Yesterday I was leading a class for Zeitgeist Atlanta and one of the participants shared an amazing song by a musician named Spencer Lajoye, called the “Plowshare Prayer.” It is profoundly beautiful, and I’ve had it on repeat for pretty much the rest of the weekend. Check it out — here’s a video of a live performance of the song (you can also find it on Spotify or download it from Amazon or Apple).
It reminds me of a prayer I wrote last year called “General Intercessions.” When I wrote it, I posted it on Patreon, and this morning I thought it’s time to share it with everyone through the blog. Maybe these two prayers can flow together. I’ll let you decide. In any event, I hope you enjoy them and may each of them be an invitation for your own prayer.
O Divine Lover, Creator, Healer, and Life-Giver,
I offer these prayers to You — on my behalf, the behalf of those I love, and indeed for the sake of the entire world.
I pray for all the quiet people, those who may be shy, or introverted, or simply have little to say; those who prefer to stay in the background, doing simple work on behalf of their family or others they love, who shun the spotlight and avoid the grand gestures.
I pray for all the so-called ‘good Christian people,’ the churchgoers, the committee members, the ministry volunteers, the pillars of the local community who give so much of themselves and often ask or receive very little in return, who do it only for the joy of giving.
I pray for the artists, innovators of every type imaginable, from the obvious ones like painters, poets, fashion designers, musicians, and dancers, to the less visible creators, the event planners, the mechanics, the athletes and graphic designers, indeed everyone who creates something new.
I pray for the farmers and gardeners, the salt-of-the-earth types who know the soil and the rhythms of the seasons, who seek not so much to dominate nature as to partner with it, who take joy in the ordinary labor of tending the land and cultivating the bounty by which so many are fed.
I pray for nerds and the freaks and the geeks, the cosplayers and convention-goers, the ones who know all the stories and often weave new stories of their own, who seek meaning and purpose in the myths and legends of our time, who find community and insight in the tales we all enjoy.
I pray for those who suffer with addiction, whether it be the brutalizing terror of alcohol or drug dependency, or the slow anxiety of over-spending or compulsive gambling, or the hidden shame of pornography obsession — indeed for anyone whose lives are constrained by compulsion.
I pray for the inhabitants of the underworld places, the prostitutes, the drug dealers, the escort service providers, the peepshow performers and the strip club dancers, the victims of trafficking, and also for those who spend money to purchase their “services” or who profit from these.
I pray for the angry people on social media, the arguers, debaters, trolls, inflamers, who get caught up in emotional whiplash and shouting-match debates, who forget our common humanity and common quest for knowledge and simply insist on attacking all whose views differ from their own.
I pray for political and religious extremists, for those who become locked in their views and values and ways of seeing things, who can only regard those who differ as enemies or victims or dupes, who lose sight of the horror of violence and begin to entertain the idea that force is good.
I pray for the queer folks, the gay and lesbian and bisexual and pansexual persons, for transgender and nonbinary persons and all whose sexuality or gender takes them outside the neat lines of mainstream social convention, and for those who simply are asexual by choice or chance.
I pray for those who benefit from social privilege, whether by virtue of their skin color or gender identity or physical sex or socio-economic status; and I pray for those who suffer because they lack such privilege, as well as those who work hard to dismantle all divisive privileges.
And I pray for the forgotten people, for those whom I have forgotten to pray for, today or any day, as well as those who have no one to pray for then at any time; the homeless, the elderly, the abandoned, the runaways, the sick, the dying, the feeble and the forlorn.
I pray for all these, and in all cases my prayer is the same: bless us as we need to be blessed, heal us as we need to be healed, convict us as we need to be convicted, transform us as we need to be transformed, and strengthen us to love — to love You, to love ourselves and to love our neighbors and our enemies, so that we may allow You to work through us to repair our beautiful broken world.