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.


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