Praying in the Fullness of Joy
"You pray in your distress and need; would that you would also pray in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance."- Kahil Gibran, The Prophet
We pray when we will, but so often the will to pray is dependent upon desperation. That is not a bad thing if our desperation is one of constant longing for connection with the God who first thought of us and formed us. that sort of desperation is what Solomon alluded to when he said, "He hath set eternity in our hearts."
That is not, however, often the case. Ours is a desperation for temporal things and an avoidance of the negative consequences of emergencies.
Neither are emergencies all bad if growth is what emerges.
When prayer is so oriented, we begin to pray out of joy and abundance.
A Prayer by Clement XI
Lord, I believe in you: increase my faith.
I trust in you: strengthen my trust.
I love you: let me love you more and more.
I am sorry for my sins: deepen my sorrow.
I worship you as my first beginning,
I long for you as my last end,
I praise you as my constant helper,
And call on you as my loving protector.
Guide me by your wisdom,
Correct me with your justice,
Comfort me with your mercy,
Protect me with your power.
I offer you, Lord, my thoughts: to be fixed on you;
My words: to have you for their theme;
My actions: to reflect my love for you;
My sufferings: to be endured for your greater glory.
I want to do what you ask of me:
In the way you ask,
For as long as you ask,
Because you ask it.
Lord, enlighten my understanding,
Strengthen my will,
Purify my heart,
and make me holy.
Help me to repent of my past sins
And to resist temptation in the future.
Help me to rise above my human weaknesses
And to grow stronger as a Christian.
Let me love you, my Lord and my God,
And see myself as I really am:
A pilgrim in this world,
A Christian called to respect and love
All whose lives I touch,
Those under my authority,
My friends and my enemies.
Help me to conquer anger with gentleness,
Greed by generosity,
Apathy by fervor.
Help me to forget myself
And reach out toward others.
Make me prudent in planning,
Courageous in taking risks.
Make me patient in suffering, unassuming in prosperity.
Keep me, Lord, attentive at prayer,
Temperate in food and drink,
Diligent in my work,
Firm in my good intentions.
Let my conscience be clear,
My conduct without fault,
My speech blameless,
My life well-ordered.
Put me on guard against my human weaknesses.
Let me cherish your love for me,
Keep your law,
And come at last to your salvation.
Teach me to realize that this world is passing,
That my true future is the happiness of heaven,
That life on earth is short,
And the life to come eternal.
Help me to prepare for death
With a proper fear of judgment,
But a greater trust in your goodness.
Lead me safely through death
To the endless joy of heaven.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Universal Prayer by Alexander Pope
Father of all! In every age,
In ev'ry clime ador'd,
By saint, by savage, and by sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!
Thou Great First Cause, least understood,
Who all my sense confin'd
To know but this, that Thou art good,
And that myself am blind:
Yet gave me, in this dark estate,
To see the good from ill;
And, binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the human Will.
What Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to do;
This teach me more than Hell to shun,
That more than Heav'n pursue.
What blessings thy free bounty gives
Let me not cast away;
For God is paid when man receives;
T' enjoy is to obey.
Yet not to earth's contracted span
Thy goodness let me bound,
Or think thee Lord alone of man,
When thousand worlds are round.
Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume thy bolts to throw,
And teach damnation round the land
On each I judge thy foe.
If I am right, thy grace impart,
Still in the right to stay;
If I am wrong, O teach my heart
To find that better way.
Save me alike from foolish Pride
Or impious Discontent,
At aught thy wisdom has denied,
Or aught that goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's woe,
To right the fault I see:
That mercy I to others show,
That mercy show to me.
Mean tho' I am, not wholly so,
Since quicken'd by thy breath;
O lead me whereso'er I go,
Thro' this day's life or death!
This day be bread and peace my lot:
All else beneath the sun
Though know'st if best bestow'd or not,
And let Thy will be done.
To Thee, whose temple is of Space,
Whose altar earth, sea, skies,
One chorus let all Beings raise!
All Nature's incense rise!
God of hope in the midst of explosive sounds around us, may we refuse to be broken by breaking news.
May we only be broken by Your tender touch upon our hearts and the brokenness of those for whom You are broken.
In our own brokenness, may we not be shaken.
As we are dismantled by time and circumstance, may we be reassembled as a people who are useful in your mission of healing and grace.
May we remain pliable and reliable, gracious and sweet even when the world around us is filled with bitterness and the stench of decay.
We would be all that we can be and more that Your reputation for putting people together would continue to be a testament of grace and possibility.
May our doing of the distasteful and necessary, somehow be transformed into prayer that drudgery might become symphony and monotony might be incorporated into the larger score, orchestrated into the whole, pulse constant, conducted my the maestro and integrated into something magnificent.
We are not washing dishes and cleaning toilets.
We are participating in something grand!