In October, I posted about one of my favorite prayers: “A Modification to the Hail Mary.” I wrote in that post, “For me, belief in the resurrection and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ don’t come easily, which makes it hard for me to pray directly to Jesus or to God. That’s why I love the Hail Mary: it feels more honest to ask Mary to pray on my behalf than to directly petition Jesus myself.”
For similar reasons, I love set prayers more than open-ended, free-flowing prayers from the heart. Often, when I try to pray directly to God in my own words, I end up paying more attention to my wording and my own awkwardness than to God or my own spirit. When I pray with set prayers like the Hail Mary or the Our Father, I find that it is much easier for me to pay attention to the prayer itself and to be more open with God.
Continuing with this theme from October, I want to share two of my favorite set prayers.
The first prayer comes from the Baha’i faith. The language in this prayer is beautiful and can transport me to a different, more prayerful and sacred space. No statements in the prayer are overly-specific to the Baha’i faith or exclusive of other faith traditions, so even though I am not a Baha’i, I can still recite this prayer truthfully. Here it is:
I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth. There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.Baha’i Short Obligatory Prayer
In October, I shared about how I modified the Hail Mary. The next prayer I want to share is something similar. It isn’t a modification of a prayer but rather a complete remix, an interpretation of the above Baha’i prayer in my own words. I actually came up with this prayer one day during my JVC year while I was on a walk at the lovely Sherwood Gardens in Baltimore. Here it is:
Dear God. You created me; you brought me into being. That’s awesome. I could never do that. I am here so that I may be transformed by you, and labor for your will. You can always provide for me, you do always provide for me, and you will always provide for me. You are the only cause of my heartbeat. I shall not fear; you shall abide.Cam’s Remix of the Baha’i Short Obligatory Prayer
When I pray, I have four cornerstones that I return to time and time again: these two prayers, the Hail Mary, and (of course) the Our Father. What are your favorite set prayers?
“Two of My Favorite Prayers” by Cam N. Coulter is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.