A Pastoral Prayer

Posted by on July 19, 2015 in Prayers | 0 comments


I begin with portions of this oft-quoted poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins:

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;         5
  And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
  And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
  There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;         10
And though the last lights off the black West went
  Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
  World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Dear Lord,

In this part of the country, summer is our chance to take off our shoes and feel the soil,

SunrisePerhaps find a patch of grass that has not yet been adulterated with carcinogenic pesticides

We believe in what Hopkins wrote –that the Holy Spirit is like a bird warming the earth, hatching new and wonderful things

Please make us aware of that Spirit, Your Spirit. Come, Holy Spirit, we pray (Veni, Sancte Spiritus!)

We need your Spirit, and we trust that you will NOT leave us orphans

But will continue to inspire us, to join us together in creating, planting

Helping each other to protect and sustain your beautiful creation

Help us to remove whatever prevents us from seeing it, feeling it, loving it

And hear our prayers for those who cannot appreciate it because they are suffering and are in need, and for them we pray:

“Lord, in your mercy hear our prayer.”


Were it not for your Spirit, your presence, and experiencing you in the people you gather here

We might despair of accomplishing so much with so little

We are like the snails that Zen Masters cheered on to climb Mt. Fuji, but slowly, slowly.

Help us to keep on, slowly offering our prayers and resources, reaching out a hand, giving some of our harvest,

Not letting criticism and cynicism deter nor discourage us, never giving up, always pressing through tiredness and obstacles.

Because you remind us, refresh us, and cajole us with your presence in perfect summer days.   Amen.



My Lord, we can bless each other and call for good things to happen to each of us, and so we do now. But we also acknowledge that everything in creation blesses us, the air, the earth, the fire, the water. You caress us with them and embrace us. And we are so grateful.


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