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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Sunday, April 19, 2020  

Today’s Hymn

Open now thy crystal fountain,
whence the healing stream doth flow.
Let the fire and cloudy pillar
lead me all my journey through.
Strong deliverer, strong deliverer,
be thou still my strength and shield;
be thou still my strength and shield.

When I tread the verge of Jordan,
bid my anxious fears subside.
Death of death, and hell’s destruction,
land me safe on Canaan’s side.
Songs of praises, songs of praises
I will ever give to thee, I will ever give to thee.

“Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah” (vv. 2–3) by William Williams
Hymn 65, Glory to God: The Presbyterian Hymnal

I’ve never been the best at focusing my wandering mind in prayer, and that is true in the time of COVID-19 more than ever. I start to pray for a quick resolution, and then I remember that a quick end means more deaths. Or I pray that people will stay home, and then I remember that home is not a safe space for many. And then I long to escape my apartment, only to remember that so many lack the privilege to work from home right now. So I mentally strike through each of those thoughts and return to the never-ending task of trying to only think the right things and pray the right prayers, repeating ad nauseum. 

Today I took a break from my mental gymnastics to read this text. And upon reading the words “bid my anxious fears subside,” I realized yet another flaw in my reasoning: this false notion that I could ever tire the ear of God with my imperfect, rambling hopes for this world. 

I don’t have a perfect prayer for these times, so I continue to lament both staying home and going out, to hope both for the end to near and the curve to flatten, to think of both myself and my neighbor. And I try to trust that the paradoxes of my anxious heart are not too much to hold for the same hands that set the stars in the sky. 

Strong Deliverer, bid my anxious fears subside. Amen. 

Written by Allie Green, Director, Urban Youth Mission

Reflection and Prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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