Afterword: Sample Prayers
by James Kiefer
Unpublished dot-matrix printout dated November 21, 1984

Lord, teach me to seek thee, and reveal thyself to me when I seek thee. For I cannot seek thee unless thou teach me, nor find thee except thou reveal thyself. Let me seek thee in longing, let me long for thee in seeking; let me find thee in love, and love thee in finding. (St. Ambrose)

O God, who art the light of the minds that know thee, the life of souls that love thee, and the strength of the hearts that serve thee; help us so to know thee that we may truly love thee, so to love thee that we may fully serve thee, whom to serve is perfect freedom. (St. Augustine)

Late have I loved thee, O Lord; and behold, thou was within, and I without, and there I sought thee. Thou wast with me when I was not with thee. Thou didst call, and cry, and burst my deafness. Thou didst gleam, and glow, and dispel my blindness. Thou didst touch me, and I burned for thy peace. For thyself thou has made us, and restless our hearts until in thee they find their ease. Late have I loved thee, thou beauty ever old and ever new. Thou hast burst my bonds asunder: unto thee will I offer up the sacrifice of praise. (St. Augustine)

Our Father, who art in Heaven: Hallowed be thy name; Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. (Jesus of Nazareth: a traditional version)

Heavenly Father, may all revere thee, acknowledge thine authority, and seek to do thy will. Today and always, supply all our needs. Where we have done wrong, forgive us, and help us to forgive those who have wronged us. When we are faced with hard choices, give us the wisdom and courage to choose aright, and guard us against evil and wrong, for it is from thee that we receive all goodness, rationality, power, life, and existence itself. (Benjamin Franklin’s paraphrase of the preceding, with the ending slightly altered.)

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. Praise be to God, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the Worlds, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Master of the Day of Judgement. Thee do we worship and Thine aid we seek. Show us the straight way, the way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose portion is not wrath, and who go not astray. (Koran, sura 1)

Thanks be to my Lord: He the Adorable, and only to be adored. My Lord, the Eternal, the Ever-existing, Cherisher, the True Sovereign whose mercy and might overshadow the universe; the Regulator of the world, and Light of the creation. His is our worship: to Him belongs all worship; He existed before all things, and will exist after all that is living has ceased. Thou art the adored, my Lord; Thou art the Master, the Loving and Forgiving. O my Lord, Thou art the Helper of the afflicted, the Believer of all distress, the Consoler of the broken-hearted; Thou art present everywhere to help Thy servants. O my Lord, Thou art the Creator; I am created. Thou art my Sovereign; I am Thy servant. Thou art the Helper; I am the beseecher. Thou art the Forgiver; I am the sinner. Thou, my Lord, art the Merciful, All-knowing, All-loving.
MMO Lord, grant to me the love of Thee, Grant that I may love those that love Thee. Grant that I may do the deeds that win Thy love. Make Thy love to be dearer to me than self, family, or goods.
MMO Lord, grant me firmness in faith and direction. Assist me in being grateful to Thee and in adoring Thee in every good way. I ask Thee for an innocent heart, which shall not incline to wickedness. I ask Thee for a true tongue. I pray Thee to defend me from that vice which Thou knowest, and to forgive me those faults which Thou knowest. O my Defender, assist me in remembering Thee and being grateful to Thee, and in worshipping Thee with all my strength. Forgive me out of Thy loving kindness, and have mercy upon me, for verily Thou art the Forgiver of offenses and the bestower of blessing upon Thy servants. (Muslim)

I praise you, O God, for your power.
MMEvery chain of causality, traced to its origins, leads to you.
MMAll that is caused, all that is dependent, depends ultimately on you and your will. From your creative imagination, as from an inexhaustible fountain, there tumbles forth a ceaseless cataract of quarks and quasars, of philosophers and philodendrons, of colonels, kumquats, and kangaroos — all objectively real, all deriving their being from you, whose existence is the foundation of all other existence, and all pulsating with the energy that is creation’s echo of your own overflowing and endless life. I thank you, O God, for all that you have created, and in particular for creating me, for giving me existence. Praise to you, O God my Creator, praise to you!

I praise you, O God, for your wisdom.
MMAll consciousness, all knowledge, all rationality, traced to its origins, leads to you.
MMEvery philosopher, every scientist or engineer or technician, every artist or architect or poet or craftsman, is able to understand this world because you have made us fit agents, and made the world a fit object, for rational exploration. All of created reality is intrinsically intelligible because it is the product of your intelligence, and it is intelligible to us because you have made us rational beings, beings with a cognitive apparatus appropriate to the task of understanding reality. And our awareness of what we are leads to awareness of what you are, for we see that a rational mind cannot be the product of non-rational causes, and you guide us from consciousness to self-consciousness to the contemplation of your own uncaused, eternal, and necessarily omniscient mind.
MMI thank you, O God, for all that you have created, and in particular for creating me as a conscious, rational entity, a being capable of knowing the created world, of knowing myself, and of knowing my Creator. Praise to you, O God my Enlightener, praise to you!

I praise you, O God, for your goodness.
MMAll moral awareness, all virtue, all justice, all benevolence, all love, traced to their origins lead to you.
MMSince our competence to make moral judgement is an instance of rational competence in general, we owe it to the fact that we are designed by you, the ultimate source of all wisdom and rationality. But that is only the beginning.
MMYou have made us not only rational beings, but also social beings, beings who perceive ourselves more adequately through the eyes of a friend, a lover, a companion.
MMJust as children (at least normally) learned to value themselves by perceiving that their parents value them, and learn to love themselves and others by being loved, so I, knowing that you created me because you willed my existence and my nature, and that you care whether I live, care whether I am rational, care whether I am virtuous, am led to the joyous conclusion that I matter, matter not just to myself, but matter objectively.
MMWhen I am in a bad mood, and life seems dreary and pointless, I know that it has been judged otherwise by a wisdom not subject to moods.
MMWhen I am tempted to suppose that all values, including the value I place on myself and those I love, are arbitrary and subjective whims, and that objective worth is a fantasy, the knowledge of your benevolence toward me and all that you have created calls me back to sanity.
MMWhen I realize that I have behaved badly, and my self-esteem is shattered, and I wonder whether I am fit to live after all, I know that I face in you an implacably stern judge, one who accepts no excuses, but at the same time one who judges me, not in order to condemn and reject me, but in order to summon me to be the sort of person you intend that I shall be.
MMAnd because I know that you love me, I am enabled to love those around me, not with the gloomy altruism of a man who proposes to give his goods to his neighbors because he is unworthy to enjoy them himself, but with the joyous benevolence of a man who has encountered a great good fortune and says, “I feel so happy that I wish I could give a party and invite the whole world.” Because I know that you created them and intended them to grow into your image and likeness, to manifest on the human level your own power, wisdom, and goodness, I know how you intend me to love them, not with a casual disregard for their faults that makes love indistinguishable from contempt, but with an unswerving will for their rational self-interest.
MMPraise to you, O God, Cherisher and Sustainer, my Judge and my Comforter, my Master and my Friend, my Lover and Leader and Lord, praise to you!


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