Saturday, March 22, 2014

A Favorite Prayer

  I  pray often (not unceasingly!) but my prayers tend to be very simple.  I think of Anne Lamott's two prayers:  "Help me" and "Thank you."  I think she added "Wow" later.

 I admire those who are willing to do the congregational prayer at our church and do it so well like my husband and my friend Maggie.  That is not my "spiritual gift."

Prayers that others have composed are meaningful to me.  I have several prayer books from places as far away as used bookstores in Hay-on-Wye in England or as close by as South Haven, Michigan.

 I don't know where I got Prayers New and Old (published by Forward Movement Press) but I have read and reread the following prayer from that little book:

Our High Calling

Our Father,
who hast set a restlessness in our hearts,
and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find;
forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life.
Draw us from base content, 
and set our eyes on far-off goals.
Keep us at tasks too hard for us,
that we may be driven to thee for strength.
Deliver us from fretfulness and self pity;
make us sure of the goals we cannot see,
and of the hidden good in the world.
Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us,
and our hearts to the loveliness others hide from us because we do not try  enough to understand them.
Save us from ourselves,
and show us a vision of a world made new.
May thy Spirit of peace and illumination so enlighten our minds
 that all life shall glow with new meaning and new purpose;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

There were times when I was working that I clung to the words "Keep us at tasks too hard for us."  There have been other times that I prayed "Save us from ourselves" when I was tired of my fretting, worrying, obsessing self.  And last night I thought how much the last lines related to this new chapter of my life--"that all life shall glow with new meaning and new purpose."

I don't know who wrote "Our High Calling" but I have been grateful for the words that have become my words in prayer over the years.

1 comment:

  1. Mary Ann Glendon at the start of her "A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Freedoms" includes the prayer and cites Elliott Roosevelt claiming that this was his mother's nightly prayer. A little more checking reveals that it was composed by John Rothwell Slater who published it in 1909 in "The Christian Register", a Unitarian journal. Thanks for the research challenge, Mary.