The God Squad: More bedtime stories without the fear of death

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Your columns on childhood prayers are a delight and at times downright poignant, and I enjoy them very much. I wish I could offer my own but by the time I came along (no. 5), my parents, God rest their souls, were probably praying harder than I. Anyway, as we get older and, hopefully, wiser, many of us begin asking questions, some of which are considered heretical. But we’re old (I’m 76), so we really don’t care.

Here’s a prayer from the United Methodist Hymnal (597) that I often begin my day with. The only attribution is “Prayer from Kenya.”

For the Spirit of Truth

From the cowardice that dares not face new truth,

from the laziness that is contented with half-truth,

from the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,


Good Lord, deliver me. Amen.

Thank you for your good words and works. -- (From D from Hattiesburg, Mississippi

A: Thank you, dear D, for your courageous prayer. What I particularly love about your prayer is that it connects praying with the search for truth and with the great obstacles to the search for truth which are indeed cowardice, laziness, and arrogance.

We often think of prayer as a search for some reward from God. However, that sought reward is often a gift that we are best advised to seek for ourselves through hard work and not through petitions from God.


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