Making Room for Hope as Prayer

May the God of hope fill you
with all joy and peace
as you trust in him,
so that you may overflow
with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Prayer is the act of making room within us for the gift of hope. Hope does not come naturally to us. For many of us, despair is what comes most naturally. We have a tendency to project our worst fears into the future. We imagine terrible things. Worst of all, we imagine terrible things while also imagining that we will be alone. Sometimes it seems like all of the space within us that God wants to fill with hope is already full of fear, despair and loneliness.

Hope is not the denial or avoidance of these painful realities. It is not a kind of pretending that everything is fine. Hope is, rather, the experience of looking into the future and seeing glimpses of God’s goodness and grace. It is the capacity to trust that God’s love is stronger than all the powers of hate, greed, or injustice in this world. Hope is the faith that whatever our circumstances, we are held in the loving heart of God.

Hope is a gift­—a gift offered to us by the God of hope. Prayer brings us into direct contact with the God of hope. In prayer, we open ourselves to God’s living reality, to God’s healing and to God’s redemptive activity in our lives and in the world. In prayer, we catch glimpses of what God’s healing and blessing might look like in the future.

This prayer from the book of Romans is a prayer that we will come to trust the God of hope. It is as our trust in God deepens that we open ourselves to be filled with joy, peace and hope. As we give up reliance on ourselves, as we let go of trying to be in control, as we stop listening to the cacophony of voices of fear all around us, as we begin to trust, rest, rely on the God of hope, we make room for the gifts of hope that God offers us.

God will give us new eyes to see beyond our circumstances, beyond our fears, beyond our despair. God will give us new eyes to see the power of God’s goodness and love at work in our lives and in this world. God will open our minds and hearts to trust that God holds us, and all that is, in God’s loving, tender, powerful hands. In all of this God will heal our fears and fill us with peace. God will heal our sorrow and replace it with joy. God will fill us with an overflow of hope in the One who is our hope.
May we open our hearts in the prayer of making room for hope.

Free me
to let go of self-reliance,
to let go of fear and despair.
Teach me to trust you,
allow me to make room for your gift of hope.
May I trust
the power of your love
in my life and in this world.
Give me eyes to see anew.
Fill me to overflowing with
your peace,
your joy,
your hope.

Prayer suggestion:

In a time of quiet, picture your heart as a container.

Notice any fear or despair that are in this container.

Notice any self-reliance that fills this container.

Ask God’s Spirit to heal your fear and despair and self-reliance.

Ask God to strengthen your trust in God’s goodness and love for you.

Ask the God of hope to fill the container of your heart with gifts of hope.