“Keep on praying and guard your prayers with thanksgiving.” — Colossians 4:2
“When you call me and come and pray to me, I will listen to you.” — Jeremiah 29:12
- I listened to a podcast the other day and the host mentioned that repeating others prayers has been a practice of the church since it’s inception. Growing up in my pentecostal tradition, that statement irritated me just wee bit. My mentors growing up always encouraged me to pray personal spontaneity led by the Holy Spirit rather than reading a prayer that was someone long dead had written as their response to God. Those of a more liturgical background that had set prayers seemed so insincere coming from my pentecostal roots.
- When Jesus taught us to pray during the sermon on the mount, he emphasized that we should never pray to be noticed by the crowd (Matthew 6:5) or to repeat mindless words as some of the pagan religions of the time (Matthew 6:7). He then said pray in this manner, and gave us the Lord’s prayer as our example.
- While my tendency has been to shy away from “constructed prayers,” I now do appreciate that prayers that have been carefully word-smithed have deep meaning and can keep alive traditions and perspectives that link us to our historical roots and heart of those saints of God that lived centuries before me.
- One of the prayers that I would love for you to meditate upon, church tradition tells us comes from St. Francis of Assisi. Read it slowly, and then pray back to the Lord the parts that he might impress upon your heart.
- This is often referred to as the Franciscan Benediction
- May the Lord God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships, so that we may live deep within our hearts.
- May God bless us with anger at the injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
- May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain of rejection hunger and war, so that we may reach our our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
- May God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do with others claim cannot be done, to bring justice and kindness to all her children and poor.
- Peace be with you