Universalis, your very own breviary in pixels...

Friday, 2 October 2009

Don't get me wrong, I LIKE poetry....

... and I don't think the word of our prayers to the Triune God or to those nearest and dearest to Him should have the rhythm and feel, oh heck... the flatness and banality of a request for a side of mayo with those fries.

I want prayer to be beautiful and poetic, the words rich and evocative, and even, (ineffably?:oP) unusual.

But Lord save us from facilitator-speak!
"Teach me to focus on every detail."
"Help me befriend today as the best way to love God."

There seem to be a great cloud of persons with dominion over the printing presses and photocopiers who take their language cues either from self-help articles in mass market women's magazines with a new-agey feel, (or rarely, but occasionally, from trade journals for teaching pre-school teachers how best to communicate with their charges.)

And they are the ones composing our corporate prayer it seems.
I know I have railed before about the particular, er, I mean general intercessions.
"For the XXXXs and expecially Y, that..."

Why Y? why him especially?
Yeah, sure we may know Y personally, but what is that to God?
Wouldn't it be better to pray "For Y, and for all the other XXXXs..." reminding us that we personally know someone going though some trial but thre are faceless millions if not billions more undergoing the same trial with no one to pray for them, to whom we owe just as much love?
For that matter how do you know, composer of the Prayer of the Faithful, or lay reader directing us for whom and for what to pray that those faceless unknown are faceless and unknown? Perhaps when you want me to pray "especially" for Y, I want "especially" to pray for my cousin Z who is, unknown to you, in the same predicament.
For a while our Prayer of the Faithful was coming off the ticker on CNN, "For the 7 farmers in Mongolia who...., the NATO leaders meeting at..."

But even worse is the "O Lord, for so-and-so, (so far so good) that thus-and-such,"so that we not only present the Almighty with our concerns, but then proceed to give Him advice on what WE think He ought to do about them.

And most jarring of all, like the bad old devotional waltzes and ballads of yesteryear and the smarmy religious crooners ditties of today, many prayers lack diffidence and display an excess of affect in their expression that makes them unsuitable for corporate prayer.

I found myself recently reading, "rattling off," I could say, as part of a "ritual," with several hundred others, a long rambling prayer that went, in part, ""Teach me how to pray. Sometimes I am speechless and don't know what to say. Often I simply rattle prayers of others or count on rituals to please you. Help me get in touch with my heart."

You do the math...

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