Sunday, June 24, 2012

Book Review: I Am One

I Am One: Prayers for Singles, by Carol Greene.

I loved this book.  I loved every page of it.  I wept through half its pages.  If you are single and feeling anything other than 100% content about that, if you're wondering when God is going to step up acknowledge your loneliness, if you don't know how to pray about this part of your life, this book is for you.  There are prayers for all sorts of different situations and feelings, and each is linked to a Bible verse that matches up with the prayer - sometimes in less-than-obvious way, but maybe that's part of the fun of it.  Here are three that I particularly enjoyed:

A Matter of Counting

I AM single, Lord.
I am one in a society
that counts by twos.
To some that makes me afflicted,
a person to be pitied.
To some it makes me sinful,
a person to be distrusted.
To many it makes me awkward,
an uneven number that upsets the balance.

You know the truth, Lord.
You know that I am
afflicted, sinful, awkward,
but no more and no less so
than your other children,
and you hold out to me
the same grace, forgiveness, and love.

O Lord, I praise you,
because you count by ones,
because you count each one equally precious,
each one utterly yours.

See Romans 3:21-26.


I never used to think of myself
as anyone but myself,
me during childhood, adolescence, young adulthood,
me doing what everyone else did.

Now I am a "single", or an "un-married."
I am unwelcome at parties of former friends,
on vacations with "price based on double occupancy,"
and at my church's couples' club.
Instead I am encouraged to visit singles' bars,
take singles' cruises, and
join a singles' support group.

They seem so alien, Lord,
these new barriers,
because I am still me.
I still care what happens to my former friends.
I want to vacation with all kinds of people.
I want to be in fellowship with couples too.
But what is worst, Lord,
is what the barriers do to me - inside. 
They make me too cautious, too ready to retreat,
too quick to defend myself,
too eager to insist, "I am as good as anyone."
They alienate me from myself, Lord,
these alien barriers.

Smash them, Lord,
or, if that is not your will,
then make me wise as the serpent
to creep around them,
gentle as the dove to fly above them.

See Matthew 10:16

Love Nobody Wants

IT SOMETIMES seems, my God,
as if I am filled with love
that nobody wants,
as if I am a tree
abloom with flowers and fruit
that will never gladden or nourish anyone.
Do you know how that feels, my God?

O my God, you do!
In the garden at the beginning of time,
in the wilderness of Moses,
at the cross and forever after,
you have reached out to us with love
and we have turned away from you.

And yet you do not give up.
With divine stubbornness,
with boundless generosity,
in eternal hope,
you reach out again and again.

O God who loves,
O God who is love,
train me in love like yours.

See Romans 5:6-11. 

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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23