Save a Prayer
Young People's Prayers by Percy R. Hayward may have been published in 1945, but it speaks to me still, despite my not being all that young anymore. But hey, with today's bratty, self-absorbed society, ideals intended for teens half a century ago probably still haven't sunk in with the twentysomethings and beyond of present day. Sure they're funny, but damn if they're not relevant to the sinners, complainers and obsessors of the world like me.
This book is so out-of-control specific, there are prayers for nearly all of life's quandries such as "I Have Lost My Job," "Save Me from Hating People," "On the Coming of Vacation" and "Save Me from 'The Blues.'" The following were written with me specifically in mind, I swear:
God of the ages, I come unto thee in penitence for the time that I have lost.
For the hours spent in aimless talk on small things while the high themes of the universe had to wait.
For the messages of lesser value that I take unto myself from the press and the radio and the screen.
For the time that I waste because it is not planned, or is planned for a shortened purpose.
For my selection of music and pictures and friends that fall short of the best.
For my unwise choice of books.
For my idle thoughts that regard not the things that are lovely and of good report.
For these, my Lord, I come in penitence to thee.
Through my resolute creating of a new plan for a wise use of time, grant me an awareness of thy forgiveness for time lost. Amen.
Grant unto me, my Lord, the courage and the wisdom to leave unsaid the things that I can only whisper.
Hold back my lips from uttering things so vicious or mischievous that they could not be proclaimed upon the housetops.
Save my heart from thoughts that can be uttered only behind the hand.
Touch me with such understanding of other people's struggles and virtues that I shall never say anything about them in a corner.
Spare me, O Lord, the atmosphere of critisism and suspicion that is finally overcast with the shadows of secrecy.
And grant me this boon of the spirit through my joyous concern about things so varied and so great that there can be no room in my heart for gossip. By the vasteness of thy world, let my mind be cleansed.
In the name of One who knew what was in the heart of man. Amen.
Save me, my Lord, from petty and foolish tinkering with myself.
Purge me, O God, of too much concern about what is going to happen to me.
Grant me the cleansing grace of being able to lose myself in absorbing and joyous work.
Turn the mirrors of my self-contemplation into windows opening upon the wide vistas of they world.
Save me from being a fuss-budget about small slights and petty personal offenses. Make me too great to bear a grudge, too interested in large things to harp constantly upon what is trivial, too wisely and humbly sure of myself to take offense.
Thus, teach me the meaning of the ancient wisdom that only he who is willing to lose his life in interests larger than himself can find and nurture his true self. His name. Amen.
Lord, keep me from straying into the futile and foolish bypaths of life.
Hold me back when I would pursue the will-o'-the wisp of surface fame.
Stay my feet when they would wander into the alluring ways of comfort and ease.
Steady my vision and nerve my will, O God, when I look down the bypath of sensual pleasure and would choose it as my own.
Grant that I may not wander on the winding trails that go with bitterness of spirit, maliciousness of mind, and cruel sharpness of speech.
Save me from the purposeless paths of giddy and foolish pleasures.
Keep me back from the devious byways of prejudice and jealousy, of paralyzing envy and foolish spite.
Thus wilt though hold me from the futile byroads of prejudice and jealousy, of paralyzing envy and foolish spite.
Thus wilt thou hold me from the futile byroads that daily beckon me away from the single pathway of thy purpose.
In the name of Him who in the hour of his temptation resolutely spurned each byway of life. Amen.
God of all peaceful and patient minds, I come unto thee with this my prayer that thou wilt steady my temper.
Calm thou the hot impulses of my heart.
Ease the fever of my blood and the uncertainty of my nerves and muscles.
Grant me the patience of the long look and of the careful plan.
Show me where my anger is rooted in my indolence or short-sightedness.
Vouchsafe unto me the wisdom to plan my life according to they holy laws of physical strength and soundness, wherein are found peace and courage and self-control.
Lift me, O God, out of my selfish absorbtion in my own small daily concerns. Show me the kingdoms of they world–the needs of the poor, the sufferings of mankind, the uncompleted temples in the city of thy will being builded in the hearts of men.
Thus make me too great for my petty anger.
In the name of Him who though reviled, reviled not in return. Amen.