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Prayers for Today: Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman

HOWARD THURMAN (1900-1981). The professor and chaplain at Howard University became the co-founder of the interracial and international Fellowship Church in San Francisco before he became the Minister-at-Large of Boston University. The story is dramatically disclosed in his autobiography: With Head and HeartRead More…

I LAY BEFORE YOU

The concern which I lay bare before You today is:

Whatever disaffection there is between me and those who are or have been very close to me— I would seek the root or cause of such disaffection, and with the illumination of Your mind, O God, to understand it.

I give myself to Your scrutiny that, whatever there may be in me that is responsible for what has happened, I will acknowledge.

Where I have wronged or given offense deliberately or without intention, I seek a face-to-face forgiveness.

What I can undo I am willing to try; what I cannot undo, with that I seek to make my peace.

How to do these things, what techniques to use, with what spirit— for these I need and seek Your wisdom and strength, O God.

Whatever disaffection there is between me and those who are or have been very close to me, I lay bare before You.

A LITANY OF THANKSGIVING

In Your presence, O God, we make our Sacrament of Thanksgiving.

We begin with the simple things of our days:
Fresh air to breathe,
Cool water to drink,
The taste of food,
The protection of houses and clothes,
The comforts of home.

For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day!

We bring to mind all the warmth of humankind that we have known:

Our mothers’ arms,
The strength of our fathers,
The playmates of our childhood,
The wonderful stories brought to us from the lives of many who
talked of days gone by when fairies and giants and diverse kinds
of magic held sway;
The tears we have shed, the tears we have seen;
The excitement of laughter and the twinkle in the eye with
its reminder that life is good.

For all these we make an act of Thanksgiving this day.

I NEED YOU

I need Your sense of time. Always I have an underlying anxiety about things. Sometimes I am in a hurry to achieve my ends and am completely without patience. It is hard for me to realize that some growth is slow, that not all processes are swift. I cannot discriminate between what takes time to develop and what can be rushed because my sense of time is dulled. O to understand the meaning of perspective that I may do all things with a profound sense of leisure of time.

I need Your sense of order. The confusion of the details of living is sometimes overwhelming. The little things keep getting in my way, providing ready-made excuses for failure to do and be what I know I ought to do and be. Much time is spent on things that are not very important while significant things are put in an insignificant place in my scheme of order. I must unscramble my affairs so that my life will become order. O God, I need Your sense of order.

I need Your sense of the future. Teach me to know that life is ever on the side of the future. Keep alive in me the future look, the high hope. Let me not be frozen either by the past or the present. Grant me, O Patient One, Your sense of the future without which all life would sicken and die.

OUR LITTLE LIVES

Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
The quietness in Your temple of silence again and again rebuffs us:
For some there is no discipline to hold them steady in the waiting,
And the minds reject the noiseless invasion of Your spirit.
For some there is no will to offer what is central in the thoughts—
The confusion is so manifest, there is no starting place to take hold.
For some the evils of the world tear down all concentrations
And scatter the focus of the high resolves.
We do not know how to do what we know to do.
We do not know how to be what we know to be.
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!
Pour out upon us whatever our spirits need of shock, of life, of release
That we may find strength for these days—
Courage and hope for tomorrow.
In confidence we rest in Your sustaining grace
Which makes possible triumph in defeat, gain in loss, and love in hate.
We rejoice this day to say:
Our little lives, our big problems—these we place upon Your altar!

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