Tag Archives: prayer

on god’s sweet leash

Tichvine Mother of God Russian late 17th century Egg Temperua on wood panel with gold leaf Detail 2

i breathe god in and breathe god out
eat god and shit god
drink god, piss god,
taste god, smell god, sweat god, hear god
see only god

god weaves through me and whispers me
god boils my blood and cools my voice

my walk is god’s, my hands are his,
my eyes are hers, my lips belong to it,
my mind treads the mysterious paths
of gods, goddesses, allah, angels
and of those gods who lie,
crossless, prayerless,
enshrined in science and in emptiness

i breathe god in and breathe god out
and like a little poodle
i walk along on god’s sweet leash

this poem is dedicated to my friends n. and a.  it came to me as i was waking up this morning. and then i went to my first quaker meeting.

prayer to be simple

when i was in germany, i picked up a slim little book of poetry, die gebete der demut (prayers of humility) by french poet francis jammes.  he lived from 1868 to 1938.  the poetry foundation says about him that he was

… best known for his poetry of the natural world, in which he praised the simplicity of country life. his literary standing has always been difficult to categorize; blandine m. rickert wrote in the encyclopedia of world literature: “jammes, who has been referred to as a symbolist, neosymbolist, or naturiste, never belonged to any systematic school of poetry. he always was only himself, in the process creating jammisme, which embraces but one guiding principle, ‘the truth that is the praise of god.’ it is innocence, simplicity, and humility; it extols the beauty of the native soil and the virtues of family life; it is adoration of god and love of all he created.” jammes’s poetry counters french literary tradition, so often associated with highly rarefied, intellectual poetics.

for today’s national poetry writing month exercise, i thought i’d do a translation.  yes, i know, it’s a translation from the german translation into english so i’m sure i don’t do francis jammes justice – but it’s enjoyable nevertheless.  i get a lot out of translation – it really brings me deep into the poem.  so here we are:

prayer to be simple

the butterflies, they wave about,
surrendering to every breeze
like petals strewn by gentle children on a path.
my god, it’s early morning and already
my prayer wants to lift itself to you
with all the blooming butterflies,
the crying roosters in the barn,
and with the crushing beat of the old stonecutter.
under the sycamores with their green palm fronds
you can hear – and cannot see – the crickets:
they sing of your might without end.
the blackbird, restless in black watery leaves
sings a few phrases. she dare not twitter any longer.
she does not know what stirs her fear. gives up
and darts up, quick, in one full swoop
straight through across the ground, away to where
no-one abides.

my god, so gently start again our lives, another morning
like yesterday, like many times before.
just like these butterflies, these stonecutters,
the crickets who live by the sun,
and like the blackbirds who are hiding in the cool dark
with the leaves;
let me keep living, god, my life,
as simple and as modest as i can.

sunday inspiration: peace for afghanistan

here is a beautiful prayer, sent by my mennonite friends who work in afghanistan. even though the elections are over, it still very much applies.

for the people of afghanistan

god of love and life,
we pray for the people of afghanistan during this election time.
may your peace descend upon them and upon their nation.
may there be food and safety and schools for children.
may there be dignity and respect for women.
may there be meaningful work for men.
may there be wisdom for leaders.
may there be a laying down of weapons.
may there be reconciliation between enemies.
may there be restoration for the land.
god of life and love,
may your peace descend upon afghanistan.
amen.

this is also a shout-out to my friend sojourner’s
sunday inspirations.

image source

recovering from addiction: a prayer

a prayer by someone dealing with addiction:

an image that goes with prayer

dear higher powers:
thank you for another day of life.
help me to walk closely with you today.
work through me so that i may better help others.
help me when i am weak. help me to reach out to your unending strength.
help me to remain hopeful and inspired.
help me to be humble in dealing with my ferocious disease.
help me to remember where to turn for help.
help me to get over myself and reach out to others for help.
and help me to remember what a magnificent being i am, that each and every person is your child, worthy of the utmost respect, that i don’t own anybody, that nobody owes me anything and that i live in a caring, abundant world.
help me to create more harmony, peace, serenity, joy, security, and love.
help me to freely give all these things and find them in return.

(image by alicepopkorn

prayer

there’s a new web site, prayer 2.0, with an interesting discussion regarding different ideas about prayer. my reply turned out to be quite long so i figured i’d simply post it here. one contributor said this, among other things:

in my mind, “pray” is something you do when you don’t want to do anything yourself. it is a way of unshouldering responsibilities …

another problem with prayer is that it is not about conversation: prayer is one way. it is an odd sort of monologue, in that it is subservient, but it is still soliloquy. it has none of the back and forth that characterize reason.

here are my thoughts:

prayer, as it is conceived in various traditions, is very multifaceted. at its most basic level, it is engagement with a benevolent other-than-ego, non-corporeal other. (how’s that for theological mumbo-jumbo? i hope the next words will shed a bit of light).

what form that engagement takes and who that other-than-ego is – well, that’s an interesting question.

let’s take two extremes. feeding monkeys on your birthday to ensure prosperity is a form of prayer: “hey big power, i need/want more money, i’m doing what your priests have told me, so let’s make it happen!”

on the other extreme, there is work as prayer and the buddhist metta or loving-kindness meditation, in which we ask, among other things, for good things to happen to our adversaries.

in the first instance, we have a desire for something that is not essential, and we try to persuade whatever forces “out there” to get it for us. that would come close to what you described as shirking responsibility.

mother teresa saw her work as prayer. few people would call that unshouldering responsibility.

whether there is a god or not, prayer focuses. for example, when i make an effort to ask for good things for my enemy, next time i meet that person, i will be more inclined to act kindly towards that person.

deep prayer is often more like a conversation. it is engagement with god – whatever/whoever god is/stands for. and there is absolutely nothing that says that prayer has to be without reason. i think that’s a misconception by people who are under the mistaken assumption that god is only the the very limited god that is being talked about in some christian churches.

but god, or the concept of god, is much, much bigger than that. he/she/it/they ranges/range from the very human gods as, for example, envisioned by the hindu gods, to the immanent human goodness envisioned by some unitarian universalists – and anything in between. i don’t think it’s useful to judge spiritual practices only by what happens in one form of practice of one religion.

(this post can be found on the carnival of life, happiness and meaning)