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An Old Prayer from the African-American Church

O Lord, we come this morning knee bowed and body bent before thy throne of grace. We come this morning Lord, like empty pitchers before a full fountain, realizing that many who are better by nature than we are by practice have passed into that great beyond; and yet you have allowed us your humble servants to plod along just a few days longer here in this howling wilderness. We thank thee Lord that we arose this morning, and that our bed was not a cooling board, and our sheet was not a winding shroud. We are not gathered here for form or fashion, but we come in our humble way to serve thee. We thank thee Lord that we are clothed in our right mind– bless the sick and afflicted– those who are absent through no fault of their own. And when I have done prayed my last prayer and sung my last song, and when I’m done climbing the rough side of the mountain, when I come down to tread the steep and prickly banks of Jordan, meet me with thy rod and staff and bear me safely over. All these things I ask in Jesus’ name, world without end. Amen.

Bibliography: Conversations With God: Two Centuries of African-American Prayers, ed. James Melvin Washington, pp. 56, 145; © 1994, HarperCollins.

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