How shall we pray?

November 15, 2012

This prayer in someways reflects the famous Prayer of John Wesley

But Wesley’s prayer is focussed on the sanctification of self. Wesley’s story is closely entwined with the story of the enlightenment, the emergence of the self as primary and the cult of individualism. That’s not to say his prayer isn’t a good one to pray.  But at this end of the story, with hyper-individualism and hyper-selves predominant as much in both secular and christian culture, we need to ask how to pray beyond the self. The liturgies and traditions of the ancient faith have always looked beyond the one, to the many, to the world.


How shall I pray for you today?

For something to come, or to go away?

Something to stop or something to start?

Shall I pray for your head, your body or heart?

Something to heal or something to break?

Some rest for your spirit or to spark you awake?

For your ears to be open or tongue to be bold?
For the dare of the young or the wisdom of old?

How shall I pray for the world today?
For something to fall or something to stay?
Something to be loosed or something to the bound?
For steel of the city, or green of the ground?

Shall I pray for our science or pray for our songs?
Pray for our rights, or pray for our wrongs…
Pray for our stocks or pray for souls
Pray for our failures or pray for our goals
Something to be more, or something be less?
Something too ordered, something a mess?

How shall I pray for us all today?
Shall I pray black-and-white, or shades of grey?
something more clever, or something naive?
something worth doubting, and something to believe?

Pray we be emptied, Pray we be filled?
Revivalled like Wesley, or like Luther-King killed?

Pray ‘power and glory – our God reigns on high’
or ‘washbowl and towel – our God came to die’
Pray ‘glory and honour – our God reigns above’
or ‘thorn, gall and cross – our God came to love

One comment

  1. Deeply challenging, Beth. It is hard to get our churches to pray beyond themselves, beyond the one, to the many, to the world. Definitely worth a try tho. Thanks.
    BTW my sermon last week, “It may not be convenient, but let it be”. I talked of Mary in ways I hadn’t before. Helped by Marcus Curnow’s Revolutionary Hail Mary Prayer on his blog (called The People’s Table) You’d like that. Strength to your pen.

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