A Litany for the Natural Man

From He Sent Leanness: A book of prayers for the natural man

By David Head

A Litany

O God, we have considerable doubts in our minds about the way You are running the universe.

     Is there any chance that You will show Your mercy to us, O Lord?

We see all kinds of things in the world that do not please us.

     Do you think You could do something about it, O God?

The psychologists tell us that our nagging doubts about Your goodness burrow into the subconscious mind and spit poison.

     Isn’t this a bit unfair, O Lord?

From a universe where things can be extremely unpleasant,

     Deliver us, Good Lord.

From everything that calls us from courage and endurance,

     Deliver us, Good Lord.

From all ignorance, insecurity, and uncertainty,

     Deliver us, Good Lord.

From all personal needs that give the love of others a chance to find expression,

     Deliver us, Good Lord.

From suffering the balloon of our pride to be pricked, from suffering the castle of our self-satisfaction to be attacked, from suffering the thunder of egotism to be stilled,

     Deliver us, Good Lord.

We sinners do hope against hope that You will pay just a little attention to our prayers; and that it may be You to get on with Your business, and to do the best You can for us;

     We beg You on our knees (as far as the pews will allow), O Lord.

That it may please You to bring good to us, and not evil, and that You will be on the other side of light rather than darkness;

     We beg You on our knees, O Lord.

That it may please You to rule and govern your holy Church Universal in the right way;

     We beg You on our knees, O Lord.

Hear us, O Lord

    Be Yourself, O Lord.

We citizens do beseech You that the standard of living of our country may approximate more and more closely to that of the United States;

    You can do all things, O God.

We sinners do pray that our national income may be enough to produce a sufficiency of nuclear weapons, maintain the Welfare State, and leave a little over for commonwealth countries;

     You can do all things, O God.

We miserable owners of increasingly luxurious cars, and ever-expanding television screens do must humbly pray for that two-thirds of the world’s population which is under-nourished;

     You can do all things, O God.

We who seek to maintain a shaky civilization do pray most earnestly that the countries which suffer exploitation may not be angry with the exploiters, that the hungry may not harbor resentment against those who have food, that the down-trodden may take it patiently, that nations with empty larders may prefer starvation to communism, that the “have-not” countries may rejoice in the prosperity of those that have, and that all people who have been deeply insulted and despised may have short memories;

    You can do all things, O God.

We who prosper through the work and patience of others pray that we have the sense not to drive them too far;

    You can do all things, O God.

We pray that our statesmen may do everything they can to promote peace, so long as our own national history and honour and pride and prosperity and superiority and sovereignty are maintained;

    You can do all things, O God.

That the sick may be visited, the prisoner cared for, the refugee rehabilitated, the naked clothed, the orphan housed, and that we may be allowed to enjoy our own firesides, evening by evening, in peace;

    You can do all things, O God.

O Son, we beg, we beseech, we supplicate, we petition, we implore You to hear us.

     Lord, be good to us.

     Christ, make things easy for us.

     Lord, deliver us from the necessity of doing anything.

Let us pray.

O God, You see that we live in a world of toil and travail with the vague possibility that there might be something worthwhile at the end of it. We pray You to take from man the embarrassing gift of freewill that made possible the Fall and makes possible the fall of every man. Grant that we may all become unselfconscious parts of one vast, universal factory, where everything works by automation, according to the press-button activity of the One Divine Will.

      O Lord, arise. Give up this awful experiment of making men like Christ.

O God, we have heard all kinds of things about waters parting, and manna falling, and the sun standing still, and fire descending on altars.

     O Lord, nothing like this seems to happen anymore, and although we see some sense in the uniformity of nature, we wish You could still see Your way to making an occasional exception when it affects us personally.

Don’t let anyone say nasty things about us.

     May all men speak well of us.

Don’t let our witness for Christ make things awkward for us,

     Let it be the aim of our life not to do anybody any harm.

Don’t let our neighbors go one better than us.

     Keep us respectable, whatever our thoughts are, O Lord.

Almighty God, there are so many uncertain factors in life. We pray that we may be a little more certain of You. We ask You to be good to us sometimes, to bless us now and again, to give us in some small way an occasional release from our doubts and worries. We believe there are times, even if not frequent, when we deserve your blessing. Do not let us down. Amen.

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