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When your heart cries for our breaking world: a Pentecost prayer

Yesterday was Pentecost, that day we remember and rejoice in the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the first disciples. As I biked my route in the early morning drizzle, drops collected on the lower rim of my glasses and rolled down my cheeks, and my heart cried out for our broken world. At first the only words I had were, Lord, have mercy.

Sometimes those words are enough. Sometimes no words are enough, as the Holy Spirit takes the inarticulate groans we breathe and speaks to the Father on our behalf. 

But sometimes more is given to us to pray. 

Later, I sat and looked at the hanging basket outside my window, a collection of delicate pink and blue blossoms, bright yellow begonias, and, hanging down over the edge, fat fuscia buds starting to burst open.

On one side of the basket, the buds had burst to reveal multilayered white petticoats. On the other, the bursting buds revealed a rich velvety maroon.

Had I been designing the basket, I never would have thought to put all of these colors together—pink and blue with yellow and deep red— but I’m so glad someone did. And as I lingered and looked, I realized all over again, our God delights in color

In love and with joy he created the whole rainbow of flower petals and offered them to us, inviting us to share his delight. 

He did the same with skin tones. 

I see again the horror of a white man stealing another human being’s breath with his white knee bent on a black man’s neck, and my heart cries out again, Lord, have mercy!

May our bent knees be always for life, not for death, for hope and peace and unity rather than division and destruction.

Spirit who first fell like flame, fall again on your people. Burn away the fear that keeps us divided and silent, and light in us a fire of love.

Spirit who blew through that first gathering like wind, liven our dead bones with your breath. Waken us. Open us to you and each other.

Spirit whose descent brought tongues loosed to speak the languages of others, set our hearts and our tongues free to learn the heart-cries of your other beloved children.  

Teach us not merely to tolerate a rainbow of color (though even that would be a start!), but to delight with you in our difference, to celebrate the beauty of your whole magnificent creation, and to live your life-giving, life-saving love in the world.

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. Connie Storr


  2. Janet E Russell

    Hi Carolyn,
    I continue to follow your writings and fine you often give words to what I feel or am experiencing. Would it be okay to share your prayer?

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Hi Janet,
      Yes, you’re most welcome to share anything posted here anytime. If you don’t mind also sharing where it came from, that would be great, in case people want to find their way back here.
      Thanks so much,

  3. Heather

    Thank you for putting words to my heart cry and I’m sure many others. Your words are beautiful and hope-filled.

    1. Carolyn Watts

      I’m glad, Heather. May God answer our hearts’ cries for mercy and transformation!

  4. Heather (Mack) Reid

    Carolyn, such beautiful writing and thought.
    My Mom and Dad, Gordon and Mary Mack, often spoke of you and I knew you as a child in Hfx. . I saw this post through Sylvia on Fb. How delighted I am that it has taken me to your writings. Heather

    1. Carolyn Watts

      Hi Heather, Thank you for introducing yourself! Lovely to see you here.

  5. Bonita

    Amen! Lord have mercy!

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