Lenten Flash Prayers: A lot is said with six

By Mandy Cloninger

As I mature, I find my prayers getting shorter. If you’ve read much of this project, hopefully you’ll recall my three part series, “Help! Thanks. Wow.” inspired by Anne Lamott’s book of the same name. But sometimes my prayers are only sounds. A deep breath in. A sigh. A cry out. I find sometimes they are a gaze, a skyward acknowledgement, that I see you, I see what you’re working in my life. Other times I shake my head, unbelieving just like Thomas, begging to stick my hand in the wound for proof.

My Lenten season was filled with prayer. It was my commitment to give God prayer and six words each day. Through this practice I created a journal – if I look at my calendar, my photos, my notes, and each prayer, I can recall vividly the moment that inspired the prayer, the circumstances, and the feelings it evoked.

On one particular day, walking my familiar neighborhood path by the Hillsborough River, I observed two men also enjoying this beautiful slice of nature in the middle of a bustling city. I wrote about them and played with six-word story structure to capture the moment. I also prayed for Ukraine.

I see you; you see me.

Grounded in you. We seek peace.

Grounded. Feet in earth. Seeking peace.

Two men were at the river. 

One on bicycle. One walking barefoot. 

A few were inspired by my daughters. 

Wild. Wild children. Wild with love.

Found these shirts in Arizona – we are a wild bunch!

A few people inspired prayers. Many were inspired by nature as I traveled to the Grand Canyon and Arizona (3/10-3/17), Philadelphia (3/24-3/27), and the Rainbow River (4/10-4/13).

I love the one that captures Luna tossing leaves in our neighborhood. She would pick up an armful, throw them over her head, and shouted, “God is joy!” 

God is love. God is joy.

One of the prayers, I initially went to edit and delete before sharing this post, because I thought it offered too much of a window into my soul at that moment. Vulnerability is uncomfortable.  

Take the pain of self-loathing away.

I felt like an imposter. I was in a very new environment at a writing conference surrounded by artists that have far more talent and success than me. I felt so yucky about myself. I hurt a friend’s feelings because I was projecting my insecurities. I felt guilty. I didn’t like myself very much. These days happen — maybe you’ve had a few like this, too. God wants all our prayers, especially the ugly ones.

What did I learn during the season of Lent? 

God wants them all! All prayers.

A lot is said with six.

2/28: You are enough. I am enough.

3/1: Grateful for flow like a river.

3/2: You can have all of me.

3/3: O God, beauty is all around.

3/4: I see you; you see me.

Grounded in you. We seek peace.

Grounded. Feet in earth. Seeking peace.

Two men were at the river. 

One on bicycle. One walking barefoot. 

3/5: God, I want the answers now.

3/6: God is love. God is joy. 

Why struggle? I am already forgiven. 

3/7: Wake up. Now move. It’s yours.

3/8: Anxiety. Hard to breathe. Take it.

3/9: Lift up women. Change the world.

3/10: Adventure is calling. Grateful to go!

3/11: Beauty is in all of it.

Burn it, grow it, rebirth it.

3/12: Sunshine, energy, positivity. Walk that bridge. (Devil’s bridge)

Pulsating energy. Seek only the light.

3/13: The earth carries a divine signature. (Walnut canyon)

3/14: What further evidence do you need?

Your fingerprint is in all things!

Grand grand grand. Wow wow wow.

3/15: Sing. Praise. All praise. All day.

Your canvas is full of colors.

3/16: Wind reached out to embrace me.

The wind is a playful friend.

Airport mesa vortex: wind teased me.

I wrote about this particular day and the wind in: Playful Friend or Fierce Foe?

3/17: Your path. Your doors. Open wide!

You provide! All glory! All praise!

3/18: All things work together for good!

3/19: Rest in you. Breathe you in.

3/20: These girls are my whole world.

Wild. Wild children. Wild with love.

3/21: The sun’s light kissed my face.

The son’s light kissed my face.

3/22: My heart and soul sings, Jesus! 

3/23: Your provision, your path, your way!

Use my strengths for your kingdom!

3/24: Strong, powerful, women lift their voice.

3/25: Love them all. Love them anyway.

3/26: Take the pain of self-loathing away.

3/26: Your grace is in small things.

3/27: We see God wherever we look.

Help me see with your eyes.

3/28: A butterfly is a new creation.

God, Create something new in me.

3/29: The caterpillar 🐛 delights in its transformation!

Your work is all around me.

3/30: Delight. Pleasure. Joy. All good things.

4/1: When joy overflows, bathe in it!

4/2: All joy, all praise, all day.

Big faith like a precious child!

4/3: Mary’s Alabaster Box: fragrance of love

Reckless, extravagant love in Jesus’ presence.

Bathed feet with hair & nard. 

4/4:  Faith over fear. Make me brave.

4/5: She is a gift. Thank you.

Overwhelming, satisfying, cup is overflowing love.

4/6: Bless, Nikki, and all her relationships.

4/7: Friendship with Leila enriches my soul.

4/8: Serving you and others fills me.

Hands, feet and heart to love.

Hands, feet and heart to serve.

4/9: Nature is the energy that fills.

Nature has the energy to heal.

4/10: When it flows, it flows steady.

4/11: This love is all I need.

Your love is all I need.

4/12: The present moment is the gift.

4/13: The otters played, and we rested.

Resting in nature with you restores.

4/14: Jesus did that. He washed feet. 

4/15: His suffering and death: our forgiveness.

4/16: Grateful for girls, family and cookies.

4/17: Let me be amazed like Peter!

Published by mcloninger

Mandy Cloninger, CFRE, is a nonprofit thought leader, charismatic spokesperson, and a results-driven executive. With 20 years of experience raising hundreds of millions of dollars, cultivating transformational relationships with diverse constituencies, she has built capacity, scale, and scope in higher education, health care, and community-based nonprofits. She is passionate about social justice and humanitarian work internationally and at home. Mandy Cloninger is also a writer, public speaker, leader and faith seeker. Her journey and travels often bring inspiration to write, think and dream new dreams. Mercy & Meadows is a writing project inspired by a camping and hiking trip to Yellowstone National Park in 2021.

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