A Prayer Whispered Against The Darkness

Praying Hands - Albrecht Durer
We kill each other all the time, often in the name of God. For thousands of years, they killed each other in the name of Jesus.

Our Father

And God seems far, far away, able to help us find lost car keys, but unable to do anything of actual use like rescue the hungry from starvation of stop us from killing each other or save loved ones from dying or leaving us.

Who art in Heaven,

God’s purported followers say that God hates fags. God hates soldiers. God hates you. Thank God for Katrina. Thank God for dead soldiers.

Hallowed be thy name.

Drone strikes. War. Famine. Terrorism. Extremism. Fear. Hatred. Atrocities done in the name of God by the people of God.

Thy kingdom come,

People willing to harm one another in the name of God. Guns and bombs and hurting them before they hurt us. Shootings in schools. Kids arrested for bringing pocket-knives to school.

Thy will be done

Hatred. Evil in the name of God. Hatred in the name of love.

on earth as it is in heaven.

One in six Americans don’t have enough food.

Nearly 870 million people of the 7.1 billion people in the world, or one in eight, were suffering from chronic undernourishment in 2010-2012.

Several children die due to malnutrition or hunger every minute.

Give us this day our daily bread

We cannot forgive ourselves our sins, so how could God?

And forgive us our debts

How dare those evildoers harm us? How dare that person cut us off? How dare bin Laden attack us? How dare the Boston Bombers attack a marathon?

As we forgive our debtors.

Catalogs, stores, the Joneses posting on Facebook about their consumerism; God help us, we are the Joneses.

Lead us not into temptation

From stores that sell products made by slaves and underpaid workers and children
From our own desires to buy them
From all-consuming patriotism
From apathy
From our cynicism
From our fear of others

But deliver us from evil

We pledge allegiance to the flag
Our Kingdom it shall be
No matter what the cost to others
From sea to shining sea

For Thine is the kingdom

We measure power in megawatts
And kilotons of explosive power
Military budgets
And stealth fighter jets.

And thine is the power

We worship superstars
Presidential candidates
War heroes
Local heroes
And hope for more hits on our blogs
And likes for our photos
And maybe this is okay, but

And thine is the glory

Kingdoms crumble, but thy love remains


Maranatha: Come Lord Jesus.
America is not the last word.
We are not the last words.
War is not the last word,
nor famine, nor hunger, nor sword, nor anything in heaven and earth
The last word is


About David M. Schell







4 responses to “A Prayer Whispered Against The Darkness”

  1. The Ubiquitous Avatar

    Prayer doesn’t change God. Prayer changes us.

    Worship does not stand alone. Worship and evangelization and working with the poor are three acts but not in every sense. If Christian were a verb it would mean simultaneously all three, plus:

    1. Corporal Works of Mercy.
    2. Spiritual Works of Mercy.
    3. Adoration of God throughout our lives, if in a particular way together, if in a particular way on holy days.

  2. DaveSchell Avatar

    The six items for Christian as a verb: I like.

    Prayer doesn’t change God, it changes us: I’ve always struggled with that idea. I think in some ways we have to believe that prayer changes God, because when I pray I’m not praying because I want to be changed, at least not always. Of course we should keep the doctrine of the immutability of God, but I want to believe that when I pray, something changes, and that something is more than just me. Of course I am a skeptic, so I don’t know if I even believe that anything changes when I pray, but if I didn’t hope it would, I doubt that I would pray.

    When I ask for God to help me, I know that I am not changing God’s attitude toward me, but I believe that somehow help will come, help that, perhaps, would not have come had I not prayed. If I did not believe this, I would not ask.

    1. The Ubiquitous Avatar

      Take a good hard look at the Our Father, and keep in mind that we should pray “like this.” What in there may something other than ourselves be changed?

      Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

      This is the only thing in the Our Father which involves of changing of anyone but oneself. Everything else only appears to be either declaration of the glory of God, which opens our hearts again to Him, or requesting for ourselves certain graces. Each of these involves the request for grace, and the opportunity to request these things is itself grace. Our question is whether we will submit to grace or whether we will not, not really whether we will take positive action of merely our own initiative.

      I believe that somehow help will come, help that, perhaps, would not have come had I not prayed. If I did not believe this, I would not ask.

      This touches on a very deep mystery, about which many things can be known but the whole thing cannot here be known fully. This is some of what we can know:

      1. If we do not ask, we do not receive.
      2. If we do ask, we may not receive.
      3. If we ask for the will of God, we will receive.

      This is why so many prayers interject, among the petitions, “if it is your will.” So does, by the way, the Our Father — and with this prayer God freely awards the grace to accept his will.

      For example, in asking for world peace, we react with the grace of God against the evil things of the world. By merely asking, we are conforming ourselves to him. World peace may come, but to focus on whether it gets us material results denies God his freedom.Though we ought to will that our neighbor be clothed and fed and sheltered in safety we ought to first will that he end up with God in heaven. Without this foundation, and without the love of Christ operating in them, soup kitchens are nothing.

      In short, though we ought to ask that His Kingdom come on earth as in heaven, we also ask in submission to God’s will, and our emphasis ought to be on the glory of heaven more than the glorified earth. The two greatest commandments are the two greatest commandments, but they are still in a certain order.

  3. jayebird40 Avatar

    beautifully written, 🙂 Aunt Jaye

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