are getting sick or dying, and all the socioeconomic things–Too many to name even….

I want to be angry God, because it’s a true reaction to what is going on.

Is this how Jesus felt when Samaria refused to welcome him when he finally decided to journey to Jerusalem? Did he have to get over it to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan?

Or did you tell the story to yourself Jesus? Did you tell it to remind yourself not to always be angry?

God, there is nowhere to put this anger. If I put it on mine enemies, and wish them harm or illness, I–in truth–only hurt myself.

And there’s no real way to process it, yet.

Except sometimes I watch a show or I read a book and I cry.

God help us, help me, with this trauma. This mix of delayed mourning, longstanding loneliness and more anger than I realized.

Help us say the prayers, scream the screams, write the psalms and to create the rituals we need in this time of trauma. Help us to create small oases of sanctuaries to process. the hardship we are going through.

I’m tired of being angry God. Please help me in whatever way you can.

Send your Holy Spirit to comfort and renew me, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

For more Pandemic Prayers here

Irresolute: A Prayer for the New Year

God, I’m praying here because I sense this is not the year for resolutions.

Self-improvement does not feel adequate for all that is going on…and it certainly isn’t appropriate when survival has been the first and primary goal.

God, I am trying to practice being thankful for my body. Because thought the ups and the downs my body has gotten me through the year. And am working to process and absorb the trauma that has hammered down. I’m trying to practice gentleness, with the flesh that envelopes me. Did Christ look at his body and struggle with gentleness and thanksgiving?

God, you know I have other things to absorb too. The lessons of economies and ongoing structures of neglect and violence. The rawness of the human condition has been made plain, which is why an individual resolution won’t do this year.

A prayer is more fitting God, because resolutions are about certainty, and prayer is about all the places I’m floundering and trying to figure out.

After all God, it’s been the year of flexibility and pivotry and other bendy things.

So here I am God, praying for the New Year, for the new things. On the things that are unresolved, the things we are working on, the things that are not just about me and now but are more communal and complex in nature.

So, God, help me as I’m irresolute this year. Help me to be okay with it. Or, maybe not. Not everything is ok.

So here’s to an irresolute year–of community and mutual aid and epiphanies and a way to be present.

Let me be as present as I safely can. And let it not be not a resolution or a goal, but rather a way to strive for I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/share/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Please consider supporting my pursuit of a doctorate in Divinity as a practicing theologian in Creative Writing! I’m close to the $2,000 I need for tuition. Every contribution from $10 to $100 has been a huge help.

Screw you 2020: A Psalm

Screw you 2020, May you disappear into the dusts of time.

God grant us long memories to prevent such injustice, disease and hunger that were given reign over us in 2020. It was always there lurking, and we let it sneak up on us, like a demon.

Screw you 2020, you and the bus you came in on, with fires in Australia, Hurricanes in the gulf and more fires in the Western US. Screw you and your human made explosions in Beruit, your stealing of children in Nigeria, flooding in Guatemala, and then the creeping pandemic that stole the breath of the elderly, and then the frontline workers and finally the general public.

May the taste of 2020 be washed out of our mouths by the clear and cool waters, let them roll down in justice. Let them wash away are bigotries and selfishness, and teach us the that shared water tastes the sweetest, and let us never sell water to one another, but instead give it with grace ever dripping, like the savior.

Goodbye 2020, and do not let the door hit you on the way out with your loneliness and horrible mental health days and having to say goodbye to our beloved through phones or windowpanes.

Let us welcome our new population–the long haulers, the disabled (who hey we might have finally noticed), the overworked and underpaid essential workers, the lonely, the newly estranged or divorced, the poor and impoverished, the teeming homeless and underused.

Let us gather these populations together like the siblings they are, and let us (when it is safe) throw a huge feast, where all are invited, welcome and accepted. Let us put our Black and Brown Siblings, Our Queer family and our Disabled Kin at the head of the table. Shut our mouths and give us ears to hear what it is they have been trying to stay lo these many years.

Goodbye 2020, we didn’t all survive you, but may we all learn from you.

Get out.

For me and my house, we follow the God of justice, who wants not hypocrisy or wealth, but acts of peace.

May we provide for every single person in such a way that they do not feel that they are only worth their productive value in society. For those who can and do work may we pay each and ever one of them a living wage, may we educate our children well and never begrudgingly and let us honor and value their teachers.

May we value science and learning over selfishness, and health over selfishness, and the community over selfishness, and those more vulnerable than us over selfishness.

May we be polite and respectful of food workers, mail workers, warehouse packers and custodians, for theirs is the work of the Lord. Stop up our mouths when we judge or disdain.

Who are we to be jealous when someone who is poor gets something good to eat?

Who are we to tell people they cannot work if they are disabled, and that they are worth only $300 and it works not for us for them to be married?

Who are we to devalue stay at home parents and caretakers of all kinds, and to say that the care is their responsibility and yet not give them even a crumb of bread to eat?

Who are we to judge the person who has to depend upon family systems to survive and live in intergenerational homes and then blame them for their close quarters?

Truly I say to you, God’s grace is infinite, and if Jesus were here he would be flipping the tables on 2020 and all that lead to it.

He would be feeding school children every day and supporting parents and caretakers.

Jesus would spread the wisdom of the gay community who survived the AIDs pandemic, and would empower those who live with disabilities to teach us not only to survive but to thrive within whatever our current confines are.

He would house the homeless, feed the hungry and clothe the naked, showing us how easy it’s always been!

Jesus would give rest to the Essential workers, he would comfort those who are working, living, breathing the hospital and emergent care, he would clean up on behalf of the custodial services.

Jesus would stop up the mouths of those who sing dangerous songs, but empower singers to share their art safely, he would encourage the artists, who gave us stories and virtual concerts and lessons and hidden rainbows to carry us through the storm.

If Jesus was here he would feed the food workers of the shut down industry.

He would find companionship and penpals and bubbles for the lonely, the elderly and the singles and the children and the ones who are outcast from their own family.

Jesus hates hypocrisy and would call out the politicians who speak a good game and then give more money to the entitled. He would especially tap the shoulders of those who follow Christ, reminding them of the humble path they are called to walk .

And Jesus would legitimize and celebrate the ways we’ve adapted and worked together. Jesus would encourage all the people who had good news, and tell them it’s ok to have bits of happiness in the midst of it all, and he would do it in such a way we would be inspired to share that happiness any and every way we can.

Jesus doesn’t stand for your nonsense 2020. You are a dumpster fire.

And if Jesus doesn’t stand for it, then I won’t either.

Screw you 2020.

From our Lips to God’s ears, we pray.

Amen

Image

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

A Puerto Rican Colleague Rev. Dr, Amaury Tanon-Santos translated to Spanish here.

Please support my funds for a PhD in Divinity in Creative Writing! All donations help no matter how big or small!

Tantrum Prayer

As my child is screaming Lord, I say a quick prayer.

Because really, I want to scream too.

On this day when we found a way to safely see our friends, we got lost.

And we are almost there, but the child is screaming, it’s pitch black out, and the roads are unfamiliar. And the other one is whimpering too.

And I’m trying to drive.

The third time we make a U-Turn and finally get through to our friends…

we can not longer hear the directions she is trying to tell, because the screaming is too loud, or the road is too dark, or the pandemic is too much.

God, this is my prayer to you, because in my heart I’m screaming. I’m screaming, lost in the dark.

And so we turn around, and go home–all of us crying, some of us out loud.

And truthfully, like a child I just want to scream,

until you pick me up,

put me to bed,

And Let me start again in the morning.

I am grateful that you are a God I can tantrum to, You are a place where I can admit that I am lost, you are the parent whom I can admit that I’m not hearing or seeing or processing well anymore.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

men.

The Mysterious Road From Edvard Munch's The Scream - DailyArtMagazine.com -  Art History Stories
Image

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy 

More Pandemic Prayers and Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Read about my journey towards a doctorate in ministry in creative writing donation to support my writing! About Me: My Story & My Writing

Tenterhooks

God, can we just say, tension is present

I’m wound really taught, and at this point even waiting for the good things feels impossible.

The social media reminders to unclench your jaw and roll your shoulders are so so necessary right now Jesus.

Jesus, how did you do this? How did you live in the tension–stepping into the gap between healthy and sick. Balancing the reality of being human and divine. Calling out hypocrisy and yet not shaming those in need.

How did you do that?

Holy Spirit, I could use some wisdom, if you are ready to supply.

Because the waiting for life to change, for the pandemic to change for the world to change as a result of ::gestures wildly:: all of this, is truly putting me on tenterhooks.

I looks at tenterhook today, God, I felt called to google the etymology and realized it was the hook that holds the tight tent, tight. So simple, so important.

But it also is what is holding things tight, while they dry out so that they are more flexible and able to take their proper shape.

If this means I’m a wet blanket. I’d believe it God. The days are short, the winter is long and the sort-of/kind-of quarantining we are trying to do is never ending.

How do I live into this tension? How to I do enough to survive, but not cut off the essential?

Jesus, the reality is that we all live in-between, it’s just our little human brains can’t handle it.

It’s like waiting for a baby to be born–perfect for advent–full of hope and trepidation. A time that is messy and where your whole body is stretched and changed, and your baby is between healthy and not because they haven’t even been born yet!

So help me, as I wait, as I’m no longer soaked but not quite dry either. Help me as this time of trial stretches me to my limit and pins me to the earth with an uncomfortable but necessary hooks.

And help all of my siblings on earth, because we all seem to be in the same place God.

Help us all, I pray.

Amen.

What Does It Mean to Be 'On Tenterhooks?' | Merriam-Webster

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy 

Read about my journey towards a doctorate in ministry in creative writing and give a small donation towards my tuition! About Me: My Story & My Writing

More Pandemic Prayers and Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Typically my prayers and resources get hundreds of views a week. If everyone who regularly used my resources put forth $20, math says (yay math) I only need 100 people at that level to reach my first goal. Any help $5-$25 is greatly appreciated. As always all resources can be used and adapted with credit to Katy Stenta 

https://gf.me/u/y83935

Donate to PayPal https://paypal.me/KatyStenta?locale.x=en_USVenmo www.venmo.com/Katy-Stenta or Google Pay to Katyandtheword at gmail

Its Complicated: a holiday prayer

God, I’m sitting with the fact that all holidays are complicated. Thanksgiving is the worst–because let’s be honest, the next one is always the worst one.

We try to remember to give thanks in a country where taking, enslaving and abusing people, land and…well everything is a part of our DNA.

And then there are the complications of not seeing family this year. And perhaps for some people, it’s emotionally safer to not see their family. Queer people who are rejected, disabled people who are forced to pass, victims of abuse or neglect trying to build bridges in a broken system.

So I’m praying for this complicated holiday, where everyone gets to feel especially lonely this year.

Teach us thanksgiving,

The Thanks part, and the giving part too.

Help us to find ways to safely connect and support one another. Help us to find the moments of security in this turbulent times.

But also, let us give ourselves permission for these holidays to be complicated.

Let us take them as they are, and struggle to acknowledge who and where we are this year.

This I pray in the name of the Holy Comforter, the Holy Spirit.
Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Read about my journey towards a doctorate in ministry in creative writing and give a small donation towards my tuition! About Me: My Story & My Writing

More Pandemic Prayers and Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day

Pieces of Joy & Thanksgiving

God, I’m a the point in the chaos where I am wondering if I am allowed to be happy

Because the world is shitty right now. People are sick and dying. Politicians and governments do nothing and there is real suffering in the world.

And God knows the last recession, we were living on the edge, skirting bankruptcy, playing Russian Roulette with the bills, the credit cards, the job searches

I remember counting property after property for sale in 2010

This time the hurt is less visible. Those who are sick are quarantined, the hospitals are off limits, and poverty is hidden again and again (like we did) because it is a sign of shame.

I am all to aware the the suffering I know is but a microcosm of what is really going on.

So when things go right, when I realize we have enough room to live in, or we enjoy celebrating the youngest turning 9, or I get in to the program I applied for. I wonder is it ok to be happy?

Lord, I thank God for things like the Nap Ministry and Queer Theology and Black Girl Magic which remind us of the value of rest and joy, and that these things must be practiced especially in the midst of chaos.

Lord I give thanks for a moment to soak in the sun, the opportunity to zoom and pray for one another, and the early Christmas tree lights and carols that are seeping into consciousness.

Lord God I thank you for the beauty of snowflakes, the reminder that safe at home can mean cozy at home and the gifts of pets, hot chocolate, and my favorite music.

Help me to celebrate the little things, God. Help me not to forgo joy, but instead to embrace it, and let these moments strengthen me so that I am more able to go on.

Remind me that you give joy to everyone, even those who suffer, and that denial of joy is not helping anyone, I pray.

This Thanksgiving, please give me, and help me to celebrate whatever pieces of joy might happen. Especially give me the spirit and strength to recognize when these pieces of joy sneak up and surprise me.

Help me to enjoy them.

And appreciate them.

And give thanks for them, I pray.

Amen.

Feel free to use/adapt with credit to Pastor Katy Stenta

Read about my journey towards a doctorate in ministry in creative writing and give a small donation towards my tuition! About Me: My Story & My Writing

More Pandemic Prayers and Mundane Prayer to Survive the Day to Day