Midwife Prayer

by Zac Harmon-McLaughlin

Holy Midwife,
Guide me through the birthing pangs
of growth and understanding.
Teach me how to breathe
in a world that is overrun
with pain, hurt, injustice, and suffering.
Help me be better present with what
is being born deep within me.

May I understand this pregnancy
through your eyes
as creator and nurturer–
knowing that this is a direct result
of falling in love with Shalom
and seeking out the hope and reality
of the peaceable kingdom.

Hold me in times of disruptive contractions.
Laugh with me in moments of joyful anticipation
of what is and will be.
Squeeze my hand to gently remind me
to be present in the experience
rather than turning away in fear.
Push me forward in the moments
I resign to complacency.

As I wait to experience
the continual birth of love,
inside and outside of me,
remind me of advent.
I pray with gratitude,
Amen.

Spiritual Practice: Imagine the Spirit as the midwife of your soul. What is being birthed deep within this Advent season?

The Forming

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

“… and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.” Romans 5:4-5, NRSV

When the memory of the moment
You said your “sacred yes”
Grows dim and distanced in your soul…

And you question how or if
The encounter that changed you
Could have happened at all…

And you wonder if what you’ve
Committed to is more
Than you are capable of…

And the anxieties of the unknown
Begin rushing through you
As a prickling, pulsing fear…

When the burden feels too heavy,
The blessing too unclear,
And the road ahead is marked endurance

B R E A T H E
Again
and
Again
and
Again.

Breathe until this crowd of questions
Narrows to the most important few.

Breathe until your hope is restored.
Breathe until your vision is clear.
Breathe until a stillness enters
And calms the storm.

Breathe until you become aware
Of the One who issued the invitation
Who remains beside you,
And works within you–
Who is doing the forming
And who is the form.

Spiritual Practice: Breathe deeply. What does it look like in your life to trust the One who is doing the forming and is also the form?

TO BE REAL

By Katie Harmon-McLaughlin

Let it be what it is
Don’t rush to fix it
Maybe just try to give it a name
Hold it with honesty
And the assurance of grace
Resist the urgency claim
Find rest in the inefficient

This isn’t about progress
Stand still for a while
Just long enough in one place
To sink in deep

The journey inviting us
May be the one we hadn’t thought to take
That beckons beneath our feet
Beneath the layers of protest in the soul
Over productivity and time

Rest into a different rhythm
A downward way
And forget all thoughts
Just for a while
Of moving forward

Exactly here
Is where the Spirit is speaking
Not in some future moment
But in this one
Let it say what it needs to say
About what is forming within you
And taking a shape you cannot yet see

Let what is real in you be real
And trust for a while
That it will lead to a place deeper
Where beneath the swells
Of whatever feelings emerge
Is a holy source of life
That is about more than
Merely making it through
Or suffocating politeness
Or the need to make it sound ok

Let it be what it is
Just for a while
Just long enough
To really see
What is really real
To practice being brave
To let what feels important
Find its way to the surface
Breaching in the soul
To breathe
To live