Wednesday, May 13, 2009
a prayer for order
This prayer is from the book out walking by John Leax. This is the prayer we began our Nature class with every session. I thought it'd be appropriate to put up here as I work on the final paper for the class. Plus I really like it. It's an interesting spin on the Lord's Prayer that helps me see its meaning in a whole new light.

Mother of all creatures,
whose dwelling extends beyond this world,
let no one trivialize your being.
Let your order prevail.
Let your intentions come to be
for creation and for yourself.
Give us, each day, no more than we need,
and forgive us when we take for ourselves
the well being of others,
as we forgive others who seek to take ours.
Lead us away from our dreams of power
that we might be whole,
satisfied in you.
posted by Mike Clawson at 10:43 AM | Permalink |


At 5/13/2009 10:10:00 PM, Blogger Laurel

Wow...that's really lovely...thank you for sharing. I'm glad you got to take that class with Bill.


At 5/14/2009 09:02:00 AM, Blogger Karl

A pretty good job of finding equivalent paraphrase for most of the concepts. But I think something is lost toward the end.

Debts/trespasses encompasses more than taking the well being of others. In other words, the author has taken a subset of debts/trespasses and substituted it for the whole concept. Same thing with the concept of "temptation." By listing one particular subcategory of temptation there is again a loss or reduction of meaning. I guess you could more positively call it a narrowing of focus. But to me, part of the beauty of the prayer is the all-encompassing breadth of its focus.


At 5/14/2009 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I don't think it was meant to be a "paraphrase". I think it was meant to be a poem loosely based on and inspired by the Lord's Prayer.


At 5/14/2009 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Karl

For a poem "loosely based on and inspired by" the Lord's prayer, it has a pretty one-to-one equivalence and correspondence to each line/concept of the Lord's prayer. Stylistically it reads more like something out of The Message than like a "loosely based on" riff. But if you say so.

It's a nice prayer.


At 5/14/2009 04:11:00 PM, Blogger Mike Clawson

I say that based not on my own impressions, but on the description of it given by my professor who knows the author personally.


At 5/15/2009 09:35:00 AM, Blogger Karl

In Anglican worship, we have in the prayer book a "collect for grace," a "collect for peace," a "collect for healing," etc. And various other prayers some of which cover multiple topics. As such a prayer for a particular purpose, I see the usefulness and beauty in this one.

But if intended to be (like the Lord's prayer) a catch-all or overarching prayer to use every day as if "that covers all the essential bases in at least a general manner" it seems to lack sufficient breadth, as would an evangelical prayer prayed every day in which we ask for protection against and forgiveness for specific subcategories of temptation and sin that conservative evangelicals are especially concerned to avoid, if such a prayer was prayed before the beginning of every gathering without variation. Maybe it wasn't intended to be used as a "that covers the bases" catch-all like the Lord's prayer, even though loosely based on it. If not, then great and none of the above really applies. Even if it was so intended I'm not conndemning the author or the prof who used it, just observing and commenting.


At 5/15/2009 10:45:00 AM, Blogger Mike Clawson

Yeah.... I'm so not liturgical. The whole idea of a "catch-all" prayer that would be inclusive enough to pray every single day just sounds crazy to me. I don't think such a thing could exist, nor can I fathom why I would want it to. I mean, the Lord's Prayer is nice and all, but I can't see it covering every single situation. I'm all about the diversity.


At 5/15/2009 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Karl

Isn't that kind of what the Lord's Prayer is? Not that it was intended to be recited like a rote formula nor to suggest we only pray that way, in exclusion of more specific and varied prayers. But I have a hard time thinking of something specific that one would pray, that wouldn't also be covered by one or more of the broader categories mentioned in the Lord's Prayer.

As much as I like the idea of liturgical devotion, I rarely use the prayers in the Book of Common Prayer either, although many of them are beautiful. I have a few other books of written prayers, too. One Orthodox, one Puritan and one that draws from a bunch of different traditions. Plus at least a couple of Richard Foster's Renovare' books that contain many written prayers from varied traditions and centuries. As helpful as all of those and the Lord's Prayer itself can be, I still tend more toward variety and (most often) extemporaneous and specific prayer. Probably a result of my low church protestant upbringing.


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