Little Prayers

Little prayers are just that–the small, taken-for-granted prayers we pray all the time. Like “Amen.” How many times do we say that word in prayer? Usually we end all our prayers with it.

What does it mean? I suppose we could say it means “yes” in English. “Si” in Spanish or Italian. “Ya” in German. If you look it up in the dictionary, you find it traced back into the Greek and then to the Hebrew. Amen means “so be it”; a strong “yes,” and it’s been part of the language of our faith for centuries.

Here we are in the 21st century using a word generations before us have used; we draw on the faith of generations before us to say, “Yes, I believe,” “Amen” to God’s word to us and our word to God.

“The Lord be with you,” “And with your spirit.” Another little prayer, wishing that God be with us and bring us together in faith. We can trace that little prayer back generations too.

Little prayers can give us a way to express what we can hardly put into words or understand. Besides words, they can also be simple gestures, like the Sign of the Cross; they can be moments of listening or seeing and waiting in silent attention before God.

Psalm 123 describes a servant waiting and watching before her mistress.

“To you I lift up my eyes,
you who dwell in the heavens.
My eyes like the eyes of slaves
On the hand of their lords.
Like the eyes of a servant
On the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes are on the Lord our God
Till he show us his mercy.”

Little prayers can be a cry or even tears. You often hear that kind of prayer in the psalms:

“I cried to you, Lord, and you heard me,” the psalmist says in Psalm 30.

Remember the simple cry of the Canaanite woman: “Have pity on me, Son of David…Please, Lord” (Matthew 15:21).

Little prayers are important, they’re not little at all.

3 thoughts on “Little Prayers

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