I stumble around the web quite a bit…what else would a blogger do, right?…reading a good bit and writing as much as my muse will inspire me to…
Hey! Back there in the back! Yeah…YOU! That’s enough about my having a muse who is in remedial training! She works cheap!
…anyway, regular readers will already know that P-Dub over at The Pioneer Woman is one of my favorite bloggers. I find inspiration there…both from a “what to write about” perspective and on the backside of blogging…the nuts and bolts of a successful blog.
Anyway, I was over at TPW yesterday and read a post of hers titled simply “Cowboy’s Prayer”, and it got me to thinking about prayers in general, and I discovered something I hadn’t realized.
While I know a number of prayers, from the glory and majesty of “The Lord’s Prayer”…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy Kingdom come,
thy will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory. for ever and ever. Amen
…to a simple recitation of a small child’s dinner blessing…
God is great, God is good.
Let us thank him for our food.
By his hands, we are fed.
Let us thank him for our bread.
…to the prayer…and plea, really…recited at every AA meeting I have ever attended…
God grant me
the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference;
Living one day at a time;
Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
Taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it:
Trusting that you will make all things right
if I surrender to your will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with you forever in the next.
(Note: AA groups usually use only the first verse of the Serenity Prayer.
…they have all been a “group” sort of prayer.
I know, I know…before y’all jump on me, I know all those prayers can, and have been, said from one individual talking with God…but the most common setting for each is among other like-minded folks…in church, at the dinner table, and at an AA meeting.
One-on-one prayers that I am familiar with are…SURPRISE!!!…the ones between me and God, and believe me, there is not a lot of style in them. I’m usually in a jam of some kind and they usually begin, “Hey Big Guy…got a sec? I’ve got a problem down here…”, followed a little (or a lot) later with, “Hey Dude…thanks. I really appreciate that help.”
Obviously I’m not a poet.
Anyway, the prayer over at TPW got me to thinking. A couple of the most moving, most uplifting, and yes, most poetic prayers I have read or heard were what I would call “workingman’s prayers”. Both were likely written in the middle of someone just doing their job, and taking a short break to admire God and His works.
The Cowboy’s Prayer
O Lord, I’ve never lived where churches grow;
I’ve loved creation better as it stood
That day you finished it, so long ago
And looked upon your work and called it good.
Just let me live my life as I’ve begun!
And give me work that’s open to the sky;
Make me a partner of the wind and sun
And I won’t ask a life that’s soft and high.
Make me as big and open as the plains;
As honest as the horse between my knees;
Clean as the wind that blows behind the rains;
Free as the hawk that circles down the breeze.
Just keep an eye on all that’s done and said;
Just right me sometime when I turn aside;
And guide me on the long, dim trail ahead
That stretches upward towards the Great Divide.
I don’t know about you folks, but reading that puts in stark relief why the west…cowboy country…is called “big sky country”, And God’s country to many a cowboy.
The other “workingman’s prayer” is one I’ve heard all my life. I was raised as the son of a 26 year lifer Air Force officer who flew fighters in WWII and Korea. He loved to fly, and it showed. It danged near killed him when the Air Force told him he was too old to fly anymore and took his wings away.
I don’t know where he first heard this prayer, but it was a favorite of his, and always has been a favorite of mine.
(Note: When you read the last line, no matter where you are or what you are doing, reach out your hand. You can do it too. We all can.)
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds – and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of – wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious, burning blue,
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew –
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
So far as I know, the Cowboy Prayer’s author is unknown. In my imagination he was a cowboy sitting beside a campfire after a long day in the saddle tending to the herd.
High Flight was written by Capt. Gillespie Magee, a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He had volunteered for the RCAF when World War II became inevitable, and was in training to be a pilot. He wrote the poem that was a prayer on the back of a letter to his parents while on a flight in England where Canada sent pilots for training.
He was killed in an airplane crash on December 11, 1941, two weeks after writing the poem.
Pilot Officer Gillespie Magee
No 412 squadron, RCAF
Killed 11 December 1941
So, do YOU have a favorite “workingman’s prayer”? If you do, why not go down there at the bottom (in with the tags and catagories) and click on the “comments” link and share it with us?
- How God Answers Prayer (inchristus.wordpress.com)