Category Archives: prayers

Who Doesn’t Pray?

Who of us, however faithful or faithless, doesn’t pray in a moment when the lump on the breast turns out to be malignant? Or in another moment when an officer calls to report an accident in which a loved one has been critically injured?

Who of us doesn’t pray at the birth of a child? Or at the death of a parent? At the Bar Mitzvah of a son or at the wedding of a daughter? Who of us doesn’t pray when a radio bulletin tells a nation its president has been shot or when a television broadcast tells a community that one of its children has been kidnapped? Who of us doesn’t pray when the young men and women of our country are sent into battle? Or when a baby has a temperature of 106?

Who of us doesn’t pray then?

Some prayers are wept in the foxholes of life; others, whispered in the serenity of a spring day. Some are spoken in innocence; others in repentance. Some, in faith; other in doubt.

Prayers are as diverse as the people who pray them, but together they reflect a universal longing for God. – Ken Gire, Between Heaven and Earth

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A Deposition on Vices, St. Augustine

Pride imitates loftiness of mind, while you are the one God, highest above all things. What does ambition seek, except honor and glory, while you alone are to be honored above all else and are glorious forever? The cruelty of the mighty desires to be feared: but who is to be feared except the one God, and from his power what can be seized and stolen away, and when, or where, or how, or by whom?

The caresses of the wanton call for love; but there is naught more caressing than your charity, nor is anything to be loved more wholesomely than your truth, which is beautiful and bright above all things.

Curiosity pretends to be a desire for knowledge, while you know all things in the highest degree. Ignorance itself and folly are cloaked over with the names of simplicity and innocence, because nothing more simple than you can be found. What is more innocent than you, whereas to evil men their own works are hostile?

Sloth seeks rest as it were, but what sure rest is there apart from the Lord? Luxury of life desires to be called plenty and abundance; you are the fullness and the unfailing plenty of incorruptible pleasure.

Prodigality casts but the shadow of liberality, while you are the most affluent giver of all good things. Avarice desires to possess many things, and you possess all things. Envy contends for excellence: what is more excellent than you? Anger seeks vengeance: who takes vengeance with more justice than you?

Fear shrinks back at sudden and unusual things threatening what it loves, and is on watch for its own safety. But for you what is unusual or what is sudden? Or who can separate you from what you love? Where, except with you, is there firm security? Sadness wastes away over things now lost in which desire once took delight. It did not want this to happen, whereas from you nothing can be taken away. – Augustine, Confessions

Why Do People Pray?

on prayerSince the dawn of time people have prayed for all kinds of reasons and to all kinds of deities. They have prayed to Amon Ra, the Egyptian sun God, and to the pantheon of petty and capricious gods of the Greeks and Romans. Some have prayed to the earth; others to the sky. Some have prayed to Ball, the Canaanite deity; others to Yahweh, the God of the Old Testament. Some have prayed to Allah; others to Jesus. Some have prayed to a “higher power”; others to patron saints. Some, to angels; others to Mary, mother of God.

And though the object of their prayers differs, sometimes dramatically, the subject of their prayers doesn’t. Not substantially, anyway. Regardless of their faith, or lack of it, all people seem to realize the tenuousness of their humanity and their dependence of someone or something greater than themselves. – Ken Gire, Between Heaven and Earth

The Hand of God in All

Helen Steiner Rice poemIn everything both great and small

We see the hand of God in all,

And in the miracles of spring

When everywhere in everything

His handiwork is all around

And every lovely sight and sound

Proclaims the God of earth and sky

I ask myself “Just who am I”

That God should send His only Son

That my salvation would be won

For Jesus suffered, bled, and died

That sinners might be sanctified,

And to grant God’s children such as I

Eternal life in Heaven on High.

– Helen Steiner Rice

Showers of Blessings

Helen Steiner Rice poemEach day there are showers of blessings

Sent from the Father above,

For God is a great, lavish giver

And there is no end to His love –

His grace is more than sufficient,

His mercy is boundless and deep,

And His infinite blessings are countless

And all this we’re given to keep

If we but seek God and find Him

And ask for a bounteous measure

Of this wholly immeasurable offering

From God’s inexhaustible treasure –

For no matter how big man’s dream are,

God’s blessings are infinitely more,

For always God’s giving is greater

Than what man is asking for.

A Morning Prayer

sunrise over a mountainCreator Spirit, who broodest everlastingly over the lands and waters of the earth, enduing them with forms and colours which no human skill can copy, give me today, I beseech Thee, the mind and heart to rejoice in Thy creation.

Forbid that I should walk through Thy beautiful world with unseeing eyes.

Forbid that the lure of the market-place should ever entirely steal my heart away from the love of the open acres and the green trees.

Forbid that under the low roof of workshop or office or study I should ever forget Thy great overarching sky.

Forbid that when all Thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face.

Let they energy and vigour which in Thy wisdom Thou hast infused into every living thing stir today within my being, that I may not be among Thy creatures as a sluggard and a drone.

And above all give me grace to use these beauties of earth without me and this eager stirring of life within me as a means whereby my soul may rise from creature to Creator, and from nature to nature’s God.

From John Baillie’s A Diary of Private Prayer (1949)

Taken from Reflections on the Word by Ken Gire