All writers in Op Ed are here to inform and acknowledge issues of importance to our communities, however these writings represent the views and opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Advertiser.  

By Blaney Pridgen

My beliefs about prayer and its practice have changed throughout my lifetime.  Now I mostly just conjure up things in the presence of God, which I believe would make me a little bit more tolerable to myself and to others.  Thinking about this, with the Lord of my life listening on, hopefully helps me realize a better self than I might otherwise be.  I call them manifestations more than answered prayers… manifestations of sparks and whiffs of the imagine of God in which we all were created and are continually recreated, that is if we truly want to be.  I want to be most of the time.  

Pondering other people’s prayers helps me pray in this way.  I try them on like used clothes to see if they fit.  Following is a prayer by Max Erhmann, which I tried on when my manifestations were worn out or no longer fitting so well.  His prayer fit me like a second skin.  I have been giving it the old holy mumble almost everyday now for over a month.  I believe this prayer is making me more tolerable to myself and to others.  Maybe it will be helpful to you too:

Let me do my work each day;

and if the darkened hours

of despair overcome me, may I

not forget the strength

that comforted me in the

desolation of other times. May I

still remember the bright

hours that found me walking

over the silent hills of my

childhood, or dreaming on the

margin of the quiet river,

when a light glowed within me, 

and I promised my early God

to have courage amid the 

tempest of the changing years.

Spare me from bitterness

and from the sharp passions of

unguarded moments.  May

I not forget that poverty and

riches are of the spirit.

Though the world know me not,

may my thoughts and actions

be such as shall keep me friendly

with myself.  Lift my eyes 

from the earth, and let me not

forget the uses of the stars.

Forbid that I should judge others

lest I condemn myself.

Let me not follow the clamour of

the world, but walk calmly

in my path.  Give me a few friends

who will love me for what

I am; and keep ever burning

before my vagrant steps

the kindly light of hope.  And 

though age and infirmity overtake

me, and I come not within

sight of the castle of my dreams,

teach me still to be thankful

for life, and for time’s olden

memories that are good and

sweet; and may the evening’s

twilight find me gentle still.

If we are feeling particularly miserable, cranky, and helpless these days, this prayer might manifest in us an answered prayer for someone else.  They may have prayed that we become more tolerable.  Then that’s as good as it gets… becoming the answer to someone’s prayer.  What goes around comes around.  We might also become tolerable to ourselves.  Manifest a spark and kindle a fire.