Tag Archives: Common Prayer

Out of the Mouths of Babes: 1

Benjamin and Lucy:  Christmas Day 2011

Dear Readers,

After I wrote this blog entry:  Magnolia Blossoms, Canopy Roads, and Spanish Moss: Part 1, my  dear friend, Carole, came over to my home to visit.  She and I share the joy of grand-mothering Benjamin and Lucy.  In the midst of our conversations, I said, “Have Mercy!” — one of my favorite expressions.

Now, as you know, “Little pitchers have big ears:”  

Benjamin overheard our conversation.  My brief phrase evidently sounded familiar to him.  He looked up at me, with his soft, liquid, brown eyes and was silent for just a second.   Then, with complete sincerity and reverence, he said slowly, softly, and distinctly: “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.” 

Carole and I silently looked down at Benjamin and then to each other.  Our three-year old grandson had just admonished me.


That prayer of unison response, “Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer,”  is part of the Liturgy of the Historic and Ancient Church.

Benjamin recognized the prayer —  from participating in the Catholic Liturgy with his family.

Every Sunday morning in the Sanctuary, in the Anglican Tradition, the congregation kneels and we prepare to enter into “Common Prayer.” 

It is a holy moment, as we prepare to “lift our voices, with angels, and with archangels, and with all the company of heaven . . .  ”  

And in that moment, heaven and earth will intersect.

This is the moment during which I am the most grateful for the Liturgy, meaning, “the work of the people.”  

Our collective prayers, beautifully and masterfully composed long ago, are borne aloft, as the incense is borne aloft, offering a pleasing aroma to the Trinity.

The global and historical prayers will sweep over the sacred space and enfold my small voice, as a mighty, crashing wave of the vast ocean might gather up a piece of sea glass.

[Form IV: Book of Common Prayer, page 388]:

Let us pray for the church and for the world.  Grant, Almighty God, that all who confess your name may be united in your truth, live together in your love, and reveal your glory in the world.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Guide the people of this land, and of all the nations, in the ways of justice and peace; that we may honor one another and serve the common good.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Give us all a reverence for the earth as your own creation, that we may use its resources rightly, in the service of others, and to your honor and glory.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Bless all whose lives are closely linked with ours, and grant that we may serve Christ in them, and love one another as he loves us.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 Comfort and heal all those who suffer in body, mind, or spirit; give them courage and hope in their troubles, and bring them the joy of your salvation.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

 We commend to your mercy all who have died, that your will for them may be fulfilled; and we pray that we may share with all your saints in your eternal kingdom.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


“And a little child will lead them . . . “

Benjamin does not realize that he has exposed the thoughtless attitude of my mind, by noticing and commenting upon my careless speech.

He has no idea that he is challenging me to faithfully apply the truth that I so fervently desire to impart to him, that of The Great Shema of the Hebrew Scriptures:  

Deuteronomy 6:4-9

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“ Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!  You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.  These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.  You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as  frontals on your forehead.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Benjamin reminds me:  I can never impart that which I do not first possess.

“The mouth speaks from that which fills the heart:”  

So, it is fruitless to ask Benjamin to ignore my words, for my words surely reflect the condition of my innermost being.

My grandchildren, so eager to learn, watching and listening so closely, will be a constant motivation for me to model for them a life of integrity.

I am grateful for their assistance, as I resist complacency in “the long obedience in the same direction.”

And now, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and Redeemer.”  Amen, amen.

Coram Deo,



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