A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say

A Prayer That I Hope Many More Can Say June 8, 2013

After I came to AA in September 1976, I began to assemble a litany of morning prayers as a tool for maintaining myself in a fit spiritual condition. I began that litany with the “Lord’s Prayer,” the “Our Father,” the Paternoster, because I know it is a truly Jewish prayer, as taught by that tragic Rabbi. I have found every thought in it stated in other words somewhere in the Talmud.

AA is a simple program, simple but not easy. All you need to do is change yourself, change everything you have ever consisted of, down to the last farthing. You see, I died on that night of September 11, 1976, and murdered five of my friends, by plunging off the San Francisco Bay Bridge. That did happen—in that other history in which, when I opened the box, I saw that the cat was dead. In this history, while I was in a blackout, Hermes, my guardian angel, drove us safely home. The old Aidan died that night. The new Aidan did not inherit any of his debts.

This morning, on our back porch, with my first cigarette and my first cup of coffee, I began to wonder what the words “kingdom” and “power” and “glory” mean. What did they mean to him? What should they mean now? There’s little point to praying in words whose meaning one does not know.

I’ve tried before to rewrite the “Lord’s Prayer” into a prayer for Pagans. This morning other words began to drop into my mind, like raindrops raising ripples on a pond, adding phrase by phrase that many people besides Pagans might not be afraid to say.

Who am I to offer you a prayer? After I was hired to teach at Holy Family College, I said to Wayne, my mentor, “Me? Teach Roman Catholic nuns?”  He repled, “Who better?” So I capitulated.


A Prayer to the Holy Family

 Our Father and Mother,
Daughter and Son,
Who live within and among us,
Blessed be your names.
Help us change how we think
That your will may be done
In all that we do and say.
Give us what we need
One day at a time.
Heal our shortcomings
And give us the strength
To do what it right,
To admit it when we are wrong,
And to make amends
To those we have harmed.
It is you who rule us all,
Who protect us from evil,
Who do for us
What we cannot do for ourselves.
Let us always be aware
Of your presence among us
And love all whom we can.
Amen. Selah. So mote it be.


Go ahead and use the names of whatever Gods are for you Father, Mother, Daughter, Son: Zeus, Hera, Artemis, Apollo, Jesus, Sophia, Krishna, Shakti. Call them by name, for they are Persons who are more yourself than you are, who care about you. They are not vague forces who exist in the sky, for now we know how big the sky is: it goes on forever. The Gods have no pride; that is a human illness. They will come to you no matter what name you call them by—as long as you call. As for you monotheists, remember that One and Many are merely human distinctions, of no interest whatsoever to the Gods. All Gods are One God, and the One God is many Gods, just as you are simultaneously not different from the divine and yet are truly yourself. I know. I felt that.

If you do not pray, if you do not know how to pray, then you live in poverty, and you are poverty. But you can change, if you choose to change. I hope you can have the humility to say this prayer and mean what you say. As C. S. Lewis wrote, humility does not mean being humiliated. Humility is merely knowing that you are not the one who is running the universe.



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