The Patheos blog “Wake Up Call,” written by Tom Rapsas, recently interviewed the Rev. Dr. Donna Schaper about her book Prayers for People Who Say They Can’t Pray.
Rapsas asks her if she ever wonders if prayer is a waste of time.
She says, “When prayer is genuine, we pray from our guts and not just from our heads. Our heads don’t go away. Instead, our hearts and heads join them. Sometimes our heart has a wisdom that our head does not.”
He also posts his favorite (edited for length) prayers from the book, including:
11 Prayers for People Who Maybe Believe
- When I go to sleep at night, let me name those I love and say thank you to them again for being alive. Let my goings out and comings in have a bit of pizzazz, O God. Let my stopping and starting aim somewhere. And keep chaos at bay. Amen.
- Thoreau wanted to live deliberately that way that I want to be fully awake. Deliberately awake. That is my goal. Is it all right if I meet that goal slightly, every few days? Or is something more complete demanded of me? Amen.
- Let me remember those I love, by name, even if they are far away or no longer close in spirit. Let me not just act but also reflect my way to action. Let me ritualize my rising and begin my days my own way. And when I am slowly ready and slowly awake and genuinely ritualized, let me rise. Amen.
- Tranquility, what the heck is that? I have a feeling someone somewhere knows what it is. I’d love to find out. Can you teach me, O God, or must I be my own teacher? Amen.
- William Butler Yeats argued that we can “live with a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer life because of our quiet.” Grant me ferocity, clarity, and quiet. Amen.
- Help me to pray for all the towns and cities in which I have lived. Let me start with the first one, where I was born, and enjoy it street by street. Let this be a long project and a long prayer. Don’t rush my prayer. Amen.
- When I ask for transformation from monkey mind, one that jumps from tree to tree and subject to subject, I am asking for a discipline, not from the outside, but from the inside. Let me be a person who can focus on one thing at a time and is in charge of myself. Amen.
- Send me a wake-up call about my mortality. Let it ring every day at 6 or 7 or 8 so that when I go to sleep at 10 or 11 or 12 I am aware that I too will pass. Amen.
- When I am afraid that I can’t “get it all done,” remind me that I never will. Let me rejoice in the great unfinishedness and remember that there is nothing to be frightened of. Amen.
- From haste and its waste, rescue me, O God. Slow me down long enough to enjoy my time, here, now. Make me ask the question of where it is I think I am going in such a big hurry. Amen.
- Let little things mean a lot today, O God. Coffee breaks, convenient parking spaces, exact change: let each permit me an ounce of joy and gratitude. Keep me so happy about the things I enjoy that I don’t have time to worry about what is missing. Amen.
To read the full post, click on this link.