Tag Archives: frightening

Frail is My Vessel, and the Ocean is Wide

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Thursday, October 22, 2015

St. Augustine icon

Frail is My Vessel, and the Ocean is Wide

I live in the middle of North America, and far from either coast. Yet, I live near one of the largest inland lakes—Lake Michigan. Since I was a child, I have been intrigued by stories, poems and other writings about ships, boats and other vessels. Yes, I have been on smaller boats. Yet, not in a storm. I only vaguely understand how frightening that must be.

This prayer moved me deeply. It uses the continuing metaphor of the people of God traveling “the tempestuous sea of this mortal life.” I know a little about boats, and I would like to learn more. Yet, I can well understand feeling tempest-tossed in the middle of a rough storm.

Today’s prayer is about Protection. This prayer is attributed to St. Augustine (354-430). It comes under the section “Deliver Us from Evil.” (Prayer 413, page123) [1] What follows is a portion of this prayer:

“Watch over us who are still in our dangerous voyage; and remember such as lie exposed to the rough storms of trouble and temptations. Frail is our vessel, and the ocean is wide; but as in Thy mercy Thou hast set our course, so steer the vessel of our life toward the everlasting shore of peace, and bring us at length to the quiet haven of our heart’s desire, where Thou, O our God, are blessed, and livest and reignest for ever and ever.

Lord, I am in the middle of this dangerous voyage (or trip), as Augustine says. (Even though it is on land, in my case.) Oh, don’t I know about the various troubles and temptations that beset me! I know, full well, what a frail vessel—or casing—in which my soul is contained. Yes, Lord, the ocean—this world—is wide. Dangerous, full of rocks on which I might very well come to grief.

Dear God, thank You that You are steering me towards safe harbor and a quiet haven. I know I am not there yet. However, You have promised to remain at my side. With me, beside me on this dangerous voyage. Thank You for Your company, Your presence, Your protection. Thank You for Augustine and his promise that You will bring us to our heart’s desire. Lord, in Your mercy, hear my prayer.


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Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] The Oxford Book of Prayer, edited by George Appleton. (New York: Oxford University Press, reissued 2009), 123.

Isaiah 40, George Frederick Handel, and the Good Shepherd

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Jesus the Good Shepherd icon John 10

Isaiah 40, George Frederick Handel, and the Good Shepherd

I love Isaiah 40. I really do. So, when I saw that today’s daily lectionary reading was from that chapter, I rejoiced! What a wonderful set of verses from Isaiah.

This doesn’t always happen to me, but it did tonight as I read verses 9 to 11. As I went through the passage, I immediately, vividly heard arias from “The Messiah” in my head. One of my all-time favorite Baroque oratorios, by George Frederick Handel. I prefer the contralto aria “O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion” to the aria “He shall feed His flock.” But, that’s just me. Both lovely pieces of music. From a simply gorgeous oratorio.

But, I’m not here to gush over Handel and “The Messiah.” (Even though I could.) I wanted to talk about how verse 11 struck me as encouraging. Caring. Comforting. Even, maternal. I know that, sometimes, stuff happens. Life happens. Horrible, incredibly sad, terribly frightening things happen. But even though stuff happens, I recognize that God is right there with us, going through it all, at our sides.

It may not seem fair. Sometimes, the last things in the world that comes to mind are fair play, decency, honesty, and even-handedness. It just ain’t happening.

But, God is there, through it all. I suspect shepherds were (maybe still are) used to leading their sheep and lambs through some pretty dangerous stuff. Even simply being—surviving—can strain a person’s resiliency. That’s one reason why God has us humans interrelate: as an encouragement and support to each other.

So, God. I am asking: could You hold me gently in Your arm for a while? I am particularly tired. And discouraged. Thanks for understanding. You’re the best. (Really and truly!)


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And read #40acts sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .