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Living on a prayer

Living on a prayer

The day is set out like the libretto of a psalm.

I wake up tired, dream-weary.

“I think of God, I am restless, I ponder, and my spirit faints.
You will not let my eyelids close I am troubled and I cannot speak.” (Psalm 77:3-4)

My body and spirit groan and complain as I will them out of bed.

“Have pity on me, Lord, for I am weak; heal me, Lord, for my bones are racked.” (Psalm 6:2)

I enter into the portal of Zoom.

“How long shall I have perplexity in my mind, and grief in my heart, day after day?” (Psalm 13:2)

During the check-in portion of the meetings,

“Many are saying, ‘Oh, that we might see better times!’” (Psalm 4:6)

The little wheel of disruption circles my laptop screen, and I am interrupted by endless waiting.

“For my days drift away like smoke.” (Psalm 102:3)


But during the involuntary and prolonged pause, I hear as though for the first time the singing of the birds.

“Beside them the birds of the air make nests and sing among the branches.” (Psalm 104:12)

It is as though the dawn has come again:

“You make the dawn and the dusk to sing for joy.” (Psalm 65:8)
Wake up, my spirit; awake, lute and harp; I myself will waken the dawn.” (Psalm 108:2)

As though my eyes are newly opened, my spirit newly awakened, I find that all this time, it is as though I have been holding my breath.

“The idols of the heathen are … the work of human hands.
They have mouths, but they cannot speak; eyes have they, but they cannot see.
They have ears, but they cannot hear; neither is there any breath in their mouth.” (Psalm 135:15-17)
“The Lord knows our human thoughts; how like a puff of wind they are.” (Psalm 94:11)


I remember my breath, and where it comes from.

“For your loving kindness is better than life itself; my lips shall give you praise.” (Psalm 63:3)

I remember my prayers, and the one who answers them, with breath, and wind, and birdsong.

“I heard and unfamiliar voice saying, ‘I eased his shoulder from the burden;
her hands were set free from bearing the load.’” (Psalm 81:6)

I wonder again at how close I had come to forgetting

“But as for me, my feet had nearly slipped; I had almost tripped and fallen.” (Psalm 73:2)

to give thanks for the day that is, and the chance to live in it.

“Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long.” (Psalm 71:8)


“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Hallelujah!” (Psalm 150:6)

The Revd Rosalind C Hughes is the author of A Family Like Mine: Biblical Stories of Love, Loss, and Longing, published by Upper Room Books. She blogs at over the water and is a contributing editor at the Episcopal Cafe. In amongst it all, she serves as Rector of the patient and supportive Church of the Epiphany (Episcopal) in Euclid, Ohio.


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