Never having been a particularly good pray-er, I am grateful for any assistance to help my prayer life.
When my grandson prayed before a meal (as we all did at one time) one of those blessings children learn when parents aren’t in the room (Good food, Good meat, Good Lord, Let’s eat), my son-in-law, Thorne Barrett, a wise man, suggested maybe we could raise the bar a bit higher than that.
Here are some of my favorite prayers that raise the bar and say some of what I think needs to be said.
The Serenity Prayer
- God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
- the courage to change the things I can, and
- the wisdom to know the difference. (Composed by Reinhold Niebuhr, adapted by Alcoholics Anonymous and other Twelve Steps Groups)
The Lord’s Model Prayer
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
Brief but Potent Prayers from the Gospels
“I believe. Help my unbelief.” Mark 9: 24
“Lord, save me.” Matthew 14: 30
“God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Luke 18: 13
Day by Day (from Godspell)
Day by day, Oh Lord, day by day,
Three things I pray,
To see thee more clearly,
To love thee more dearly, and
To follow thee more nearly,
Day by day.
Help. Thanks. Wow – Anne LaMott’s summary of the essential prayers and the title of her book on prayer
I am weak but thou art strong;
Jesus, keep me from all wrong;
The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, harmony;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Selections from Psalm 51:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy steadfast love.
According to thy abundant mercy, blot out my transgressions…
Teach me wisdom in my secret heart…
Fill me with joy and gladness…
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit in me.
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
A Hymn, by Isaac Watts (based on Psalm 90: 1-5)
O God our help in ages past, our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy past and our eternal home.
Before the hills in order stood, or earth received her frame,
From everlasting thou art God, to endless years the same.
A thousand ages in thy sight are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night before the rising sun.
Be thou our guard while life shall last, and our eternal home.
An Irish Benediction
May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind blow at your back,
May the sun shine warmly on your face,
May the rains fall softly on your fields.
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.