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Avoiding Hypocritical Prayer

Getting ready for church this morning and contemplating what I will be praying for and I am reminded of this quote:

“There is something deeply hypocritical about praying for a problem you are unwilling to resolve.”

Miroslav Volf

Prayer has never been easy for me, I am less of a spiritual person than you might think. But I do take seriously the matters of the mind/spirit and their connection. So prayer for me has always had a strong contemplative element, and I don’t like to ask for things so I have not been a pray for “something” guy. But I go to a Sunday gathering of believers expecting to be challenged and to spend some time evaluating my thoughts and actions. So today, the things on my mind are:

  • The violent death of 20 people in El Paso and 10 in Dayton.
  • Our addiction to war and violence – how many people will die around the world today because of violence/war?
  • Do I really care for the poor? I don’t know many by name.
  • How can I rid myself of latent racist ideas, do I have any friends of color?

There will probably be more evocative issues raised in worship and by the pastor this morning. I need to make my prayer more fitted to action.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi

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