A Prayer for Death

We tame the Lord’s Prayer. We have to, so it isn’t nearly as disturbing to us as an incautious reading would reveal. Certainly it is a comfort. We use it for everything. It is often the first prayer we learn in worship and frequently the last to escape our lips. Routinely, we use it to conclude church meetings. That may be a misuse, the prayer being more radical than a mere way to clear out the room, but I’ve done it too. Continue Reading »

Silence

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a New York magazine report on Whisper, the latest in social media. Whisper users post their updates, secrets, and statuses anonymously. Other users can “heart” or reply. User stats aren’t public, but the company says it gets over 3 billion page . . . . Continue Reading »

Three Prayers

I rarely pray to Christ. His sacrifice was so perfect, it’s far beyond my ken. I’m one of those who have denied Him thrice but take His bread and wine, then say amen. I pray three ways, first to the Holy Ghost in charge of poets who would serve the Lord, then to St. Michael, head of . . . . Continue Reading »

More About Prayer Books

Not long ago, and I’m sure you remember it as if it were yesterday, I wrote about my search for the perfect prayer book. Help Help Help, &c. Well, God and reader Ed P. have heard my cry. Ed P. writes: . . . I commend to your consideration the “Monastic Diurnal” published by . . . . Continue Reading »

On Prayer and Prayer Books

Anne Lamott wrote once that prayer boils down to saying either Help Help Help or Thank you Thank you Thank you. The description’s accurate enough, as I have some reason to know, and as a default mode for prayer, I guess a person could do worse. To believe in God to begin with, and to believe that . . . . Continue Reading »

How to Pray

As a Catholic growing up in the years before Vatican II, I knew very few Protestants, much less evangelicals, even though I lived in Kentucky and southern Indiana, heartland of Protestantism, and not the Episcopalian variety. As a matter of fact, until I went to college, there were no blacks and not a single person I would have been able to identify as Jewish among my acquaintances. Such was the status and class separation of the 1950s, an outcome of the hermeticism of middle-class life of that era. Continue Reading »

Halfway Through the Hail Mary

A Methodist friend of mine has always been puzzled by the emphasis Catholics place upon ready-made prayers. She considers recourse to the Hail Mary to be little more than prayer on autopilot, the rote droning of words learned and memorized as children. How, she wonders, can it possibly produce an . . . . Continue Reading »