I believe in spontaneous prayers and carefully crafted prayers. Both can be equally earnest and heart-felt. It is true that some small-souled people resort to written prayers because their own hearts are without a song. But the reason I have produced some written prayers is that my own spontaneity tends to degenerate into familiar repetitions. We’ve all heard of the anti-liturgical Baptist deacon whose prayers are as predictable in their “spontaneous” phraseology as any prayerbook. I find that writing prayers now and then enriches my spontaneous prayers. We need to take time to think about what we say. Writing helps.
About eight years ago I became dissatisfied with my sometimes banal meal time prayers. They were all very similar, of course. So I said, “If meal time prayers are almost always the same, why not craft some which really say something significant?” So I wrote a prayer for each meal. Now, eight years later, we can all say them in unison as a family. They have meant a lot to us! I’d like to share them with you.
Our Father, every day you give
The food by which our bodies live.
For this we thank you from our heart,
And pray that as we this day start,
You might allow our eyes to see
Your endless generosity.
And grant that when we thus are filled
We may do only what you’ve willed.
We’re grateful, Father, for this hour
To rest and draw upon your power,
Which you have shown in sun and rain
And measured out to every grain.
Let all this food which you have made
And graciously before us laid
Restore our strength for these next hours
That you may have our fullest powers.
How faithful, Father, is your care!
Again, as always, food is there.
Again you have set us before
A meal we pray will mean much more
Than single persons filled with food;
Let there be, Lord, a loving mood.
And as you make our bodies new
Come now and feed our oneness, too.
Praying with you,