Bend My Anger

This week was the last session of the fall semester of Soma Worship at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Soma is an ecumenical Christian prayer service held weekly during the semester during our noon common worship period. In one of the prayers included in today’s service, there was a line asking God to “bend our angers into your peace,” a line that stayed with me well after the prayer service was concluded.

If we are honest, we are forced to admit that we all get angry at times. Sometimes that anger is justified; we should, for example, get angry at injustice in the world, wherever we find injustice.

We could, of course, simply pray to God to help our anger dissipate and there are times that may be appropriate. But there is a lot of energy in anger, energy that perhaps could be harnessed and used. It can’t really be used effectively in the form in which it arises in us.

Hence my attraction to the line in the prayer. Our anger needs to be transformed and channeled into something productive, something that can have some positive effect in one way or another on the source of our anger. And so it seems to me that the better prayer is to ask God’s help in bending and shaping our anger, in taking the energy in that anger and turning it into something that can be a positive force for good.

I have to admit that there have been a number of things lately that have generated anger in me. And so I fervently pray, Lord, bend my anger.