Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sunday Sabbath Poetry: A Prayer for Concluding Prayers

One of my regular spiritual disciplines is to spend time in silent prayer after lunch every weekday. I have always struggled to find a time "set aside" specifically for stillness, quiet, and prayer, as mornings are out of the question and evenings invariably find a way to intrude with alternatives. But since I spend much of my time each day during the week reading or writing in my office at home, often eating lunch there alone, I discovered early last semester that committing to daily prayer after lunch was both a good idea (spiritually) and a realistic idea (practically).

My praying often takes different forms, whether meditative, intercessory, freewheeling, or whatever. One constant, however, has developed entirely organically, and to my happy surprise: a sort of fixed concluding prayer to close my time in prayer as a whole. Unwritten, pieced together ad hoc as various phrases and petitions came forth naturally, it has coalesced into something like a set liturgical denouement -- even to the point of crossing myself when I end with the triune name, something I had never done before but just felt fitting one afternoon, and which I have continued ever since.

As I have with other similar compositions, I thought I might share this prayer for prayers' concluding for whatever benefit others might gain from it. Enjoy.

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A Prayer for Concluding Prayers

Speak to me, Lord;
help me to listen;
make me to hear your voice.

Let me come to know you as you are,
O God of infinite and perfect love --
you who made the sun and the stars,
and came near in Christ.

Forgive me my sin,
and deliver me into new life.

Free me
from the fear and the power of death.

Make me your servant,
faithful to the way of Jesus.

For I do believe, Lord;
help me in my unbelief.

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

1 comment:

  1. Your post brought to mind a similar experience I am having:

    It may seem strange, but I have recently found that my new job provides an excellent time for silent prayer. I spend very little of my time (even when reading academic books & journals or writing) truly alone, usually I work in a room with others either a library or in a shared living/office space at home.

    My new job is a digitization job downtown for the library and 90% of the time I am doing rote labor which requires very little active attention. It is also performed in a small basement room entirely to myself. It has been such a gift to be able to have just a bit of silence and stillness in which to work, and while working pray. I had forgotten how rote work can lead to meditation which with a little scripture to chew over can lead to very satisfying and rejuvinating prayer.

    I find myself looking forward to work as a time when I can empty myself of any anxieties or resentments or preoccupations and just be open to God's presence. It keeps me from getting too easily swept away.