Disturb Us, Lord

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Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

I’ve seen different versions of this prayer in different places online, and was surprised to learn that it’s attributed to Sir Francis Drake, an explorer who sailed around the world, knighted in England, considered a pirate by others, a ship’s captain, a politician, a slave trader. All of that makes the prayer controversial in some circles–how can we pray the words of such a man? Others say the words and phrasing are too modern, that the prayer just can’t be from the 16th century, that the references to the sea are the only link to Sir Francis Drake. For the most part, though, the prayer is simply taken at face value, and that’s how I pray it today. Disturb¬† me, Lord, to dream and dare more boldly, and find the stars.



Categories: Spiritual Practice

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3 replies

  1. First time I’ve seen this prayer – at first thought it was something you wrote! I’ll pray today as well at face value. Beautifully written! Judy

  2. yes, a beautiful prayer, and here is a version of it adapted by Archbishop Desmond Tutu: http://godspace.wordpress.com/2012/03/02/disturb-us-o-lord-a-prayer-by-desmond-tutu-4/

  3. I think I just smelled a salty breeze, and I wonder..