A Prayer by Max Ehrmann. Beautiful century old prayers (June 2020)

Susan’s Thursday morning note June 7, 2018
A Prayer by Max Ehrmann & beautiful century old prayers

Good morning!  Relief of a few moments from wind.  Stillness in the trees.   Little birds hopping all over the backyard without worry of blowing away.  Flowers at rest.  My angel of dawn touches a little wren house and glances in at the disarray of twigs.  Sharing this little joy with me as she arrives at my window encouraging me to begin this day.  To notice the little nests.  To realize that this day is beautiful.  To be thankful for the gift of this sunrise.  Below are favorite prayers of mine to enter each day.  May you find the same beauty as you enter this day.

A Prayer by Max Ehrmann (1872-1945)
Let me do my work each day;
And if the darkened hours of despair overcome me,
May I not forget the strength that comforted me
In the desolation of other times.
May I still remember the bright hours that found me
Walking over the sit hills of my childhood.
Or dreaming on the margin of the quiet river,
When a light glowed within me,
And I promised my early God to have courage
Amid the tempests of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness
And from the sharp passions of unguarded moments.
May I not forget that poverty and riches are of the spirit.
Though the world know me not,
May my thoughts and actions be such
As shall keep me friendly with myself.

Lift my eyes from the heart,
And let me not forget the uses of the stars.
Forbit that I should judge others,
Lest I condemn myself.
Let me not follow the clamor of the world,
But walk calmly in my path.

Give me a few friends who will love me for what I am;
And keep ever burning before my vagrant steps
The kindly light of hope
And though age and infirmity overtake me,
And I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams,
Teach me still to be thankful for life,
And for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet;
And may evening’s twilight find me gentle still.

Sir Jacob Astley, England.  17th Century
O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day; if I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me.

Francois de la Mothe Fenelon, France.  17th Century
Lord, I know not what I ought to ask of Thee; Thou only knowest what I need; Thou lovest me better than I know how to love myself.  O Father!  Give to Thy child that which he himself knows not how to ask.  I dare not ask either for crosses or consolations; I simply present myself before Thee, I open my heart to Thee.  Behold my needs which I know not myself; see and do according to Thy tender mercy.  Smite, or heal; depress me, or raise me up; I adore all Thy purposes without knowing them; I am silent; I offer myself in sacrifice; I yield myself to Thee; I would have no other desire than to accomplish Thy will.  Teach me to pray.  Pray Thyself in me.

Russian Liturgy 10th Century
Grant calmness and control of thought to those who are facing uncertainty and anxiety; let their heart stand fast, believing in the Lord.  Be thou all things to all men, knowing each one his petition, each house and it’s need.

Socrates, Greece.  5th Century B.C.
Give me beauty in the inward soul; and my the inward and the outward be as one.  May I reckon wisdom to be wealth, and may I have so much gold as a temperate man and only he can bear and carry.  This prayer, I think, is enough for me.

Osage Indian Prayer
Here needy he stands, And I am he.

These tears that dim my eyes, this pain that plows my heart, take them, Lord, I give Thee As I give my gaiety.  Only let me keep as mine the blessing that is here: So to others I may always warm with sympathy.

Lucy H.M. Soulsby, England.  Headmistress Oxford High School (1856-1927)
Lord, grant that each one who has to do with me today may be the happier for it.  Let it be given me each hour today what I shall say, and grant me the wisdom of a loving heart that I may say the right thing rightly.  Help me to enter into the mind of everyone who talks with me, and keep me alive to the feelings of each one present.  Give me a quick eye for little kindnesses, that I may be ready in doing them and gracious in receiving them.  Give me quick perception of the feelings and needs of others, and make me eager-hearted in helping them. 

St. Ignatius Loyola, Spain.  16th Century
Teach us, good Lord, To serve Thee as Thou deservest: To give and not to count the cost; To fight and not to heed the wounds; To strive and not to seek for rest; To labor and not to ask for reward, Saving the knowledge that we do Thy will.

If at night when day is done kneeling by your bed, You can only think of Him though no words are said; If in crowds you think of Him Who give you light and air, God will know in His love That you mean a prayer.

Sioux Indian Prayer
Grandfather, Great Spirit, You have been always, and before You nothing has been.  There is no one to pray to but You.  The star nations all over the heavens are Yours, and Yours are the grasses of the earth.  You are older than all need, older than all pain and prayer.  Grandfather, Great Spirit, all over the world the faces of living ones are alike.  With tenderness they have come up out of the ground.  Look upon our children, with children in their arms, that they may face the winds and walk the good road to the day of quiet.  Grandfather, Great Spirit, fill us with the light.  Give us the strength to understand and the eyes to see.  Teach us to walk the soft earth as relatives to all that live.  Help us, for without You we are nothing.

Prayer of the Breton Fishermen, France Dear God, be good to me.  The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Italy.  13th Century
Give me, O Lord, a steadfast heart, which no unworthy affection may drag downwards; give me an unconquered heart, which no tribulation can wear out; give me an upright heart, which no unworthy purpose may tempt aside.  Bestow upon me also, O Lord my God, understanding to know Thee, diligence to seek Thee, wisdom to find Thee, and a faithfulness that may finally embrace Thee.

Christina Rossetti, England.  19th Century
Lord, purge our eyes to see within the seed a tree, within the glowing egg a bird, within the shroud a butterfly.  Till taught by such, we see beyond all creatures Thee, and hearken to Thy tender word, and hear it, “Fear not: it is I.”

Formosan Prayer (Taiwan)
As the fire under the stone floor of my dwelling place burns brightly to warm my house, so may the love of God warm my heart and the hearts of those who step over my threshold.

Sioux Indian Prayer
Great Spirit, help me to never judge another until I have walked in his moccasins for two weeks.

Thank you for letting me enter your Thursday morning.  Tonight we will have the chance to write the moments of our day.  Will we look back and be able to write that we noticed?  That we noticed the squeaking in the trees and looked up to see the little birds?  Will we notice the little flower that has been given the short role on the stage of life to appear in our sidewalk crack to give us beauty?  Will we notice the eyes of our little ones and take the time to look deep into them?  Will we notice the cat purring and stop to hold her?  Will we notice the stars a few moments before we go to sleep to help us put all of our thoughts into perspective when we see the expanse of the skies?  Will we look to the heavens or drop mentally to our knees for the peace that is promised?  Will we notice?  Life.  Beautiful.  Our gift.  Susan