a thank-you prarer

Praying hands, in front of a bright, cloudy sky.

This evening I began re-organising my filing cabinet. I began by mind mapping the current contents of my four-drawer stack of organised chaos. And when I couldn’t take the excitement of that any longer I started clearing out my liturgy drawer. It’s amazing the stuff I kept thinking “that might come in handy some day…”. Things like old orders of service, or pew leaflets with hymns printed on them, and the numerous duplicate orders of service for Holy Week and Advent that have mounted up during the years.

In amongst the contents of a hanging file labelled “Prayer” I found six little pieces of paper (67 x 113 mm) held together with a paper-clip. I know for a fact these sheets were from a small pad bought at Thompson’s printers on the High Street in Selkirk many years ago, probably for about 10p. I wish I’d dated them, because the prayers on them, written with a pencil, are great. I’m guessing that I must have been eight or nine years old when I wrote them.

Here they are, in all their glory:

prayer #1

a thank you prarer

thank-you
lord god
for all the
gifts you
give us.
Like
bread, food, chairs,
and parents.
O thank you Lord

What an unusual collection of things to give thanks for. Is bread not food? Why are chairs so special? Why are parents mentioned only after bread, food and chairs?!

prayer #2

thank-you
lord god
for all the
doctors and
nurses for
helping us and
you who helps
us. O
thank-you
Lord

I’m hoping that thanking God “who helps us” wasn’t an after-thought!

prayer #3

thank-you
lord god
for keeping
us safe and
helthy by giving
us food and
drink. for giving
us mum, Dads and
teachers. O
thank-you
Lord

How many Dads did I think I had back then?! But then my (many) dads were given a capital letter, unlike my one ‘mum’.

prayer #4

thank-you
lord god
for us our brothers
and sisters and
pets. witch our
god made with
his two hands
and he made
the earth the
sun and other
planets too. O
thank-you
Lord.

At last: a full-stop! After all that thanking it was nice to see that I made room for a bit of creationist theology. Even if it did involve a witch!

prayer #5

thank-you
lord god
for toys and
sweets and
teddy too
for clothes
and coats
and shoes
O
thank-you
Lord

It couldn’t last, the punctuation thing, could it. That was not so much a prayer as a tribute to e.e.cummings!

prayer #6

thank-you
lord god
for beds and
books and
nice homes to
live in with
windows and
doors cupboards
and chairs
O
thank-you
Lord.

the End
1-2-3-4-5-6
XEndX

I think the last bit was some kind of auditing system. All good prayer collections have them, you know! Nice to see chairs being mentioned again. It makes it sound as though my childhood home had less furniture than a swimming pool, or something from a Four Yorkshire Men sketch: “We were so poor when I were a lad, all we had in our house was a window, a door, a cupboard, and a chair! … I say ‘our house’, it was only a house that we read about in a book, while in bed. I say ‘bed’ it were no more than a hole in t’ road… etc.”

Still, lovely prayers none-the-less. I’ve submitted them for inclusion in the next revision of the Revised Common Lectionary collects for the Christian year. Here’s hoping…

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Gareth Saunders

I’m Gareth J M Saunders, 46 years old, 6′ 4″, father of 3 boys (including twins). Latterly, web architect and agile project manager at the University of St Andrews and warden at Agnes Blackadder Hall. Currently on sabbatical. I am a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church, and I sing with the NYCGB alumni choir.

One thought on “a thank-you prarer”

  1. Maybe you were thanking him for the chairs that were decorated in ribbons for your Birthday! Glad you’re still praying & thanking the Lord. Love Mum

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