A Prayer for Help

“It is so easy for good people to confuse their own work with the work of creation. It is so easy to come to believe that what we do is so much more important than what we are. It is so easy to simply get too busy to grow. It is so easy to commit ourselves to this century’s demand for product and action until the product consumes us and the actions exhaust us, and we can no longer even remember why we set out to do them in the first place.” Joan Chittister

Creator God, help me, please,
To remember
That I am Your child.

Lady Wisdom, help me, please,
To know
That I am an echo of my Creator
And I am more important than what I do.

Redeemer, help me, please,
Do not let me be
too busy to grow,
consumed by products
exhausted by actions.
Amen

Of fruit and tree

“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. There is no law against such things.” Galatians 5:22-23

The fruit of an apple tree is an apple; as the fruit, so the tree.

So then:
God is loving and joyful
God is peaceful and patient
God is kind and generous
God is faithful and gentle
God is in control

With God:
I can be loving and joyful
I can be peaceful and patient
I can be kind and generous
I can be faithful and gentle
I can let God be in control

Let this be my law
Let this be my life
Amen

A prayer suggested by a Madeleine L’Engle quote

Recently, I found a wonderful article about Madeleine L’Engle’s views on writing.

L’Engle wrote: “The stories I cared about, the stories I read and reread, were usually stories which dared to disturb the universe, which asked questions rather than gave answers.”

And that led me to a prayer:
God, grant me the grace to love the universe,
the courage to disturb the universe,
And the wisdom to ask questions rather than give answers.
Amen

Third Grade Our Father

In 2005, our Vacation Bible School’s theme was the Lord’s Prayer. I taught third grade that year and, over the course of the five days, had my third graders put the Lord’s Prayer into their own words. Here is the result:

Dear daddy God,
I know you live in heaven.
You are very, very special to me – no one else in the world is like you.
I hope that soon we will all live with you and we will all do what you want us to do – all of the time.
Then earth will be just like heaven.
Please take care of me every day.
Forgive me when I hurt You and help me to forgive people who hurt me.
Keep me safe from sin and evil.
You are the Greatest, the Strongest and the Best. Amen

Prayer by Symeon

Years ago, in a seminary course on St. Paul’s letters, I learned that one of the key theological concepts, repeated throughout Paul’s letters is “Christ in me” and conversely “me in Christ.” I have never found a more beautiful expression of it than in this poem/paean/prayer by Symeon the New Theologian (949-1022) a Byzantine Christian monk and mystic:

We awaken in Christ’s body,
As Christ awakens our bodies
There I look down and my poor hand is Christ,
He enters my foot and is infinitely me.
I move my hand and wonderfully
My hand becomes Christ,
Becomes all of Him.
I move my foot and at once
He appears in a flash of lightning.
Do my words seem blasphemous to you?
–Then open your heart to Him.
And let yourself receive the one
Who is opening to you so deeply.
For if we genuinely love Him,
We wake up inside Christ’s body
Where all our body all over,
Every most hidden part of it,
Is realized in joy as Him,
And He makes us utterly real.
And everything that is hurt, everything
That seemed to us dark, harsh, shameful,
Maimed, ugly, irreparably damaged
Is in Him transformed.
And in Him, recognized as whole, as lovely,
And radiant in His light,
We awaken as the beloved
In every last part of our body.

Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, pp. 219-220

I found this in one of Richard Rohr’s Daily Devotions emails.

A New Serenity Prayer | The Jesuit Post

It’s not a psalm and I didn’t write it, but I love this new version of the Serenity Prayer — and it is very much in the spirit of my rewrites of psalms.

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
not you.

Amen

via A New Serenity Prayer | The Jesuit Post.