In Prayer We Ask . . .

Photo by Anne

Many years ago I came across a book, When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold S. Kushner. In it was a prayer by contemporary theologian, Jack Riemer, Likrat Shabbat. The prayer was one of the most memorable I have ever read, and I made a copy of it and have carried it in my wallet ever since. I periodically pull it out and reread it every now and then when I forget its message.

We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end war;
For we know that you have made the world in a way
That man must find his own path to peace
Within himself and his neighbor.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end starvation;
For You have already given us the resources
With which to feed the entire world
If we would only use them wisely.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God,
To root out prejudice,
For You have already given us eyes
With which to see the good in all men
If we would only use them rightly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end despair,
For You have already given us the power
To clear away slums and to give hope
If we would only use our power justly.
We cannot merely pray to You, O God, to end disease,
For You have already given us great minds with which
To search out cures and healing,
If we would only use them constructively.
For strength, determination, and willpower,
To do instead of just to pray,
To become instead of merely to wish.


15 thoughts on “In Prayer We Ask . . .

    1. I really love it too, Jennie. It fits my philosophy of life really well. I wish you and the children the really best holiday ever, however everyone celebrates it or doesn’t celebrate any holidays. One of the saddest things for me here in California is that they stopped allowing us to celebrate any holidays or put up any decorations for the children. I could have made something for each kind of belief system, and what a great way that would have been for children to learn about the world. I hate some of the crazy things they do in this state that really have a dreadful effect on the children. I bought one of my special needs children, a little boy, a “Little Man” calculator (it was extremely inexpensive and cute) so he could manage to get his math done happily, which he was doing. The teacher took it away from him and then told him that he had to work all his problems out. We don’t even do that as adults, and it was cruel in my mind. He loved his “Little Man” and was so proud that he could do his math. Anyway, that is one of the reasons that I so appreciate you and your ways with the children. It is so truly different here, and to me it is taking away the children’s joy of just being children and filled with wonderment and joy every day. Hugs and blessings and happy days all of your life, Anne

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hear you loud and clear, Anne. Common sense and kindness should prevail, especially when it comes to children. The little ones in your care are very lucky.


  1. Thank you so kindly, Jennie. I think all children and all people on this earth are sacred. If we were not meant to be here, we would not be. Yes, some are warlike in their followings, but in the end result, we were all put here for a reason. I think children especially are sacred as they have not yet been corrupted by various religions and political and cultural systems. If they hear the right words when they are small, they will not be forgotten, no matter where life takes them. They will remember and be OK in the end result. I feel the same way about you. You give your children everything they need and more so they will grow up well. They are becoming a valid part of this world in the best of ways. I worked as a volunteer this last weekend at our local annual rodeo. I didn’t get to see any of that, but I saw a number of children raised by country folks who have horses and cows, sheep and goats and chickens, and those children, no matter their age, were confident, happy, loved their parents and could speak to anyone really intelligently, and could handle any tasks given to them. That is the kind of things they need to experience, and that is what you are creating too. And all without horses, cows, etc.


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