The prayer I share today comes from the country of Ghana. Its words encourage us to begin our day with a recognition of the tangible blessings we enjoy as creatures of this earth, and to voice praise toward the one who created it all. Beginning with praise and gratitude when we first awaken can start us along a day's path that is rooted in awareness and joy.
This prayer isn't a complicated or long prayer, but I have found that borrowing someone else's words through a pre-written prayer can sometimes help me move out of overly worn ruts in my prayer life. If we exclusively pray free-form prayers, we can become stuck in our own personal perspective and patterns of approaching God (especially apparent in our often-repeated requests to God). Even a simple prayer such as "Thank you for your presence, guide me in this moment," can be a way to intentionally let prayer form and change us rather than always being the one who is shaping the words (and thus the perspective) of our prayers.
Questions of Preparation
As you speak the words of this prayer, either aloud or in your mind, I invite you to examine the state of your own spirit on this particular day. If you find that your outlook needs to be reshaped, perhaps this prayer can help you accomplish that.
- As you woke from sleep this morning, what words were first in your mind and out of your mouth? Were you glad to be starting a new day? Has more praise or more complaint come out of your mouth so far today? What is your default attitude when you begin a day?
- Are you aware of a unity between the elements of this earth and the people who dwell together there, including yourself? Do you feel isolated and alone in your praise or do you feel in company with the rest of creation in adoration toward the Creator?
- Do you notice the grace that fills up your days and, in fact, that fills up the whole of creation? It may be helpful to name some of the particular ways that grace is present in your life.
- Have you noticed the particular characteristics of this current day? Have you situated yourself where you are often reminded that being alive within this day is a spectacular gift?
- Do you understand the importance of enjoying the world our Creator has made? Is loving the created world a priority for you? Do you see loving and enjoying the creation we have been placed within as acts of worship?
The Living Spirit
from the country of Ghana
Morning has risen;
Sleep is still in our eyes,
but at once on our lips
shall be your praise.
We glorify, praise and adore you.
We, that is, the earth,
the water, and the sky;
that is, the people here on earth.
Everything that you have created
enjoys your sun and your grace.
Dawn glistens on the grasses.
Mist is still hanging on the trees.
And a soft wind promises a fine day.
Should we not enjoy everything
that you have created?
We are meant to.
That is why we are so joyful this dawn.
O, Lord, Grant that the hours and
minutes do not slip away in our hands,
but that we may live in your time.
From Hallelujah for the Day: An African Prayer Book, Ed. Anthony Gittins; Darton, Longman and Todd, 2002.
With God’s help, we can keep from treating time on this earth as merely something to get through. My hope is that this simple prayer will help us approach our existence on this earth as something to be savored, and not as something to be wasted.
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