Dear friends at Epiphany,
In these days of pandemic, with their anxiety and uncertainty, I’ve gone back to an old prayer. It’s in a small devotional book called In God’s Presence, published in 1929; I bought it many years ago at a book sale, and can’t have paid more than fifty cents for it. Yet the prayer, to me, is priceless. It’s a prayer for the morning, written by Henry van Dyke:
Lord, the newness of this day
Calls me to an untried way:
Let me gladly take the road,
Give me strength to bear my load,
Thou my guide and helper be –
I will travel through with Thee.
Over the years, in the midst of overwhelming situations, or times of turmoil and uncertainty, I have turned to this prayer, and pray it when I wake up. In three couplets, the prayer acknowledges the gift of a new day, asks God for gladness and strength to meet whatever the day brings, and confirms a desire to move through the day with God. It is a brief prayer, uncomplicated, and for me a source of real strength and encouragement at the start of a day that is waiting to be lived.
It seems that this is a time to pray old prayers and new prayers. I wonder what prayers you are praying these days – have you found comfort in a prayer you learned when you were a child? Are you finding fresh sources of prayers? Are you discovering hidden treasures in The Book of Common Prayer? Perhaps you are composing prayers out of the raw material of these days.
I think God helps us find the prayers we need to pray, whether they were written hundreds of years ago or just this morning at breakfast. And I believe that God is weaving us together as a parish through every prayer, strengthening the spiritual bonds among us in this time of being apart from one another. God cherishes each prayer we pray as together we travel this “untried way.”
Yours in Christ,