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Prayer 73

Speaking with God from the Depths of the Heart

A

King on high, mighty and awesome,
blessed Lord Jesus Christ,
for someone like me who despairs of salvation
only you can change the curse of mortality
into the blessing of life.
Only you can turn the discouragement of blame
into joyous praise,
shame into resilience,
humility into honor,
banishment into the hope of goodness,
separation into the expectation of reunion,
menacing words into compassionate comfort,
final condemnation into a second chance
at deliverance.

B

Lord, have mercy on me, for I am condemned to death
on the day of my life-breath’s release,
while I implore on high with my eyes’ pitiful gaze
fixed the perils ahead on that unavoidable journey,
with danger on all sides in my terrified imagination.
And while gazing at my cell’s ceiling where I will start
my outward journey, wretched and half dead with
a twisted face, with shaking fingers, muffled sighs,
failing cries, a thin voice, my grieving soul
shaken by a panoply of
doubts, I shall lament from the bottom of
my invisible soul the sins I have committed.

You are able, compassionate God, to perform a miracle
with your everlasting might saying,
“Be healed of your soul’s torment,”1
or “May your sins be forgiven,”2
or “Go in peace. You are cleansed of sin.”3
And whatever I do not manage to say at that hour
receive from me today in your love for mankind,
O long-suffering, generous God, who gives life to all.

C

When I, so eloquent now with my haughty voice
and strutting stiff-necked ways,
am laid out a lifeless cadaver, dispossessed
of speech, hands bound, limbs atrophied,
lips sealed, eyes shut, as still as
a board, a half-burnt log,
inert statue, speechless image, breathless being,
pitiful spectacle, deplorable sight,
lamentable form, miserable face,
tear-causing likeness, silenced tongue,
parched grass, petal-less flower,
run-down beauty, extinguished lamp,
deserted throat, devastated heart,
muted trumpet, dry well, wilted body,
festering womb, collapsed tent, broken branch,
separated joint, chopped tree, sawed off root,
abandoned house, harvested field, uprooted plant,
alienated friend, forgotten supplies,
buried filth, cast away trash,
brushed aside clutter, contemptible skeleton,
like some useless thing trodden under foot.

I am needy of the prayers of others,
which rise to you, compassionate doer of good,
with the dew of tears amplifying
the sighs of the faith-filled pleas
of my wretched voice.
Joining in my prayer, they chant
the responsive hymn to you, whom I praise,
the sign of your cross of salvation, which I worship,
the truth of your resurrection, which I believe,4
the revelation of your glory, which I praise,5
the sternness of your judgment, which I confess,
the reprimand of your words, which I fear,6
the guiding companionship of your Holy Spirit,
       which I revere,
the anointing seal of the Lord at last unction,
       which I embrace,
the reigning with you, Lord Jesus,
       for which I pray.7
And though it was abandoned, rejected, cast away,
broken, though it fled, flew, gave way in the tumult of life,
your hope, which is a gift from you,
perseveres as a permanent and indelible reminder.

D

Look with mercy upon me in my doubts and perils,
glorified Son of God, who alone are compassionate
and will pardon, heal, save, protect, renew, restore,
lift up, support,
and create me again in blissful purity.8
Yours is the power, yours is the salvation, and
yours the mercy.
Nothing is impossible for you.9
Yours is might, exaltation, dominion
and kingdom without end, true essence and selfhood,
all-encompassing absolute being,
goodness and light, glorified as Lord,
to which nothing can be added or taken away,
adored in the Holy Trinity with inexplicable mystery
and given thanks forever also in the Holy Trinity
in the same act of worship equally with the same honor,
yesterday, today and forever.10
Amen.
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Notes
  1 ...... Mk. 5:34.

  2 ...... Mt. 9:2, Lk. 7:48.

  3 ...... Lk. 7:50.

  4 ...... 1 Th. 4:14.

  5 ...... Tit. 2:13.

  6 ...... Mt. 7:23, 25:41.

  7 ...... 2 Tim. 2:12.

  8 ...... Ps. 51 (Arm. 50):10.

  9 ...... Lk. 1:37, Gen. 18:14.

  10 ...... Heb. 13:8.