“I need Your sense of time. Always I have an underlying anxiety about things. Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends and am completely without patience. It is hard for me to realize that some growth is slow, that not all processes are swift. I cannot discriminate between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed because my sense of time is dulled. Help me to understand the meaning of perspective so that I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure of time.
I need Your sense of order. The confusion of the details of living is sometimes overwhelming. The little things keep getting in my way, providing ready-made excuses for failure to do and be what I know I ought to do and be. Much time is spent on things that are not very important while significant things are put in an insignificant place in my scheme of order. I must unscramble my affairs so that my life will become order. O God, I need Your sense of order.
I need Your sense of the future. Teach me to know that life is ever on the side of the future. Keep alive in me the future look, the high hope. Let me not be frozen either by the past or the present. Grant me, O Patient One, Your sense of the future without which all life would sicken and die.”
It is hard for me to add to this beautiful prayer by the theologian and civil-rights leader Howard Thurman. These words name for me three aspects of our spiritual life that seem to be especially disrupted by the Coronavirus crisis. Perhaps because we are spending it in different and unusual ways, our sense of time is distorted. With our routine displaced, our sense of order has been unsettled and we have likely been thrown farther off course from the habits that God would have us fill our lives with. The pandemic has also threatened our sense of future. With no predictable end in sight, we are unable to imagine our future and look forward to the things that give our lives meaning.
I hope that this prayer invites you to turn your attention to these parts of your soul and that God’s Holy Spirit would meet you in the place of your most desperate needs. I pray that we would be given God’s sense of time, order, and future and that our mind would be restored to face the world with this blessed perspective.