Our Father

Prayers for the Sacred Scared

For all of us who get up and go out into the world each day, quaking sometimes, fearless other times ..   I bring simple words, the kind you write in the midst of travel---again. The kind you write when you have stood up in front of a lot of people over the last months and you still don't quite know why . . . When people have listened to what you say and write, and you still don't quite know why . . . .  and when more lies before you.

I am going now to a conference, the best of its kind---The Festival of Faith and Writing (Grand
Rapids, Michigan.)  To hear some of the brightest writers I know of. Famous people. Smart people. (But not all are such. I am speaking too.) I may write about them, about what happens when you gather 3,000 people from around the country and beyond who love words, books, poems, plays, stories, God and one another.   

                                           Jeanne Murray Walker

Here are two prayers for us, for all of us who crawl from our beds each day to go out into the world, scared yet faithful enough to speak a word of good, of truth, of love, of Christ, toward another. A prayer for anyone who falters; for anyone who does not trust her own words; for anyone who trembles with her own unworthiness. For anyone who has seen into her own heart and found darkness there and pride. For anyone who believes that God Himself can yet overwhelm us with His Spirit and shine light through our inky blackness.  

Here, this prayer,

From Bishop Daniel A. Payne, an African-American AME clergyman from the 19th century.

Lord, You know my weakness;
be my strength.

You know my ignorance,
be my wisdom.

Teach me,

that I may not be a blind leader of the blind,
but a scribe well instructed about the kingdom of God.

Oh, let not the people see me;

let them see You in Your vesture dipped in blood!

Let not the people hear me;

let them hear You in your voice of saving truth!

adapted from The Faithful Preacher: Recapturing the Vision of Three Pioneering African-American Pastors

And this one I write now, in this shuttle on the way to the Festival:

Our Father

Who dwells in heaven
(And here in the hearts of those you are vanquishing),

May Your Kingdom come. 
May mine come undone--- 
     every work of my hand,
     every word from my tongue
     that towers and babbles against you.

May we live now as in heaven--- 
That all we do, 
Every story, thought wrestled into word
 Fulfills your will, speaks into being
     The presence and nowness of You.

Sustain us while we are here each day.
Give us bread, water, love,
      and friends of the soul to share the way.
Lead us not into ambition.
Deliver us from enslavement. 
And we ask this because, 
The only Kingdom that exists is You,
The only life-giving Power is You.
The only radiant Glory Is You,
Now and Forever, time unending, 
ever unfolding,