I recently finished Stephen Cherry's writings for Lent and Easter entitled 'Barefoot Prayers'. It is a collection prayer poems and a companion volume to 'Barefoot Ways' which takes one thorough Advent and Christmastide. I very much like his pithy words and thoughts and have found myself pondering his phrases as I go about my daily routines. The last prayer poem for Easter is entitled 'Amen':
I have never started a prayer with that word before.
Yet it is right.
This one-word sentence says enough.
Acceptance. Gratitude. Joy, perhaps.
pause for breath. Look up. Take another step.
Desire expressed. Longing left. Hands open.
Request for answer. End of me. Over to you."
Like Cherry, I have never thought of starting with 'Amen' as a prayer and doing so really makes one think about what prayer is and how we articulate what we want to say to God and why. 'Amen' is a word of hope, reading, gratitude, acceptance and dependence. It sums up all we feel about God and all we try to comprehend at the same time. 'Amen' in itself is a good prayer for God knows what our prayers are before we say them. God knows the cares and concerns we carry in our hearts and God helps us to express them, no matter how poorly we feel we do. Sometimes 'Amen' is perhaps all we can say or pray but as Cherry suggests 'Amen' in itself is enough and says it all anyway.
In this time of pandemic when words fail us in prayer just say 'Amen' and God will know all that we want to pray.