The Curmudgeon Considers Prayer

How often do we implore God to give us that which has already been given, and in abundance? I’m struck by that question each morning when I come to a little responsive prayer in our Daily Office that seems to ask of God what is already ours, and I wonder if God, sounding a lot like Jackie Mason, doesn’t’ shrug his shoulders in near disbelief and say, “Alright, already, I gave it to you! Pick it up and use it dummy! What’s your problem?”

Grant us your salvation: Haven’t we already got that pretty well established in Christ?

Clothe your ministers with righteousness: The clothes are in the closet, put them on!

Give peace in all the world: Everything needed for peace is ours already, it’s just that we like war better.

Guide us in the way of justice and truth: And what would that guidance look like if not the gospels and prophets?

Let your way be known on earth: Is that the same thing as saying something like, “Lord, I’ll just sit here in my study while you go out and do some work spreading the news about you. Let me know when you’re done.”

Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten: “There are some needy people our community God, or at least so I’ve heard. Someone really ought to remember to do something about that I hope you will not let them forget to do it.”

Nor let the hope of the poor be taken away: I’m astounded that we actually pray this while engaging in deliberate political and economic policies that often trample the hope of the poor while, at the very same time, we extol how anyone can make it in America if they just try hard enough.

Create in us clean hearts, O God: OK, there is one thing God has not yet done.

6 thoughts on “The Curmudgeon Considers Prayer”

  1. We do need a \”board upside our heads\” at times. I would count myself as one who thinks they are observant, all the while letting too many of God\’s gifts lie fallow in my being.Thanks curmudgeon – you are an a.m. person aren\’t you?!!!

  2. AMEN, now let\’s all get on to the work.HUMMMMMMMMMMM, we could start with the work of the ecumenical faith communities\’ work on sustainability in all aspects of our life together.

  3. what if the clean heart is already there and it\’s just covered up with a bunch of old gunk that we are disinclined to get out of the way?i am reminded of a quote from the late john o\’donohue which speaks of a place deep within, untouched and pure. a clean heart, perhaps?but, yep that asking for stuff we have already been given in abundance, what\’s up with that?

  4. Sorry, but I can\’t agree. Even if we have all that stuff lying around, waiting for us to put it to good use, we can\’t do a thing with them without God\’s prevenient grace. At least that\’s what I read somewhere. :-)And I look upon the use of the passive voice in these preces as including me. So \”Let not the needy, O Lord, be forgotten\” means, in part, \”God, don\’t let me forget the needy.\” And so on…

  5. Thanks all for for some great conversation. I\’ve been a little out of commission the last few days and may not get around to offering more of my profundity for a day or two more. Let me just say that the prayer for \”create in me a clean heart\” has an entirely new meaning for me. And, thanks be to God, it looks like He did.CP

  6. the irony of the timing of this post certainly did not pass me by :-)glad to hear your curmudgeonly comments, that\’s for sure!!!

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