I’m a  writer.  I string together words for a living.  I also string together words when I pray.  Sometimes.

Other times, I simply can’t put two words together on my own.  There is just too much to hold up in prayer or the need is too raw, too great.  When this is the case, I sometimes turn to traditional prayers.

I originally found The Prayer for Quietness of Thought in our church hymnal.  It is one that our church prayer group uses often.

Another  favorite is The Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.  I often use this one in my own prayer and meditation, praying one line and then adding a personal need.  “‘Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love.’  Lord, I can’t make the two of them reconcile, but let me not be part of the problem.  Let me listen without taking sides or justifying hateful words . . .”

My other personal failsafe is music.  Having grown up with hymns and spirituals, it’s embarrassing to admit that I didn’t realize how prayerful some of them were until I joined the church choir.

My all time favorite is Kyrie Eleison (see video below).  The words are so beautiful and, even if not in English, so simple.  God have mercy.  Christ have mercy.  This anthem brings me close to tears whenever we sing it.

A close second is Be With Me Lord (Psalm 91/see second video below).  This is the one I pull out whenever trouble, including other people’s trouble, swirls around me.  When I can’t create my own prayers, I am more than willing to borrow the words of others.