In these or similar words ... 

Dear Lord,
Please. I’m not sure where to begin, but I think I need to begin with your love. If I don’t feel that, I’m not sure I can go any farther. Here, I sit in the dim light, surrounded by my sins like mushrooms springing up in a damp forest. As I look closer, more and more of them seem to crop up. I review my life and see basic sins, but now as I look again, I see patterns to them and the same sin coming up over and over again.

Oh, Lord! The way I treat people, angrily, impatiently, always needing to be in control. My life seems to be ruled by the need to look good, and yet I know that inside there are so many parts that are small and selfish and very dark. What is it inside of me that makes me turn my back so completely on you and the love you hold out to me?

Please, Lord. I beg you. Let me feel the pain and alienation of being separated from you. Let me know what it really is to be disconnected from your love and to feel so very lost without you. Free me, my God. Free me from the attachments I cling to. Touch the parts of me that need so much healing. Touch the selfishness inside me that makes me forget how I long to be next to you.

Help me turn to others with more compassion and forgiveness, the same compassion and forgiveness you have held out to me with open arms so many times. How can I so easily be angry and unforgiving with others and then turn to you so automatically when I need forgiveness?

Hold me gently, Lord. Calm my heart, so frantic and disconnected from you. Teach me to cherish others as you cherish me. I have so often asked you to soften your heart toward my sin. Please, I ask you now to soften the hardness of my heart toward others.

I want to say to you as Peter did, “Lord, don’t come near me! I am a sinner.” But I know that you will turn to me, as you did to Peter, and say, “Don’t be afraid.”

Heal me. Hold me. Be with me, God.

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