September 24, 2017
I am not comfortable praying in public or even in front of my family. Are there prayers that might help me?
A great resource for anyone, especially Episcopalians, is the Book of Common Prayer, (BCP). There are, of course, prayers all throughout the Book. But an easy place to locate prayers by topic is provided toward the end of the book, beginning on page 814 and is entitled, oddly enough, Prayers and Thanksgivings (this is the place to find the prayer attributed to St. Francis). In this section, there are prayers For the World, The Church, National Life, Social Order, The Natural Order, and a grab bag called Other Prayers.
Yesterday, at the Third Sunday Forum, the Rev. Bill Myers, who was speaking on his year of mindfulness recalled for all of us a prayer from the BCP which encourages us to be mindful and he still uses that prayer. It is in the section of Other Prayers (BCP), sub-section, Grace at Meals on page 835, and reads as follows:
Give us grateful hearts, our Father, for all your mercies, and make us mindful of the needs of others: through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
We can do a whole lot worse than the above prayer when asking for God's grace upon the meal we are eating.
Bill Myers has been praying for a while, but he first learned this prayer at his dinner table and still uses it. Praying through prayers we already know can help us to encounter the Spirit in and through the words in ways that we cannot when praying extemporaneously. For that reason, glance through this section of the BCP when you have a moment, or make a moment, to find some helpful prayers that you will likely say again and again. Like Bill, the prayer will become a part of your vocabulary, especially your spiritual vocabulary, and you can modify its words for the occasion. Once a journeyer is at that point, the prayer is yours, as well as part of so many others what have prayed throughout the centuries.
For those of you, carrying-on or beginning being mindful, here is a prayer from this section of the BCP that has been helpful to me setting when setting my mind in the way of God (from page 832-For Quiet Confidence):
O God of peace, who has taught us in returning and rest we shall be save, in quietness and confidence shall be our strength: By the might of your spirit lift us, we pray you, to thy presence, where we may be still and know that you are God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
With that start you can be well on your way to public praying, or at least saying Grace at meals with your family.
The Rev. David Lucey