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Pages on prayer Prayers

A Prayer when parting

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you : wherever he may send you;
may he guide you through the wilderness : protect you through the storm;
may he bring you home rejoicing : at the wonders he has shown you;
may he bring you home rejoicing : once again into our doors.

Claiborne, Shane. Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (p. 50). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

My better half gave me this book for Christmas a few years back –

Cover of the book Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

Working through it for a year was a profound experience for me. It introduced me to new perspectives on community, compassion, even church history. It’s where I first encountered the “become all flame” quote from the writings of the Desert Fathers; in that sense, it inspired this very blog (though I didn’t know it then).

I particularly like this prayer from the daily Morning Prayer devotion. It sparks my imagination of what family or community could be – a daily “sending off” with blessing and the longing to be together again, rejoicing in all that God has done.


  • Is being sent off with such prayer and blessing a part of your experience?
  • What does this prayer bring up for you, personally?
  • I encourage you to write out what you are thinking. It makes you pause and opens up space for new, fresh thoughts to spark.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Categories
attention

Mary Oliver on ‘Attention’

Something is wrong, I know it, if I don’t keep my attention on eternity.

Attention is the beginning of devotion.

Mary Oliver, Upstream

I love Mary Oliver’s poetry and now am coming to love her prose as I read her book of essays Upstream.  In these two sentences from the first chapter, she seems to focus on at least part of the antidote for the problem posed by the quote from Thomas Merton last week.


  • I think what we pay attention to is what seems most important to us at any given moment.  What do we find ourselves paying attention to and what does that tell us about the things we value most?
  • How do we cope with keeping ourselves focused? How do we avoid constant distraction?
  • Are we as perceptive as Mary Oliver, knowing something is wrong when our attention strays from eternity?
  • Write down the things that you pay attention to. Which ones are ‘keepers’, things you definitely want to keep front and center? Which are definitely distractions? Are there some that are in between? What are they?

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Photo by dw

Categories
Other Writings the real self

Thomas Merton on the ‘real self’

I consider that the spiritual life is the life of [one’s] real self, the life of that interior self whose flame is so often allowed to be smothered under the ashes of anxiety and futile concern.

— Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

In these few words Merton has spelled out the scope of this blog:

  • the ‘real self’ God made us to be;
  • how to find it;
  • and how to fan it aflame amid the ashes of our lives.

It boils down to what I have come to believe is the good news of the Gospel:

Following Jesus leads us from our fake selves to our real selves,

from living in our heads to living from our hearts,

from advancing our own agenda to receiving the gift of His,

from thirsting for the next transient thrill to drinking deeply of eternal life.


  • What do you think of the notion that each of us has a ‘real self’ that God loves and nurtures?
  • To what extent do you feel in touch with your real self?
  • What are the ashes in your life that hinder your real self from emerging and thriving?

I encourage you to consider writing out your answers, either in a journal or in the comments section (as others have done).

Grace and peace to you…

dw