Pastoral Prayer (1956)
prayer of Martin Luther King, Jr.
A PASTORAL PRAYER (1956)
O God, our Heavenly Father, we thank thee for this golden privilege to
worship thee, the only true God of the universe. We come to thee today,
grateful that thou hast kept us through the long night of the past and
ushered us into the challenge of the present and the bright hope of the
future. We are mindful, O God, that man cannot save himself, for man is not
the measure of things, and humanity is not God. Bound by our chains of sins
and finiteness, we know we need a Savior. We thank thee, O God, for the
spiritual nature of man. We are in nature, but we live above nature. Help us
never to let anybody or any condition pull us so low as to cause us to hate.
Give us strength to love our enemies and to do good to those who despitefully
use us and persecute us. We thank thee for thy Church, founded upon thy Word,
that challenges us to do more than sing and pray, but go out and work as
though the very answer to our prayers depended on us and not upon thee. Then,
finally, help us to realize that man was created to shine like stars and to
live on through all eternity. Keep us, we pray, in perfect peace, help us to
walk together, pray together, sing together, and live together until that day
when all God's children, Black, White, Red and Yellow will rejoice in one
common band of humanity in the kingdom of our Lord and our God, we pray, Amen.
- Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), as collected by James Melvin
Washington in CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD: TWO CENTURIES OF PRAYERS BY AFRICAN
AMERICANS. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994, p. 190.
Have a great week,
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary