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Date:
August 2013

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'He speaks of his own sense of brokenness and of giving himself over into the hands of God.'


  Prayers inspired by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Canadian-born poet-songwriter, reflects upon many things and sings often of the fragility of life.

Here’s an extract from one song, 'If it be your will', in which he speaks of his own sense of brokenness and of giving himself over into the hands of God:

“If it be your will
That a voice be true
From this broken hill
I will sing to you
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing
From this broken hill
All your praises they shall ring
If it be your will
To let me sing.”

And so, inspired by Cohen, a prayer…

If it be your will
to let us live in peace
to make us safe
to help us thrive
we will praise you.
If it be your will
to test us with challenges
to let us taste sadness
to make us fear
we will praise you.
If it be your will
to make our dreams come true
to honour all we do
to bless our successes
we will praise you.
If it be your will
to withhold your hand
to leave us standing before silence
to offer nothing
we will praise you.
If it be your will
to give us someone else’s life to hold
to show us a neighbour’s need
to give us mouths to feed
we will praise you.
If it be your will
to show us the possibilities of love
to teach us the ways of truth
to open our hearts to each other
we will praise you.
If it be your will
that this world be changed
that Kingdom come
that love be done
we will praise you.
If it be your will
that we must await your work
that your presence remains elusive
that your will escapes us
we will praise you.
If it be your will
that the Church we love might grow
that the Church we love might go
that the Church become unrecognisable to us
we will praise you.
If it be your will
that worship be offered in ancient words
that songs be written to give fresh voice to praise
that pews be kept or removed
we will praise you.
If it be your will
that my future changes course
that my vocation is reshaped today
that my longing embraces your way
I will praise you.
If it be your will
that my journey now takes a fresh direction
that things I assumed no longer apply
that hopes I once cherished slip away unmet
I will praise you.
If it be your will
that my life be yours
that my plans be yours
that my gifts be yours
I will praise you.
If it be your will
to speak a word I cannot bear to hear
to call me to a stillness I cannot manage
to teach me a lesson I do not want
I will praise you.
If it be your will
to show me love stronger than death
to give me life overflowing
to be absent
I will praise you.
Amen.

 

This reflection and prayer has been written by the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge.

Neil teaches pastoral theology on all the academic programmes and also has particular interests in the visual arts and theology. He is also a contributor to Christian Aid's daily readings.

Visit Christian Aid's daily readings page


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