SIX WORD PRAYERS
April 11th, 2008
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
I knew a priest who told me that his prayers had gotten shorter and shorter over his lifetime, not because he was in any hurry to pray, but because he had realized what it was he wanted to say to God in nearly every prayer for himself. His own personal prayer was, “I’m sorry. Help me. Thank you.”
Six words that, for him, summed up nearly everything he wanted to say to God. He could have, of course, listed those things for which he was sorry, those things in which he needed help and those things about which he was thankful. He chose instead to condense to those six words that were so meaningful for him.
I was reminded of this priest when I heard about and then read a new book entitled, “Six Word Memoirs” edited by Smith Magazine and compiled from famous and obscure writers. On their web page, Smith Magazine explains the inspiration for this book as follows:
Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking our readers for their own six-word memoirs. They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”).
( http://www.smithmag.net/sixwords/ )
I found the book and web site to be quite inspirational, (I submitted my own under a non-de-plume). And remembering that short prayer mentioned above, I thought about what wonderful spiritual exercise it would be if each of us tried to come up with our own six word prayers.
While there is no “right” way to pray, sometimes trying a new way to voice our prayers to God can be a good way to help us focus on what it is we really want from God.
So here goes: Write down your own six words prayers (As many of them as you wish. Send them all at once or send them one at a time as you think about them) to:
If you wish your prayer to be anonymous, please let us know. As we compile these over time, we will post them to our website so that all of us might grow in prayer through the thoughts of one another.
Remember, there is no set format other than keeping it to six words (we’ll not be Pharisees about contractions, hyphenated words or punctuation – let your imagination run wild).
They can be intercessory prayers: “God help Persephone. She needs it.” Prayers of thanksgiving: “Thanks God. I don’t deserve it.” Prayers of Petition: “Gracious God, please give me strength.” Prayers of Adoration: “I’ve got God. Who needs chocolate?” Prayers of penitence: “He started it. But I’m sorry.” And countless other forms.
The most important thing is to try it and have fun. No one ever said prayer wasn’t supposed to be fun.
Yours in Christ,