Sometimes, when we don’t have words to pray, it’s helpful to pray the words of someone else. Not only does this give us the chance to learn how someone else prays (and learn from them), but it allows the Spirit to instil in us that we are not alone in the journey of faith. We have fellow travellers who are further along the journey than us and are able to shout back instructions during particularly difficult seasons. 

Walter Brueggemann has been one such guide for me.

He has shouted prayers from further up the road of faith that has helped me see God in the midst of trials and situations here and now. Though these words may not mean the same thing in each of our lives, the Holy Spirit is nevertheless able to use them in each of our circumstances. Not only that, but by using the same words, the Spirit unifies every traveller with the common words used. 

Today, we pray Brueggemann’s prayer Start Again which was inspired from his reading 1 Samuel 1. Before praying these words you may consider reading 1 Samuel 1 to familiarize yourself with the language used.

Start Again – a prayer by Walter Brueggemann (on reading 1 Samuel 1).
You are the One who has brought our Lord Jesus Christ
       again to life from the dead;
You are the One who by your summoning imperative
       has caused the worlds to be;
You are the One who by your faithfulness
       has given a son to our vexed mother Hannah;
You are the One who has the will and power to begin again,
                                                                           to start anew.
You are the only self-starter whose name we know.
       And so we bid you, start again,
                        start here, start now,
                        start with us and with our school,
                        start with your mercy,
                                    and with your justice,
                                    and with your compassion,
                                    and with your peace.
Make the world new again, and young again, and innocent again…
       Start…before it is too late. Amen.

*Fun fact: Brueggemann first wrote this prayer on February 4, 1999. You can find it (along with many other prayers of his) in “Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth.” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003).

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