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Weekly Prayer #1

November 7th, 2006 by Jason · 6 Comments

I decided today, after reading Lee’s post about Praying with St. Francis, that I want to start memorizing prayers written by others. My goal is a prayer a week from The Oxford Book of Prayer. I’ve been going through the OBP for six months now and find it one of the best aids to my spiritual life in a long time. Anyhow, here’s the prayer for this week:

Hymn to God the Father

Wilt thou forgive that sinn where I begunn,
Which is my sinn, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive those sinns, through which I runn,
And doe them still, though still I doe deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
for I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sinn, by which I have wonne
Others to sinn, and made my sinn their dore?
Wilt Though forgive that sinn which I did shunne
A yeare, or twoe, but wallowed in a score?
When thou hast done, thou has not done,
for I have more.

I have a sinn of fear, that when I have spunn
My last thred, I shall perish on the shore;
Sweare by thy selfe that at my Death thy Sunn
Shall shine as it shines nowe, and heretofore;
And having done that, thou hast done,
I have noe more.
—John Donne, 1572-1631

I like just about anything by John Donne because his prayers are so much like poetry, they flow, they double back on themselves, they play. This prayer, though, grabs me most strongly in the last stanza. His fear is my fear as well: that faith will turn out empty in the end. And so he prays about it and stakes his hope on God’s faithfulness. Also, as a sidenote, it’s a bit strange for me to think that John has already proceeded to that shore and has (hopefully) made good on the oath he asked of God—that comforts me in an odd sort of way.

Tags: prayers · theology

6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 greg // Nov 13, 2006 at 9:56 am

    why do you pray?

  • 2 isaac // Nov 14, 2006 at 6:52 pm

    Greg, that is a great question. Thanks for asking it. I also look forward to read how Jason answers it.

  • 3 blip » Why Do You Pray? // Nov 21, 2006 at 9:45 pm

    [...] On my first weekly prayer post Greg asked “Why Do You Pray?” It’s a good question and one that’s been flitting around my head for the past couple of years. I’m sure I’ve read and been taught plenty on this subject over the years, but I don’t remember much of it. So, to answer that question I’m going to put down the the gut-level answers of why I pray. I don’t have a watertight, theological answer—I’ve heard many growing up and found none particularly convincing. At this point it’s just my story of how I came to pray and why I still do it. [...]

  • 4 Rob Campbell // Jan 7, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    I pray to cleanse my soul of impurity and find strength.

    Because I pray everyday, I like to mix it up and use different prayers and scare prayers and rare prayers that maybe God hasn’t heard in a while…

    I have found a good stock of really rare and valuable prayers available free online at
    and I have even downloaded the audio prayers – they’re excellent.


  • 5 Jason // Jan 11, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Rob, thanks for pointing out that site—it looks like a great resource.

  • 6 Ashes and Dust // Feb 5, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    [...] of life. In fact, our denial of our mortality and our need to repent are interlinked. John Donne, in a hymn that wanders through the various ways in which sin infects his life concludes his prayer with these [...]