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prayer

Prayer for when we mess up

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Psalm 51:10-12, Ignatius Bible


I mess up.

All the time.

Each time is a temptation to beat myself up. I do this very well from much practice.

Over the last couple of years I’ve tried, instead, to pray this prayer or others like it; I find it better to invoke God’s help to change rather than to just try harder on my own.

King David messed up big time; I mean BIG time (read about it in 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12). Psalm 51 records his prayer after being called out on it.

I need these words in my heart and on my tongue; maybe you do, too.

Grace and peace to you…

dw

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
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attention Other Writings Pages on Poetry prayer

Praying – a poem by Mary Oliver

Praying

It doesn’t have to be
the blue iris, it could be
weeds in a vacant lot, or a few
small stones; just
pay attention, then patch

a few words together and don’t try
to make them elaborate, this isn’t
a contest but the doorway

into thanks, and a silence in which
another voice may speak.

— Mary Oliver, Thirst


I first encountered Mary Oliver and this poem when reading Common Prayer, the book I mentioned in last Friday’s post. I was an immediate convert.

  • Does this poem change your thinking about prayer?  In what ways?
  • Are there things that seem to block you from praying? What are they?
  • How would you like prayer to be for you?
  • Take time to write down your thoughts…and consider reading them aloud to God…in prayer.
Grace and peace to you…
dw
Photo by dw

p.s. Notice she’s talking again about paying attention, a growing theme for us (see this, quoted from her book Upstream; see also Wednesday’s post where I emphasize it’s importance in living out our faith.)


More about prayer

Click below to see other posts on the theme of prayer:

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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