Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Ghanaian "Prayer for the Journey"

I've been reading and thinking and writing prayers lately, for what may become a chapbook or even a section of Sand Opera, and this poem came across my eyes today.  What amazes me about the rhetoric of prayer--at least written prayer--is that it must be relatively transparent and general in its language, yet also specific in its construction of the God it invokes and the world it invites. 

I've always struggled with the prayers I've received in my own faith tradition, because they seem to invoke or invite in ways that don't quite encapsulate the faith or my own struggles, and so I've wanted to write my own prayers as poems, poems as prayers.  But it's terribly difficult to avoid the cliche, on the one hand, and the elliptical, on the other.

Prayer for the Journey

Journeying god,
pitch your tent with mine
so that I may not become deterred
by hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make
toward a wealth not dependent on possessions,
toward a wisdom not based on books,
toward a strength not bolstered by might,
toward a god not confined to heaven.
Help me to find myself as I walk in other's shoes.

(Prayer song from Ghana, traditional, translator unknown)
Thanks to Panhala for sharing it.

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