A hundred prayers gathered from across the centuries
and from many nations.
(Note: This is part “A” of an unfinished collection. Over the years I jotted have down in my papers many prayers for my personal use. Because I never expected to be a published author, I did not always keep a record of the source. If I have wrongly attributed a prayer, please be forbearing.)
* From an Egyptian inscription, about 4 B.C.
Who on earth
can adequately sing your praises?
What can my eye see
with which I can liken you?
What music is there
with which to compare you?
You are above me, below me,
within me and without.
All exist in you,
all are from you,
you give us everything
you withhold nothing.
Who on earth
can sing your praises?
* A prayer from
many of us are waiting for you:
the war-torn are waiting for peace,
the hungry are waiting for bread.
the refugees are waiting for a homeland,
the sick are waiting for healers.
Have you forgotten us?
O Lord, come quickly, we pray.
O God we thank you for this earth, our home;
for the wide sky and blessed sun,
for the salt sea and running water,
for the everlasting hills and the never-resting winds,
and for trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses by which
we hear the song of birds,
see the splendour of the summer fields,
taste the autumn fruits,
rejoice in the feel of snow,
and smell the breath of spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty,
and save our souls from being so blind
that we pass unseeing
when even the common thornbush
is aflame with your glory;
O God our creator,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever!
* Inspired by an early Greek Hieratikan)
· and Simeon, the New Theologian”’ 949-1022
Brother Jesus, Saviour and Master,
I know that all have sinned
as I have sinned,
and each has added to the net of evil
as I have done.
Yet one better thing I also know—
that the magnitude of human stumblings
can never extend beyond
the measure of God’s mercy.
With the medicine of divine compassion
you cleanse, forgive, regenerate and brighten
all those who sincerely turn back to you.
You deal with us not as servants
but speak with each as with a dearest friend.
O Master of light,
such saving grace is the one thing we need!
It makes me adventurous for you,
it gives me wings!
Encouraged by the wealth of your love
I will always celebrate life,
even though I am lost for words
or even for one adequate thought.
giving thanks in my mind,
giving thanks in my heart,
I exalt in you,
I praise you,
I adore you,
I glorify you!
You are the most holy,
the most beautiful,
my Brother, my Saviour my Master!
Amen and Amen!
* Countess Elizabeth, English, 18-19th Century
I thank you, God, that I have lived
in this great world and known its many joys:
The song of birds, the strong, sweet scent of hay
and cooling breezes in the secret dusk,
the flaming sunsets at the close of day;
Hills and the lonely, heather-covered moors,
music at night, and moonlight on the sea,
the beat of waves upon the rocky shores
and wild, white spray, flung high in ecstasy;
The faithful eyes of dogs, and treasured books,
the love of kin and fellowship of friends,
and all that makes life dear and beautiful.
I thank you, too, that there has come to me
a little sorrow and, sometimes defeat,
a little heartache and the loneliness
that comes with parting, and the word, ‘Goodbye’;
dawn breaking after dreary hours of pain,
when I discovered that night’s gloom must yield
and morning light break through to me again.
Because of these and other blessings poured
unmasked upon my wondering head,
because I know there is yet to come
an even richer and more glorious life,
and most of all because your only Son
once sacrificed life’s loveliness for me—
* St Anselm, Archbishop of
Grant, O Lord, that we
may cling to you without parting,
worship you without wearying,
serve you without wavering,
faithfully seek you, happily find you,
and forever possess you,
the only God, blessed now and forever.
* Based on
You, eternal Christ,
are all things to us.
the Bridle of wild donkeys,
the supporting Wing of the eagle,
the firm Tiller of ocean ships,
and Shepherd of the King‘s lambs.
The Joy of the saints,
Word of the Most High,
the Prince of wisdom,
Workmate of those who toil,
and Joy of the human family.
You are the Singer of God,
the Milk of a nursing mother,
Fishman on the dangerous seas,
the Dew of the spirit,
and Pearl of great price.
Bridle, tiller, and bird wing,
shepherd, word and workmate,
singer, milk, and fisherman,
dew, pearl, light and joy!
And who are we?
We are your privileged retinue,
your choirs of peace,
the offshoots of your love.
With sincere hearts and minds
we celebrate the perfect ways
of you, our only Messiah.
Blessed is he who comes
in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!
What else can I do, a weak old man,
but sing hymns of joy to God?
If I were a magpie,
I would do it the magpie’s way.
If I were a brolga,
I would do it with elegant dance.
But I am a rational creature,
and I ought to praise God
not just with my lips
but with mind and heart and soul.
This is my chief service.
I will do it, nor will I desert my post,
so long as I am allowed to be here.
Why don’t you join me
in this same song of joy?
*Adapted from the Greek Stoic, Epictetus
adapted from “Apostolic Constitutions”,
All things are your gift, Eternal God.
You have filled the universe and adorned it
with plants for perfume and healing and food,
animals strong and weak, tamed and wild,
and serpents that hiss and birds that sing merrily.
You have given the universe the rhythm of the years, months and days;
the changing seasons, the racing clouds
that spread rain that fill up fruits and give aid to all living creatures.
You regulate the breath of the winds
and at your command
it ripples the grasses and sways the trees.
What is more wonderful, you place human beings here;
In us you brought into existence a world within a world.
We emerge from nothingness
to exercise reason and judgment, faith and love,
within this paradise
To you our praise,
to you our hymns,
to you all honour and glory—
God and Father,
through the Son
and in the Holy Spirit
for ever and ever!
* Based on Mechtild of
O God, you have chosen
to make us your playmates.
Please lead the child within each of us
in your wonderful ways.
May we love mercy,
doing it steadfastly,
and so become like you
in your compassionate deeds.
Fuse us into one,
you in us and we in you,
until we could not be closer,
and remain so
*Bernard of Clairvaux, French, 960-1090
O my Lord Jesus, grant me a spark of that love which is your gift.
May everything close to your heart be my chief concern also.
Let me have some surety that I am giving myself entirely
To whatever you ask of me, and wherever my duty to you takes me.
For your love’s sake.
*The origin of
this famous prayer belongs to Reinhold Niebuhr, Theologian,
O God, grant me the courage
to change the things I can change,
the serenity to accept what I cannot change,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
For your love’s sake.
as we go to our rest,
renew not only tired bodies
but also the hidden depths
of our complex being,
where hope and compassion,
faith, wisdom and love,
are made and nurtured.
Let us rise tomorrow,
rejuvenated and eager.
*This prayer might be inspired by a speech
by Mahatma Gandhi.
Deliver your people, God,
from politics without principles,
from wealth without work,
from pleasure without conscience,
from knowledge without character,
from commerce without ethics,
from worship without sacrifice,
and from science without a soul.
The One above me,
the Three below me,
the One beside me here,
the Three waiting for me yonder,
the One the ground beneath my feet,
the Three the breath by which I live,
the One whose grace is beyond price,
the Three whose love’s in every place.
The encircling God and his right arm
steady my shaky mortal frame.
The pilgrim God with shoulders broad
support the burden of my load.
The encircling Christ with healing hands
mend my many battle wounds.
The wounded Christ searching for me
hear my cry at end of day.
The encircling Spirit, Breath of life,
fill my chest and fix belief.
The strong spirit of truth and light
guide my steps when I am late.
Encircling God, the Holy Three,
Holy Lord, the Only One.
Encircling Joy in all I see,
I shall never be alone.
* Attributed to Beethoven when he knew his deafness was permanent.
O God, give me victory over myself,
that nothing may imprison my life.
Be the guiding light of my spirit,
lift me up from the dark troughs.
May my soul, ‘rapt by your wisdom,
fight its way upwards in fiery flight.
For you alone understand me,
and only you can give me
the inspiration to keep going.
* St Francis of
may the sweet yet fiery passion of your love
absorb my soul completely,
and make it a stranger to anything
that is not of you or for you.
For your Name’s sake.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,
I love thee to the depth, and breadth and height
my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
for the ends of being and of ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
with my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
smiles, tears, of all my life!
And, God, if thou doest choose
I shall love thee better after death.
From “Man” by Jurgen Moltmann,
(Slightly adapted from prose to prayer.)
in you alone we find our full humanity.
In spite of our inhumanity
we have been loved by you,
in spite of our many faults
we have been called to your likeness,
in spite of the aggressive kingdoms of the world
we have been taken into the fellowship of the Son of Man.
Your love has made a loved being
out of an unloved being.
Your call has made a creative life
out of a desolate life.
You give us the will to hope
when there seems nothing left to hope for,
the power to love others
even when we feel unlovely.
You are our joy and salvation!
the author and persuader of peace, love and goodwill,
soften our hard and steely hearts,
warm our icy and frozen hearts,
that we may wish well to one another,
and may be true disciples of Jesus Christ.
Give us grace even no to show forth the heavenly life,
wherein there is neither disagreement nor hatred,
but peace and love on all hands
one towards another. Through Jesus Christ.
God, my Father and Friend,
I praise you for all you have given me,
and for all you have taken away from me;
For all my trials ands sorrows
as well as my joys
You are indeed are most gracious and glorious,
a Father of mercies and a God of love.
Be with me, Lord for the time to come.
I do not know what is before me, but you know.
Choose my portion for me;
lead me by your own hand,
and keep me close to you,
day by day and night by night.
I wish to love and obey you;
take my heart for I cannot give it without your help.
Put away from me everything that hinders me
from being altogether yours.
Dearest Lord, may I see you today and every day
In the presence of your sick ones,
and while I am nursing them
may I minister unto you.
Though you hide yourself behind the unattractive disguise
of the irritable, the exacting, and the unreasonable,
may I still recognise You and say:
“Jesus, my patient, how sweet it is to serve you.”
Lord, give me this seeing faith,
then my work will never be monotonous,
and I will find joy in humouring
the idiosyncrasies and gratifying the wishes
of all poor sufferers.
Let Christ’s peace guide all your decisions. It is to peace that you have been called by God into one body. Be thankful for it.
Thanks, loving God, for all the ministers and priests who over the years, have enriched my faith and life.
On this Sunday morning, I come to you asking that I may be open to your ministry through this man whom you have recently sent to our congregation.
You know, God, I have already been put off by his sexist attitudes. One problem is, he does not realise it. Another problem is that I am becoming uptight, and impervious to your Word in and through him.
Please, inhibit this knee-jerk reaction of mine. Make me more relaxed and vulnerable, more eager to receive your blessing through him.
As I work in your church beside this man, give me the discipline to discover the most creative way to help him understand the pain he causes some of us.
Fill me with your Spirit, that I may be wiser than I am and much more graceful than is my nature. I commit him and myself into your healing hands.
To your glory. Amen.
* St Columba,
Be to me, O God,
a bright flame before me,
a guiding star above me,
a smooth path beneath me,
and a kindly shepherd behind me,
today, tonight, and forever.
* Christine P, Australia, written when aged 7 years,
(Her spelling replicated!). .
O God, why is there so much riots and destruction?
Why are people greedy for money and other things?
If people gave, the world would be a better place.
If war stopped, people would not be killed.
The world needs people to go out as Jesus did.
Hospitables, schools, collerges,
and other bildings have to be bilt in lands
that is not established.
Old people’s homes need to be bilt.
O God, we admit that the world we live in is bad.
God help us to help others.
* Gertrude More, English nun, 1606-1663
O my dear God, help me to walk in the way of that true love
which does not know how to seek for self in anything.
Let me love you for yourself,
and love nothing else but in and for you.
To give all for love is a most sweet bargain.
Let me love you only as you want me to love you.
* Adapted from Govind Singh, Sikh, 17th Century A.D.
Holy One, you are
the Persian, Buddhist and Sikh,
You are the man,
the woman and child,
the pan flute player
and the herdsman with cows.
You are the fount of life,
and the giver of love
the source of prosperity
and the giver of yourself.
Every where and in all shapes
you are dear to me,
yet always you remain
your very own Self.
You alone are my creed,
my beginning and my end.
* Jane de Chantal, Swiss-French (?) 1572-1601
my soul is in a chill, dry land,
all dried up and cracked
by the strength of the cold north wind.
But whatever you see as the best for me
I ask for nothing more.
You will send me both dew and warmth
when it pleases you,
* Thomas Traherne, English, 1637-1674.
Lord, what a precious gift
you have given me!
In every person that you have created
you have given a resemblance
of yourself for me to enjoy!
Could any ambition of mine
have aspired to such treasures?
*Adapted from William Laud, 1573-1645
Lord, bless our country,
that faith and love may season
the hearts and minds of all our leaders—
Those who stand out among us: politicians, judges,
scholars, and the rich and powerful.
Fill them with a new love for Your ways,
that with justice and mercy
they may become the very salt our earth,
and worthy trustees of the gifts and responsibilities
You have given them.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
* Attributed to Abu Bekir circa 620 AD
How thankful I am, O God,
that you know me
better than I know myself,
and you allow me to know myself
better than those around me.
Please make me, I beg you,
better than they think I am,
and forgive me
the evil they do not know.
Lord hear, Lord forgive, Lord do:
hear what I speak not,
forgive what is amiss,
do what I leave undone.
Let it be that your will may be done
not according to my poor word or deed
but according to your mercy and truth,
and may everything issue to your glory
and the good of your kingdom.
Adapted from John Donne 1573- 1631
please do not allow me to trade my soul
for any earthly prize.
I trust the small boat of my soul to you,
for you alone can pilot me on this voyage
of strong currents and dangerous rapids.
When I approach the straits of death,
open your eyes wider
and enlarge your care of me,
so that no weakness or agony
may shake or benumb my soul.
At the end,
make me content
with any port of your making.
* attributed to Rabia the Sufi,
If I should worship you
because I am afraid of hell,
then burn me in hell!
I f I should worship you
to get into paradise,
then exclude me!
But if I worship you
just for your own sake,
do not withhold from me
your everlasting beauty.
show me the way ahead.
Others seem so certain,
sure of their Christian role.
For me it’s murky,
not at all clear.
Gosh, Lord! I’d like to be
as wise as Solomon,
as patient as Job,
as loving as Mary,
as practical as Martha,
yet with a generous touch
of Christ’s humility.
But, ah God,
it’s just plain old me,
trying hard – sometimes too hard,
trying, trying to be the kind of person
you would have me be.
you are the light of the minds that know you,
the joy of the hearts that love you,
and the strength of the will that serve you;
Grant us so to know you, that we may truly love you,
and so to love you, that we may fully serve you,
whom to serve is perfect freedom;
In Jesus Christ our Lord.
* St Anselm, 11 Century A.D.
Lord, teach me how to seek you,
and reveal yourself to me when I do.
For I cannot seek you, unless you teach me,
nor ever find you unless you reveal yourself.
Let me search for you in my longing,
and long for you in all my searching.
Let me find you in my loving
and love you in my finding.
I know you have created me for this,
to be aware of you and truly love you.
* Adapted from
the Bhagavad Gita,
It is right God, that we should sing your praises,
and be glad and happy with you!
Evil folk run away from you in fear,
but hosts of saints cling to you.
How could we not bow before you
in loving adoration?
You are the Spirit Supreme,
the creator and saviour of the world.
You are from before the beginning,
and beyond the end,
the ultimate Treasure of the universe,
the Knower of all who seeks to be known.
O you who are before and behind us;
adoration is yours.
O you who are within and beyond us;
adoration is yours.
O you who are the hope and the seed,
the fruit and the consummation;
adoration is yours!
* Maybe from Prudentius, 4 century A.D.
When the night is starless and dark,
or when the low clouds brood
and colours are dimmed,
there is a Light that comes:
the gloom fears and shrinks,
and clouds are pierced
by the spear of Christ.
From his shining face
bright colours return to all things.
* I think this
is based on words of St Irenaeus of
Please give, loving Father,
faith to beginners,
intelligence to the little folk,
aid to those who run the race,
sorrow to the careless,
a passionate spirit to the tepid,
and to the all the faithful, a good ending.
*Attributed to a Nun, 17th Century. (There must be a version for old men, somewhere!)
Lord, thou knowest (better that I know) that I am growing older. Keep me from the habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.
Release me from the craving to straighten out everybody’s affairs. Make me thoughtful but not moody, helpful but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom it seems a pity not to use it all, but thou knowest I want to still have a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and the love of rehearsing them becomes sweeter as the years go by.
I dare not ask to enjoy the repetitious tales of others, but help me to endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility when my memory seems to clash with the memories of others.
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a Saint; some of them are so hard to live with. But a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places and talents in unexpected people. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so.
* Adapted from
Show me your mercy, O Lord,
and gladden my heart.
What you see here
is a man who has been caught by thieves,
wounded and left for dead beside the road.
You are the good Samaritan
who picks me up
and treats my wounds
with your oil and wine.
It is your pleasure
that I should spend my days in your house
with all the others you have gathered there,
where I will praise you forever.
* Ramakrishna, Indian, 1836-1886
O Lord, look on me:
Here you see goodness,
here you see evil;
take them both from me
and grant me nothing but a purer love of you.
Here you see knowledge
here you see ignorance;
take them both from me
and grant me nothing but a purer love of you.
Here you see compassion,
here you see indifference;
take them both from me
and grant me nothing but a purer love of you.
* Thomas a Kempis 1380-1471
Grant us the grace , O God,
to know what is worth knowing,
love what is worth loving,
praise what pleases you most,
value what is most precious to you,
and hate those things that offend you.
Give us discernment,
to judge between things that appear similar ,
and to search out and do
those things that delight you.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord,
* Thomas Traherne, English, 1637-1674
O adorable and eternal God,
you have made me a free agent,
that having the choice to please you
I might become your friend.
What a new fountain and torrent of joys
you have prepared for us,
making us your companions
that we might live
in sublime blessedness!
O You who are so delightful
to the children of earth,
and other children of earth
delightful to you!
* Cleanthes, Greek, 3rd Century B.C.
O Immortal One,
God of many names,
it is right that we should seek you.
You alone know how to make—
the rough smooth,
the tough tender,
the misfit fitting,
the disordered harmonious,
and the antagonist our friend.
Deliver us from the folly of wickedness,
banish it, Great Father, from our souls,
and relying on you
may we find the wisdom?
to embrace your universal laws.
* St Teresa of Avilla, Spanish, 1513-1582
Lord, rescue us
from gloomy saints!
Let your wisdom rule my entire life,
that I may I gladly minister
where and how you want me to .
Please do not punish me by giving me
the very things I want or pray for.
Let me happily die to myself
that I may better serve you,
and joyfully live in you
who are the only true Life.
Keep watch, dear Lord, with those
who wake, or watch,
or weep tonight,
and give your angels charge
over those who sleep.
O Lord Christ:
tend your sick ones,
rest your weary ones,
bless your dying ones,
soothe you suffering ones,
shield your joyful ones;
all for your love’s sake.
* Based on poem of Piers Ploughman, English, 14th C. AD
Lord, there are beggars who,
even in midsummer
go to sleep hungry,
and who in winter
are poor, wet-shod wanderers;
frozen, famished and foully tested,
yet berated by the rich
who have no time to listen.
O Lord Christ,
comfort your careworn folk
who suffer much
through hunger, drought,
or winter’s woe.
Bless them, Christ,
with your riches.
a summer of happiness.
*Thomas Becon, English, 16 C. A.D.
O Heavenly Father,
thank you for taking care of me
through the past night.
Please show me similar kindness
throughout this new day.
May I neither think, whisper, speak,
nor do anything that is
repugnant to you,
dangerous to myself,
or hurtful to my neighbour.
Rather let me advance your glory
by fulfilling my vocation
and profiting my neighbour.
When you call me from this earth,
may I come home to you
not as son of darkness
but as a child of your Light.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
to St Columba,
I may travel alone
yet I’m never alone,
for you, my God,
are always with me;
there is no need to be afraid
when the Lord of day and night
is always here.
Within your hand
I am much safer
than with an armed band.
*Thomas a` Kempis. 15th C. A.D.
By the grace of your Holy Spirit,
strengthen my inner being,
that I may discard useless worry
and not be waylaid by silly longings
but see clearly the temporary nature
of this passing world.
Give me the prudence to avoid
those who flatter me,
and the patience to bear with
those who contradict me.
Do not allow me
to be moved this way and that
by every gust of words,
nor let me listen
to the smooth talk of any siren.
Let me continue steadfastly on the course
I have begun with you.
* Based on Fénelon, French, 1651-1715
God, I am y our child;
please give to me those good things
for which I am too foolish to ask.
I will not ask for either cushions or crosses,
but simply place myself in your hands.
Look at me;
here are the needs I cannot see
and the faults I do not want to see.
Smite me or heal me,
throw me down or lift me up.
Before you I am silent.
My first desire is to accomplish your will,
and I trust y our loving purposes
without understanding them,
Teach me to pray
and please, loving God,
pray through me.
Through Christ my Lord.
* Thomas Aquinas,
God of all goodness, inspire us
to desire you passionately,
to seek you astutely,
to know you confidently
and to serve you flawlessly,
to the glory of your holy name.
* Abbreviated from Thomas Fuller, English, 1608-1661
Look at me, O God, and deal with my jealousy.
I confess there are times
when I would rather your work not done
than to see another do it better
than I could perform it.
Forgive me, loving God,
and dispossess me of this evil demon.
Please give me humility to learn from others,
not to conceitedly outshine them
but to see more of your will done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
For you name’s sake.
* Based on Michelangelo, Italian,
Lord, enable me to see your glory
in every place.
If earthly beauty sets my soul alight,
then it shall seem a mere candle
compared to your grace.
All I try to do, Lord,
will fail without your aid,
Only your Spiriit can save me;
let it flow through mind and feelings
redeeming that which is corrupt
behind my weak flesh-walls.
* From the “Jasna”, Zoroastrian, about 6th C. B.C.
Lord of Light,
defeat disorder in this house;
may peace triumph over conflict,
generosity over selfishness,
respect over contempt,
true speaking over lying words;
and may right living conquer
the demon of deceit
here in this house.
* St Ignatius
Teach us, good Lord,
to serve you as you deserve,
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labour and not to ask for any reward
save that of knowing we do your will.
*Rabindranath Tagore, Indian, 1861-1941
O Worker of the universe,
we pray to you to let the irresistible current
of your universal energy
come like the impetuous warm wind of spring;
let it come rushing
over the vast field and the life of humanity;
let it bring the scent of many flowers,
the murmuring of many woodlands;
let it make sweet and vocal
the lifelessness of our dried up soul-life.
Let our newly awakened powers
cry for unlimited fulfilment
in leaf and flower and fruit,
* Johan Kepler, pioneer Dutch astronomer, 1571-1630
Thank you, my Creator and God,
for giving me such a delight in your universe,
this ecstasy when I look at your handiwork.
As far as my finite sprit has been able to comprehend,
I have shared with others the glory of your works
and your infinity.
If anything I have said misrepresents you,
of if at any time I have sought my own glory,
graciously forgive me.
Through Jesus Christ my Lord.
* Soren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, 1813-1855
(A composite, slightly adapted)
Lord, you have been patient,
infinitely patient with me.
Yet I have been impatient,
ready to give up and forsake you,
ready to take the easy way out of despair.
I turn to you for peace.
As I receive your peace,
grant me the conviction
that nothing can rob me of it;
neither my foolish earthly desires,
nor my wilder longings,
nor the hungry anxieties of my heart.
Lord Jesus Christ, you have suffered,
and you still suffer,
in order save me.
* Richard of
Most merciful Redeemer,
Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
follow you more nearly,
day by day,
for ever and ever.
* Mechthild of
Lord, it seems you have taken away
all the blessings that I once had from you.
In your grace, please give me now
that one gift which every dog
seems to have by nature—
that of being faithful to you in my distress,
faithful even when all comfort is gone.
This I desire more fervently
than your heavenly kingdom.
* Thomas Traherne, English, ????
I confess to you, O God,
that I do notice other people
yet do not love them enough.
Please, in your loving kindness,
supply my deficiency.
Make me so to love all
that I may be a blessing to all
and please you in all,
that we may be knit together
in godly love
and united in your service.
To you honour and glory.
*Maybe this is from Tukaram, Indian, 17th Century
O Holy One,
wherever I go
you are my companion.
You take me hand
and guide me.
If I’m tired,
I lean on you.
When my load is heavy,
you share it .
I pray with childish delight
and feel your bliss!
Your delight is within me
and around me.
You are a dear friend to me,
and because of that I know
is also a dear friend.
* Adapted from a poem by Robert Herrick, English, 1592-1674
Lord, grant that I may cease
to desire many possessions.
The ones I do have can be cumbersome,
for wealth brings more pain than happiness,
and those with riches become subservient to them.
Henceforth, O God, give or take from me;
I would rather be poor than drowned.
Let me use what I do have for your service,
and be content.
God be in my head,
and in my understanding;
God be in my eyes,
and in my looking;
God be in my mouth,
and in my speaking;
God be in my heart,
and in my thinking;
God be at my end,
and at my departing.
* Adapted from a letter of Teilhard de Chardin,. French Jesuit, 1881-1955.
Deliver us, O God, from the grave ill
from which your church suffers:
to accuse the world of growing morally tepid,
while at the same time we allow the God of the gospel
to grow cold in our rigid hands.
* Based on Caedmon, Northumbrian 6th Century A.D.
Author of all marvels,
we praise you.
Creator of all things heavenly and earthly,
we praise you.
Your power and your wisdom
are everywhere displayed.
You have placed the night skies
to be a roof over our heads,
and the solid and fruitful earth
to be the ground under our feet.
O Father and Guardian of humankind,
we thank and praise you!
* Based on Julianne of
you are all things to us;
you are what we love
and what we enjoy,
what we belong to
and what we serve,
what we desire
and what we intend
Because we are enclosed in you
and you are enclosed in us,
what seems impossible to us
is not impossible to you.
Blessed are you
who makes all things well again.
Too late, have I loved you,
Beauty so ancient ands yet ever new!
Too late have I loved you!
You were within me all the time,
yet I went abroad looking for you.
Deformed, I plunged
among the lovely things you made.
You were with me,
but I was certainly not with you.
I allowed many things to keep me away;
things which without you
would not have existed.
Then you called to me,
you shouted enough to break my deafness.
You shone your light,
flamed and scattered my blindness.
Your Breath was like perfume;
I drew in my breath and panted for you.
I began to taste you,
and hungered and thirsted the more.
You touched me,
and at your touch I burned for your peace.
When I remember this, I find you,
and when I find you, I delight in you–
the holiest of holy delights!
* Inspired by
the Bhagavad Gita,
you watch over our minds
and our five senses—
eye, ear, touch, taste and smell,
and when we enjoy these gifts,
you enjoy them also.
Seekers of harmony,
see you dwelling in their hearts;
but those of enmity,
devoid of wisdom,
though they may strive
they will never see you.
You are the splendour of light,
the scent of joy,
the taste of truth,
and life-giving love.
As perfume on the wind,
so are you among us.
Who could not but love you,
Who could not adore you,
Giver of our five senses?
* I am not sure from where I gathered this prayer. I have an inkling
that it may
have been from the English spiritual director,
Holy Spirit, please penetrate those murky corners where we hide shabby memories
and unsavoury inclinations which we do not wish to see, yet withhold from your grace.
Bring into your light the buried grudge, the smouldering enmity, the cankering bitterness,
those secret fears which sap our energy, and the pessimism which is an insult to your joy.
Loving Lord, we yield these dark things up to your light, that you may cleanse and transmute them into a deeper understanding of others and a deeper love for you.
O Father, help us to know that
the hiding of your face is wise love.
Your love is not fond,
doting and reasonless.
Your bairns must often have
the frosty cold side of the hill,
and must set down their bare feet
among the throns.
Your love has eyes and watches over us;
for our pride must have some winter weather.
* Inspired by
some words of
do not permit us the self-indulgence
of being dominated
by the seasons of our moods.
When our lives are at low tide,
help us to live with the optimism of high tide.
When our hopes seem to diminish like a waning moon,
give us the courage that we display at full moon.
At all seasons
make us people of hope
and purveyors of graciousness.
Through Christ our Master.
* Celtic prayer, from ‘Carmina Gadleica’
The peace of God, our only peace,
the peace of Columba, kindly peace,
the peace of Mary, loving and kind,
the peace of Christ, king of tenderness
the peace of Christ, king of tenderness:
Rest upon each window, upon each door,
upon each space that lets light in,
upon the four corners of my house,
upon the four corners of my bed,
upon the four corners of my bed;
Upon each thing my eye takes in,
upon each thing my mouth takes in,
upon my body made from dust
upon my spirit from on high
upon my spirit from on high.
The peace of God, true earthly peace,
the peace of Christ, king of tenderness:
rest on my body made of dust,
rest on my spirit from on high,
yes, on my spirit from on high.
* Mary Carpenter, social reformer,
pardon our past ingratitude and disobedience;
and purify us,
whether by your gentle or your sterner dealings,
till we have done your work on earth
and you remove us to your own Presence
with the redeemed in heaven.
* Charles Kingsley: Minister, writer and social reformer, 1819-1875
Grant, O Lord God, that we may wait keenly,
as servants standing in the presence of their Master,
for the slightest hint of you will.
May we welcome all truth,
under watehver outward forms it may be a uttered,
and have the grace the grace
to receive new thoughts with gaciousness;
that yours ways are not our ways
and your thoughts not our thoughts.
May we bless every good deed,
no matter who does it,
and rise above part strife and slogans to the contemplation
of your eternal truth and goodness.
O God almighty, you never change;
through your Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.
* Based on a poem by Caryll Houselander, English poet, 20th C.
YOU who set the pulse of the world,
yet live in the shining cloud,
You who come with sandalled feet
and wear the print of nails—
we the redeemed
are your living syllables:
we who are weak, now endure,
we who tremble, are strong,
we who falter, believe,
we who are blind, see,
we who are deaf, hear,
we who are dumb, sing,
we who are nothing, adore!
* Christina Rossetti, English poet, 19th C.
Lord Jesus, open wide the window of our spirits
and fill us with light;
open wide the lockers of our hearts
and fill us with love,
open wide the doors of our minds
that we may receive you
and entertain you
with all our powers of adoration and love.
Bless, O God, my little plot of land,
and the strength with which I’m tilling it,
bless the seed I’m carefully planting,
and the prayers I’m sowing with it.
Bless the seasons that are coming,
and the sunshine and the rain.
Bless the days and shortening nights,
and the hopes of my wee bairn.
Bless, O Father of good giving,
Bless, O Son of redeeming.
Bless, O Spirit of the living,
Bless, O Holy Three all-loving.
* Alexander Pope, English poet, 1688-1744
(adapted from one of his verses)
Speak with me,
Lord, for your servant is listening.
Speak words of encouragement
into my willing ears.
Because my tongue is slow,
while yours exceeds all eloquence,
then speak to me in words
and I shall try to speak to you with my deeds.
For Christ’s sake,
* based on
a letter of the English spiritual
Lord Jesus, save us from over zealous self examination,
from straining and scraping the bottom of our soul.
Let us quietly wait for you to give us glimpse of what needs to change;
and may we then have the faith to follow, be it painful or easy.
Then by your grace, through the faithful practice of what we have,
may we begin to attain that which we are not yet.
For your love’s sake. Amen.
*St Columbanus, Irish missionary to
O beloved Saviour,
show yourself to those who knock,
that knowing you we may love only you,
desire only you, think only of you
and fill our minds with you by day and night.
Awaken within us the fullness of love
that is worthy of your glory.
O God, please take over our complete being
and make it thoroughly yours,
For your name’s sake.
* Inspired by
a sermon of
God you seem so far off because you are really so near. You can come to us helpfully because you are also so far off. You are the One who addresses us, and in so doing you create our true humanity by asking us to make decisions.
Always you are the God of grace, coming into our lives – perhaps especially into our frustrated lives. You share our sufferings, our bewilderment and our despair. In every darkness you kindle a ray of hope.
Oh you who are near are yet so far off, thank you for being so here for us. Whenever we find you near, we rejoice that you bring resources from so far off that we cannot begin to comprehend.
Blessed are you forever!
O Saviour, pour upon me
your spirit of meekness and love.
Annihilate the wilful-self in me;
be my whole life.
Guide my hand which trembles
exceedingly upon the rock of ages.
to an indigenous
Great One, Creator of mother sun and father moon,
we honour you for light that shows us the many shapes
of the land and its creatures.
Let your true light be in our heads and hearts,
that we may begin to see your shape
in both friend and enemy.
* A prayer
Pour upon us, O God,
the spirit of love and family-kindness,
so that refreshed by the dew of your blessing
we may delight in your glory and grace;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
* Based on the
writing of Joan Pulls, Franciscan Sister,
Companion Lord, in what remains of my life,
I want to build, with others, a bit more of your kingdom.
With others I want to experience you
as we walk together towards Emmaus,
have the scriptures open to us
and feel our hearts burning within us.
With others I want to recognise you
in the breaking of bread,
and in our daily
journey through the
of our common lives.
With this hope, with this prayer,
may we travel forward
until our travelling days are done.
in the grey-light of immanent dawn,
I heard you saying unto me:
“Tread gently on the face of the earth,
for it is more fragile thank you think,
Deal kindly with the mighty oceans,
for they are a womb of many mysteries.
Look after the air above and around you,
for, should you harm it,
there will be a curse on your children’s children,
even unto the fourth and fifth generation.”
Holy One, I hear your word.
Please show me how to implement it
within the capabilities and limitations
of my frail yet grace-blessed life.
In the name of Jesus;
* St Teresa of Avilla, Spanish, 1513-1582
O my Lord, what a great comfort it is to me
that you did not entrust the fulfilment
of your will to a person
as fragile as I am!
Blessed be God forever!
Let all things praise you!
If the fulfilment or the non fulfilment of your will
were entirely in my weak hands,
I would have to be perfect.
Nevertheless, although nothing in me
is yet totally free from self-interest,
I give all I have to your service,
freely and gladly.
* Thomas a Kempis,
O Lord, you know what is best for me.
Let this or that be done as you please.
Give what you will, how much you will
and when you will.
For your Name’s sake,
*Adapted from Norman Young, theologian,
Holy One, we rejoice in your creation.
Because of you there is hope and purpose
in the natural and historical processes
and you give some point to our participation in them.
Chance is not the final word,
and you make it worth our while to seek out meaning
and shape our actions accordingly.
You set us free to probe, test and inquire,
to gain knowledge, develop science and technology,
and become careful stewards of the world and its resources.
This is our freedom;
this is our responsibility.
We rejoice in your ongoing creation of all things.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
* John Cosin, Bishop of
O God, please be
a light to my eyes, music to my ears,
sweetness to my taste,
and full contentment to my heart.
Be my sunshine by day, my food at the table,
my repose at night, my clothing in nakedness,
my assistance in all difficulties.
Dispose of what I am and all that I have,
as you think best,
to the glory of your blessed name.
* Inspired by a chapter from Sallie McFague,
Great Friend, slowly (maybe almost too late)
have we come to realise that this whole world is “the house of God.”
Help us to revere creation, but never idolise it;
to cherish it as we
and to be good stewards of all things great and small,
even more than does the Dean of a gothic Cathedral.
Let us seek you within it, glimpse you all around us,
hear your word speaking from its mysteries,
and serve you as we work for its welfare.
Never for one moment permit us to treat things
as “dead matter”
but to honour them as consecrated
by your Creative Word,
by your mothering Holy Spirit,
and by the life-giving love of Christ Jesus.
They who welcome a little child in my name, welcome me. When they welcome me they welcome the One who sent me.
Thank you, God. Thank you, thank ,thank you! I’m on a high about this precious life forming within my body. I cannot stop grinning.
It’s miraculous! So common place on the world stage yet so mysterious and holy for me. You are allowing me to actually share with you in the act of creation. I am a life-bearer, a mother of a life being made in your own likeness. It’s too remarkable for words.
Yet it also frightens me, God. There is no going back now. Things will inexorably take their course.
I must endure a lot of discomfort, and most probably extreme pain, between this present elation and that moment when I shall first look on the face of my baby. Please help me through these following months. Prepare me in spirit as well as in body for the hard times and the good ones in the ministry of motherhood.
With your help, God, I can be a good mother. Thanks for this moment and all the ones that are to come. Amen.
Use me, my Saviour,
for whatever purpose and way you require.
Here is my poor heart, an empty vessel;
fill it with your grace.
Here is my sinful, troubled soul;
refresh it with your love.
Take my heart
for your abode,
take my mouth
to spread abroad your glory,
take my love
for the advancement of believers.
May I never allow
the steadfastness and confidence
of my faith to abate.
sever me from self
that I may be grateful to you.
Let me perish to self
that I may be safe in you,
and die to self,
that I may live in you.
May I whither to self
that I may blossom in you,
be emptied of self
that I may become full of you,
and be nothing to myself
that I may be all to you.
we thank you for the stars with which
you have spangled the raiment of darkness,
giving beauty to the world when the sun withdraws its light.
Yet all this magnificence is but a little sparklet
that has fallen from your Presence.
For you are the Central Fire
and the Radiant Light of all!
and the heavens are but reflections
of your wisdom, your power, and your glory!
We thank you, holy Father for your holy name,
which you have made to live in our hearts,
And for the knowledge, faith and immortality
which you have revealed to us through your servant Jesus.
To you be glory through all ages!.
O miracle of divine goodness!
O flame of zeal, love and joy!
For these our mortal bodies,
You, God, have created all things
visible, material, touchable.
Animals, vegetables minerals,
trees, herbs and flowers,
clouds mists and winds,
dew, rain, hail and snow.
light and darkness, night and day.
springs, rivers, fountains, oceans,
gold, silver and precious stones,
corn, wine and oil,
the sun, moon and stars,
cities, nations, kingdoms,
and the human body,
the greatest treasure of all—
made for each other!
If you give to our bodies
such glorious things,
what then, O Lord,
have you prepared for our souls!