I have recently become a fan of Richard Beck’s blog Experimental Theology. He recently published a post where he shared a prayer from Every Moment Holy that he particularly enjoyed. Shamelessly, I am going to steal that idea. Here are a few prayers that are on my heart from two books I am using right now. Enjoy.
From Every Moment Holy: Volume I – A Liturgy Before Consuming Media
O Discerning Spirit, who alone judges all things rightly, now be present in my mind and active in my imagination as I prepare to engage with the claims and questions of diverse cultures incarnated in the stories that people tell.
Let me experience mediums of art and expression, neither as a passive consumer nor as an entertainment glutton, but rather as one who through such works would more fully and compassionately enter this ongoing, human conversation of mystery and meaning, wonder and beauty, good and evil, sorrow and joy, fear and love.
All truth is your truth, O Lord, and all beauty is your beauty. Therefore use human expressions of celebration and longing as catalysts to draw my mind toward ever deeper insight, my imagination into new and wondering awe, and my heartbeat into closer rhythm with your own.
Shape my vision by your fixed precepts, and tutor me, Holy Spirit, that I might learn to discern the difference between those stories that are whole, echoing the greater narrative of your redemption, and those that are bent or broken, failing to trace accurately the patterns of your eternal thoughts and so failing to name rightly the true condition of humanity and all of creation.
Grant me wisdom to divide rightly, to separate form from content, craft from narrative, and meaning from emotion. Bless me with the great discernment to be able to celebrate the stamp of your divine image revealed in an excellence of craft and artistry even while grieving a paucity of meaning or hope in the same work.
Guard my mind against the old enticement to believe a lie simply because it is beautifully told. Let me not be careless. Give me right conviction to judge my own motives in that which I approve, teaching me to be always mindful of that which I consume, and thoughtful of the ways in which I consume it. Impart to me keener knowledge of the limits of my own heart in light of my own particular brokenness, that I might choose what would be for my flourishing and not for my harm.
And give me the grace to understand that what causes me to stumble might bear no ill consequence for another of your children, so that while I am to care for my brothers and sisters, I must also allow them, in matters of conscience, the freedom to sometimes choose a thing your Spirit convicts me to refrain from. Even so, let my own freedoms in Christ never be flaunted or exercised in such a way as to give cause for confusion, temptation, or stumbling in others.
May the stories I partake of, and the ways in which I engage with them, make me in the end a more empathetic Christ-bearer, more compassionate, more aware of my own brokenness and need for grace, better able to understand the hopes and fears and failings of my fellow humans, so that I might more authentically live and learn and love among them unto the end that all of our many stories might be more beautifully woven into your own greater story. Amen.
From Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle – It Would Be Easier to Pray If I Were Clear
O Eternal One, it would be easier for me to pray if I were clear and of a single mind and a pure heart; if I could be done hiding from myself and from you, even in my prayers.
But, I am who I am, mixture of motives and excuses, blur of memories, quiver of hopes, know of fear, tangle of confusion, and restless with love, for love.
I wander somewhere between gratitude and grievance, wonder and routine, high resolve and undone dreams, generous impulses and unpaid bills.
Come, find me, Lord. Be with me exactly as I am. Help me find me, Lord. Help me accept what I am, so I can begin to be yours.
Make of me something small enough to snuggle, young enough to question, simple enough to giggle, old enough to forget, foolish enough to act for peace; skeptical enough to doubt the sufficiency of anything but you, and attentive enough to listen as you call me out of the tomb of my timidity into the chancy glory of my possibilities and the power of your presence.