There is no better theme for Thanksgiving than that of prayer. What is it if not the movement of the grateful heart to the Father of all Mercies?
At OLSWA, we start all of our classes with prayer. If I'm uninspired I do an Our Father or a Hail Mary. Distant down the line are Glories Be`s and Hail Holy Queen`s.
Of course, the greatest prayer is the Our Father - who would dispute that? It is the perfect prayer. And it's not that one needs originality in prayer, yet I find myself wanting something more sometimes, or sometimes else is probably a better way to put it. We can rhyme off the familiar too easily. Some prayers are too sappy, some are too instructional, some do not glorify.
I am a Jesus-nut. I am passionate about Jesus. Just love the guy. Can't get enough of Him. Thus, my 'best prayer', would be to Jesus. I love poetry and respect a well-turned phrase. I love profound things. One would think my 'best prayer' lies out there undiscovered by me in the corpus of St. Thomas or St. Anselm. I have read a few of each of theirs, but cannot recall having come across quite what I want. (Besides, Thomas' Eucharistic prayers commit the sin of familiarity.)
I have just come across this beautiful one by St. Anselm:
Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.
Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.
I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
but I believe so that I may understand;
and what is more,
I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.
I have always loved the prayer from St. Alphonsus' Way of the Cross,
V. We adore Thee, O Christ, and we
R. Because by Thy holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the
Simple, but powerful.
So, I look on and on. I have seen so many wonderful prayers. But I am not struck by prayers overly repetitive. I know many people like them, prayers like St. Patrick's, the most well known part which runs in part,
Christ shield me today
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me...
One of my all-time favourites is, understandably, from the New Testament. It's not a prayer so much as a hymn, from Philippians:
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
And that from Colossians:
The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church;
he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead,
so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things,
whether things on earth or things in heaven,
by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
As prayers, these are hymns of praise, not of petition, although they could easily to converted into such.
Hopefully, someone will read this post and present me with the prayer I've been looking for. BTW, Anima Christi, is wonderful in its christocentricity, but is repetitive...
My first draft of a prayer to Christ:
O Jesus, good Son of so loving a Father,
True face of God who left the boundless realm of joy
to comfort lost men.
Wisdom of God, You are the light in my times of darkness.
Loving heart, You are with all who are without You,
Be with me now. I recognize Your goodness.
I see that You are good in Your dying and rising.
Let Your word come forth to guide me when I refuse to be guided.
Cheer my soul that I may lighten others.
Most of all, make we want to praise You:
If all else is lost, grant this one prayer,
That if I become less, or nothing,
You will be loved in everything, O Jesus. Amen.
I hope you like it; better, yet that it directs you to Him.
I want to get to know the great English poets like Keats, and Yeats, Tennyson and Byron, much better than I do. If you know of any wonderful prayers by any of these, please let me know. I have seen some online. It is a big task.