30 April 2011

Amish Prayers

I received a wonderful small book in the mail a few weeks ago.  I was extremely excited to crack open this little book because I knew it held within it words of my heart that I have yet to speak but long to say.  The book is called, "Amish Prayers" and is complied by Christian writer, Beverly Lewis.

Ever since I was in Junior High and had the opportunity to go on a family trip to Amish country Pennsylvania, I have been fascinated by the Amish.  I love their simplistic lifestyle and desire to live a life that honors God in everything they do.

In fact, I read this one story about the Amish years before Bennett was born but I have remembered it many years later.  My favorite quote from the article: "As a Mennonite, Katie Martin embraces the teaching of her church, that sick children are gift from God, born to foster compassion and understanding."

This book of Amish Prayers is actually compiled prayers translated from the Amish's original German prayer book, Die Ernsthafte Christenpflicht.  The prayers are words used by the Amish both in personal devotions and collectively as a community.

There is one prayer that recently caught my attention.  It is a prayer for comfort.  I have had two terribly sad situations happen around me.  One situation is the sudden loss of a young man, a son of my Aunt and Uncle's best friends.  The second situation is the diagnosis of a devastating progressive disease of a friend of mine.  My heart has been in mourning for both of these situations, particularly for the people these situations most directly affect.  In both situations, I have pulled out my "Amish Prayers" book to guide me in my prayers for them.

Here is the prayer that has most recently been my own, on behalf of my family and friend:
"O Lord, like your servant David, the fear in my heart is great.  He, too called on you in great need, when his heart quaked and never expected to be happy again.  Look at me, dear Father, and see that it is the same with me.  I sometimes think that there is no hope left to summon.  Oh, how often do I think of these words: Misery has surrounded me, wretchedness has done me in.  I am dismayed that it is so, dear Father, but I know that you understand more than I can tell you, and therefore, I beg you even more, have pity on me.  Comfort me, O Lord!  Amen.

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: Not as the world giveth, give I unto you.  Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  John 14:27

I hope that this book of prayers will be a sort of "Common Book of Prayer" in my own life and that I will continue to use its prayers during those moments when I am grieving, thankful, anxious or peaceful. I love having prayers at my fingertips to read in situations where I find my own words seem to fall sort.

Here's my personal favorite right now, thanking God for a new day:
"O Lord, Almighty God and Heavily Father, you did not give us life and set us in this world merely so we would nourish ourselves with grief and work until we return to the dust from where we came.  Instead, you ordained our lives so that we should fear you and love you, and cleave to you with all our hearts.  Even as your divine grace gave us the day to work, so you gave us the night to rest.  Under your fatherly shield of protection, we have mercifully enjoyed this rest, and for that we humbly praise and bless you with deep gratitude.  Amen."

I'd be Amish if I had any ability could go without the internet, live on a farm and wear no make-up for the rest of my life.  But until then, I'm happy to be praying like one.

Here is my review of the book, "Amish Prayers":  A complimentary copy of this book was given by Bethany House for an honest review. 

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