Skip to main content

Prayer for Today

by Peter Bishop

If I had a prayer that I were going to recite on a daily or weekly basis, what would it say?

The question came to me recently when I heard “A Prayer for Today,” written by Phillips Brooks.  He was an Episcopalian theologian in the 19th century, best known for having written “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”  The prayer was sort of a riff on the Lord’s Prayer, and like the Lord’s Prayer, it gave a laundry list of a dozen or so of what the author felt are the most important things in life.  There were parts of it I liked a great deal, other parts less so, and of course it had to conclude “in the name of…our only…” because Christians—even the most liberal of them—seem to feel they cannot honor that one manifestation of the Divine without putting down all the others.

But never mind that.  Hearing it got me thinking, if I were to write my own ‘prayer for today’ to bring before the Gods or to hold in the Light, what would I ask?

Cat and I have had an occasional practice over the summer of Quaker worship on the front porch in the mornings.  Often I will find myself writing out of the silence, and on one such morning I came up with this:
I ask STRENGTH to meet the tasks at hand,
REST, that I may come to each day’s tasks renewed,
DISCERNMENT to see where I am led,
PERSPECTIVE, to leave be the problems it is not given me to fix,
Photo of Peter Bishop. Taken by R. Flynn, used by permission.
GROUNDEDNESS, to know and to own my wants and desires,
A SWEET TEMPER, to not mind small annoyances,
CONFIDENCE IN MY RESOURCEFULNESS, to not fear change and upheaval,
LOVE, that love may be the first motion in all of my actions and the first thought in all of my interactions,
BELIEF IN THE GOODNESS OF PEOPLE, and also…
HONESTY, to call them on their bullshit, to set appropriate limits, and to take wise precautions, and
CLEARNESS, to speak truths directly, with neither rancor nor hesitation.
ALL THIS I ASK of God, known by many names of old and by many names today, and known also in the places in which there are no names or words.
AND TO ALL OF THIS I PLEDGE MYSELF, steady as rock, lively as hope.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bears Eat My Lettuce

I love where I live;  since moving to our new home four years ago, I've been able to build a relationship with a piece of land for the first time since I was a child.  It's everything a dirt-worshipping Pagan could ask for.  I have a garden, and I grow much of my own food, and that is as much a spiritual delight as a taste treat.  And I have woods again as neighbors: glacial boulders, white pines and black birches, owls and white-tailed deer.

And bears.

And the bears eat my lettuce.



I'm not kidding about that.  Oh, it's winter now, and the bears are huddled up in their dens.  But this past spring, I grew lettuce.  Award winning, gorgeous lettuce: three different kinds!  They were nourished to extraordinary size and succulence by the cool, wet weather we had, and each night, I would gather just a few outer leaves, knowing that careful tending would mean tasty salads for months.

And then, over the course of three days, the bears ate every single one of my lettuce plants…

The Saturday Farm

I love Saturdays.

I have come to think of the work that I do on Saturdays as "farming."  Now, I know it isn't farming--not really.  We have a medium-sized vegetable garden and two dogs, and that's not a farm, by any stretch of the imagination. 

But I keep thinking of a comment Joel Salatin made in Yes Magazine once, about how Americans have become used to thinking of our homes as centers of consumption, but how once, thinking of your home as a center of production (typically, a farm, for most of us for most of our history) was the norm.

And between trying to live with less plastic junk and trying to eat more sustainably and locally, Saturdays at home have become very productive days.  And that productivity--the willingness to substitute patience, skill, and thrift for consumption--I've come to think of as a species of farming.  (My apologies to actual farmers, whose work I increasingly appreciate.  But thinking in this way works for me, somehow.)

First thing this…

On Activism and Ordinary Acts

One of the dangers of being Quaker--or Pagan--is a privilege at the same time.

Quakers and Pagans share a somewhat counter-cultural view of our society.  In slightly different ways, most Quakers and most Pagans believe that human society is flawed in bitterly destructive ways that must be confronted and changed.  We look out at a world burdened by the selfish exploitation of whole nations of human beings, and of the ecosystem itself, and we know that things as they are are not OK.

The privilege and the danger that arises from this is that of associating with activists.

It's a privilege, of course, to have a chance to be inspired by those who are willing to risk imprisonment or even death to be faithful to their spiritual convictions.  This inspirational force is excellent for warding off complacency and the kind of internal self-congratulation that degrades possessing a moral compass into mere spiritual materialism and self-worship.

When I have done some small thing outside the no…