The Help Me Prayer

Friday, August 20, 2010

Devotional Classics's section on prayer just introduced me to Lancelot Andrewes (1555-1626 . . . when guys were named Lancelot). He was, "one of the outstanding figures in the history of the Anglican church." Apparently, he inspired the poet T.S. Eliot so much that he wrote a book about Andrewes and began his poem, Journey of the Magi, (the first five lines) with a quote from one of Andrewes's sermons.

Just so you don't think I'm quoting a big fat nobody here.

Anyhow, Lancelot wrote many personal prayers - ones he never intended to publish. I felt honored to read them, and was drawn to one paragraph in particular. I have broken it down, because I think each line is so good. I think it is worth memorizing and repeating every day:

Help me to show honor and submission to those who have been put over me.
Help me to show affection and care for those who have been put in my charge.
Help me to overcome evil with good.
Help me to be free from the love of money, and to be content with what I have.
Help me to speak the truth in love.
Help me to be desirous not to lust, or to walk after the lusts of my flesh.

This seems like a prayer that can apply to all seasons of life. There is almost always someone "over us" - outside our control and making decisions that impact our lives. We may have different people in our charge: children, aging parents, students, strangers. Evil abounds, and it is hard to be good. Will we ever be content with what we have? Can we ever master the art of speaking the truth in love? There will always be something to covet.

So it seems that I will always need help, and I'm glad I will be in the company of Lancelot when I ask for it.

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2 Responses to “The Help Me Prayer”

  1. Cut. Paste. Print. Tape to bathroom mirror. Read daily. Follow.

  2. Cut. Paste. Print. Tape to bathroom mirror. Read daily. Follow.