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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer of Augustine: “Be the joy of my heart”

Here’s another simple and simply beautiful prayer from St. Augustine. In his role as Bishop (pastor) for the church in Hippo, North Africa, Augustine became a great defender of right doctrine and right practice of Christian faith. All this theological work grew out of personal pastoral concerns that mattered to the everyday lives of his congregation. This prayer reflects the intimate, personal friendship that Augustine had with God. We think of him as a great thinker – he was. But above all he knew God and God’s love and grace. And this, more even than right belief was what he desired for those he led.

Read this prayer first as a “refresher course” for your soul; then read it a second time directing the words to God. Finally, take a time of silence and wait as the Holy Spirit registers your appeal, then responds.

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O God, the Light of the heart that sees You,

The Life of the soul that loves You,

The Strength of the mind that seeks You:

May I ever continue to be steadfast in Your love.

Be the joy of my heart;

Take all of me to Yourself, and abide therein.

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The house of my soul is, I confess, too narrow for You.

Enlarge it that You may enter.

It is ruinous, but do repair it.

It has within it what must offend Your eyes;

I confess and know it,

But whose help shall I seek in cleansing it but Yours alone?

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To You, O God, I cry urgently.

Cleanse me from secret faults.

Keep me from false pride and sensuality

That they not get dominion over me.

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