Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A thought, and a prayer.

In the movie "The 13th Warrior", we are introduced to an banished Arab bureaucrat sent north as an ambassador to the Scandinavian tribes of northern Europe. In the adventure that follows, the man is transformed from a bookworm and showoff into a dedicated fighter, a warrior, a man of courage. 

Faced with what certainly looked to be his final battle, the man stepped to one side and uttered these words in quiet prayer: 

"Merciful Father.... I have squandered my days with plans of many things.

This was not among them. But at this moment, I beg only, to live the next few minutes well. For all we ought to have thought and have not thought... All we ought to have said and have not said. All we ought to have done and have not done. I pray thee, God for forgiveness."

Yes, it is written by american screen writers (William Wisher Jr. & Warren Lewis), for a Muslim character, fighting along side Scandinavian Odinists.

Yes, it probably has little theological research to it.

And yes, it might well fly in the face of a strict reading of the Koran, the Pentituke (Jewish holy text), and/or the bible.

But I have never held myself above being inspired by others outside my faith, and I can not get past the poetic beauty of the words. This is not ceremony, this is not formality, this is not asking for a miracle.

This is asking the Almighty to help you do what has to be done, to live the life that needs living, to see through to the end what was begin so long ago.

Is it a "deathbed" prayer?

Perhaps, but perhaps not.

I choose to see it as something worth saying when other words fail me.

For my purposes, I have elected to personalize the sentiment slightly, and am going to use this to help me refocus myself in the times to come.

"Merciful Father, 

At this moment, I ask only to live the next few minutes well, and to be the person that is needed for your will. 

For all we ought to have thought and have not thought.

All we ought to have said and have not said. 
All we ought to have done and have not done. 
I pray thee, God for forgiveness. 


1 comment:

  1. So, background: I currently play piano and lead the singing at a pair of Lutheran churches. As part of our liturgy, we have a portion of time set aside for Confession and Forgiveness.

    Basically, the last portion of his prayer, "For all we ought..." is in the Confession, which I can't recall verbatim off the top of my head, but of which part of it reads, "[Forgive us for] things we have done, and things we have failed to do." Just an interesting note that I had never taken account of before.