Wednesday, 9 July 2008


A friend recently sent the following prayer:


O God, to end war;
For we know that you have made the world in a way
That man must find his own way to peace
Within himself and with his neighbor.
We cannot merely pray to you, o God, to end starvation
For you have already given us the resources
With which to feed the entire world
If we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to you, o God,
To root our prejudice,
For you have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all men
If we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to you, o God,
To end despair, for you have already given us the
Power to clear away slums and to give hope
If we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to you, o God, to end disease,
For you have already given us great minds
With which to search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.
Therefore, we pray to you instead, o God,
For strength, determination and willpower,
To do instead of just to pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.

Jack Riemer

What I like in particular about this prayer is that it recognizes that God's grace, 'falls both on the good and the bad'. Acknowledging this gift and sharing it with others makes the difference. God provides us with all that we ever need. God does not judge our worth or condemn our wrongdoings, God only desires that we live life to the full, everyday minute of the day. We merely have to let go of our ego and trust that he will provide exactly what we need, when we need it. Nor does God hold back his gifts – everything is supplied in abundance and in excess of our needs. The only thing that we lack is the ‘eyes’ to see and the ‘ears’ to hear his response to our requests.

We never have to pray or ask in vain. Instead of saying "God will you please do this or that" we merely have to thank him in advance for what we are about to receive.

The greatest obstacle in prayer seems to be DOUBT! To help us break the habit of doubt we must avoid all language which suggest that God’s gifts are given on an arbitrary or conditional basis. For example we often state official prayers in terms of “that God may . . . . ” or “may he grant . . . .” etc. as though our requests are subject to his scrutiny or dependent on certain conditions. Nothing could be further from the truth. Scripture clearly states “ask and you will receive” it does not say ‘maybe’! And, Jesus said ‘”when you pray and ask for something, believe that you have already received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”

Rabbi Riemer’s prayer is that kind of positive prayer. It shifts the responsibility for our actions, or lack thereof, clearly onto our shoulders. This prayer accepts that God has already given us the wisdom, resources, power, hope, minds, etc. to do what needs to be done – we merely have to ask God for strength, determination and willpower to act justly and constructively.

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