Tuesday, August 18, 2009


The religious tradition in which I was raised does not practice any type of liturgical prayer, so I was not exposed to the beauty of it while growing up. But in my readings over the last few years, I've run across references to and quotes from different liturgical prayers or written prayers that are simply beautiful. So, as I usually do, I've been following the book trails. When I read a quote from a prayer that moves me, I track down the work it came from and do my best to acquire it.

When I was reading Barbara Brown Taylor's An Altar in the World, she quoted a line from a prayer that came from a book called Gates of Prayer: for Shabbat and Weekdays, a Jewish prayer book. I've been reading it lately, and came across this beautiful prayer (the italicized portion is the responsive part of the reading):

There are days
when we seek material things,
and measure failure by what we do not own.
On Shabbat we wish not to acquire but to share.

There are days
when we exploit nature with reckless greed.
On Shabbat we stand in wonder before the mystery of creation.

There are days
when we think only of ourselves.
On Shabbat
we open our hearts to the needs of others.

Therefore we welcome Shabbat--
day of rest, day of joy, day of peace.