Berrigan on Prayer

This quote caught my attention today:

And then there is the question of prayer, which consists for the most part in inisiting that God do for us what we are unwilling to do for one another. Resolve: Let’s do for one another what we would have God do for all. This is known as God-like activity.

-Daniel Berrigan, SJ

I love this quote because it is a challenge to become the answer to our prayers, rather than allow our prayers to take the place for ourselves taking responsibility and action. Not that we can always take action on every prayer, yet there are many prayers we utter that we never intend to act upon. For instance, this is a good thing to have in mind as we say the Lord’s Prayer, and in fact, this idea is inscribed into the prayer itself: “Forgive us our debts, as we have also forgiven our debtors.” When we pray for daily bread, we are confessing our responsibility to act as givers of daily bread as well, rather than hoarders or takers of bread. Let us resolve to follow Berrigan’s suggestion for God-like activity.

Published by Wess Daniels

Teacher, author, Quaker, ​and public theologian. Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College.

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