One of my favourite TV series features 2 antique specialists given a couple of hundred pounds on a Monday to see who can turn the biggest profit by Friday. We join them as they travel the country hunting bargains, and auctioning them off. Sometimes they do well, digging out bargains; other times they pick losers. More fun I think than Bargain Hunt where 2 teams of amateurs have an hour at an antique fair to see who can make the most money when their finds are auctioned; generally the winning team is the one that loses the least. Both are worth watching if like me you enjoy the quest for a bargain.
I’m turning into a Prayer Hunter. I love unearthing ancient and modern Christian prayers. There are so many; intended of course to be spoken to God, but also end up speaking back to us. Often the old ones, particularly the ancient Celtic prayers have been unloved and unknown for years, but today resonate as we discover we still lack answers to pretty much everything until we bring God into the mix.
I’m always on the lookout for prayers that resonate, challenge, encourage. Send me yours if you have one that is special to you. You may even have written it yourself. I enjoy discovering writers who write down their prayers; John Birch, Joyce Rupp, Henri Nouwen, Thomas Merton, and many more. When I write my charity newsletters and blogs I like to end with a prayer. I used to end my newsletters with a joke, but I quickly found that there aren’t so many really good jokes in the world as you might imagine.
This is a lovely prayer written in the fourth century by St Augustine. It’s exceptionally relevant on a personal level right now. We all feel the need to banish the darkness, especially at this tempestuous time. To be read slowly.
‘O Holy Spirit, Love of God, infuse Thy grace, and descend plentifully into my heart; enlighten the dark corners of this neglected dwelling, and scatter there Thy cheerful beams…water that barren soil that longs to be Thy temple, and make it fruitful with Thy dew from heaven. Oh come, Thou refreshment of them that languish and faint. Come, Thou Star and Guide of them that sail in the tempestuous sea of the world; Thou only Haven of the tossed and shipwrecked. Come, Thou Glory and Crown of the living, and only Safeguard of the dying. Come, Holy Spirit, in much mercy, and make me fit to receive Thee. Amen.
St Augustine is the one who taught us to ‘pray as though everything depended on God and work as though everything depended on us’. (Something so many of us still have yet to learn.)