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Francis Greenwood Peabody: Prayers

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Amid the confusing multiplicity of our desires, we pray for a finer sense of proportion in the judgement of our problems and our plans. A multitude of details hide our view of the larger purposes of life; misunderstandings cloud the day with foolish animosity; we cherish our grievances and waste our friendships; we see things not as they are but as we wish them to be.

Deliver us from these sins of disproportion, that our small concerns may not hide from view the light of Your eternal power and that anxiety about trifles may be conquered by our commitment to the True and Beautiful and Good. Show us the excellence in others which we have failed to see. Turn us from our own needs to the larger world of public affairs. Save us from narrow and provincial views. Restore to us a fresh sense of proportion, so the incidental may not hide the eternal or the vexing problems of the day not destroy our own peace of mind.


O God, we are grateful for the great adventure of living. We pray not for immunity from risks but for courage to face them. We pray not to be saved out of the world but to ally ourselves with the saviors of the world. Give us courage to face facts without evasion or self-deception. Give us strength, amidst the perplexities of life, that we may experience the exhilaration of constructive conflict and the joy of victory. Arm us forthe campaign of life with unperturbed faith, unconquered hope, and the tranquil courage born of love.


Wearied by the haste and waste of the day, we turn to You, the Source of our peace and strength, and pray for the gift of a quiet mind. Transient troubles of the day crowd upon us; we are provoked to irritating words; petty decisions disquiet our temper and dissipate ourstrength. Lift us up from this slough of despond to firm ground, that duty may be rescued from perplexity and work be unsevered from tranquility. We do not pray that life be less demanding but only that we may not lose poise, and that, in the events of each passing day, we may serve You with a quiet mind.

Francis Greenwood Peabody (1847-1936) left a legacy of lasting influences to Harvard University as professor (1881-1912) and dean (1901-1906) at the Divinity School. He introduced social ethics to the Divinity School curriculum and led the effort for Harvard to be the first traditional U.S. college to make daily religious service optional.