4 Anti-Prayers to Screw Up Your Life (and Save It).
May 13, 2010

The following is a prayer that I as an agnostic Christian love to pray because 1) I can say it just to myself if I have trouble imagining God, and 2) it doesn’t really involve statements of dogma, and 3) it’s really about trying to better myself instead of relying on a Flying Spaghetti Monster to rain down luxuries on my life. (This flies in the face of the Prayer of Jabez, and for that I love it too.)

For me, it’s sort of like a manifesto for my life, or at least one I aspire to. A manifesto for a new way of living that seeks to live deeply, beyond the noise of upward mobility and more-ness.

Also for me, I’m declaring an end to the passé drone of self-interest. This is about running, against the wind, toward a way of living that brazenly asserts that another world really is possible.

I’m trying to intentionally meditate on this to help me feel more centered and grounded. It’s made up of four individual prayers, and I’ve been trying (sputteringly) to focus on one each day, or each hour or whatever. Below is my slightly modified version of what’s known as the Four-fold Franciscan Blessing, which I call My Anti-Prayers, because it goes against the common notion of requesting favors from God, and puts more responsibility on me…although I certainly need a Grace that’s beyond me to help make it a reality:

My Anti-Prayers

Bless me with discomfort. Discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that I will live from deep within my heart. (Amen.)

Bless me with anger. Anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that I will work for justice, freedom, and peace. (Amen.)

Bless me with tears. Tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that I will reach out my hand to comfort them and turn their pain into joy. (Amen.)

Bless me with foolishness. Enough foolishness to believe that I can make a difference in this world, so that I can do what others claim cannot be done. (Amen.)

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By the way, because of the sort of screwed-up thinking outlined above, I’ve gotten all idealistic and I’m actually starting to try and make a little difference:

So I’ll be going to Haiti this coming August. (Really.) Let me know if you want to help make this possible and I’ll fill you in on details. (I’ll need to raise about $1,500 as my part — or $15,000 total for our entire group of 10.)

This ministry’s site will give you an idea of what we’ll be doing, and I’ll post updates here on my blog as well.