To the right is a nice online tool to focus your mind in prayer. Just click on it to be taken to a site that will walk you through lighting an online candle.
FOR THE NOISE OF A FLY
“When we consider with a religious seriousness the manifold weaknesses of the strongest devotions in time of prayer, it is a sad consideration. I throw myself down in my chamber, and call in and invite God and his angels thither; and when they are there, I neglect God and his angels for the noise of a fly, for the rattling of a coach, for the whining of a door; I talk on in the same posture of praying, eyes lifted up, knees bowed down, as though I prayed to God; and if God or his angels should ask me when I thought last of God in that prayer, I cannot tell: sometimes I find that I had forgot what I was about, but when I began to forget it, I cannot tell. A memory of yesterday’s pleasures, a fear of tomorrow’s dangers, a straw under my knee, noise in mine ear, a light in mine eye, an anything, a nothing, a fancy, a chimera in my brain, troubles me in my prayer. So certainly is there nothing, nothing in spiritual things, perfect in this world.
-John Donne, Sermons, LXXX
In this section of the website you will have access to Prayers from the following Authors: (Click on the author to be taken to their page.)
About our Contributors
James Martineau (1805-1900) was a British Unitarian minister, essayist, educator, and philosopher. He was the brother of the famous Harriet Martineau. Ordained in 1828, he served Unitarian congregations in Liverpool and London, and then returned to his alma mater, Manchester New College, as professor of philosophy and subsequently became principal in 1869. Included in this collection are classic Martineau prayers taken from Orders of Worship For Use in Untarian and Free Christian Congregations (Lindsey Press, 1932) and from the “Services of Religion” in Hymns of the Spirit (Beacon Press, 1937).
Charles Edwards Parks (1873-1962) was the beloved minister of the First Church in Boston for forty years, from 1906 to 1946. Born in India, the son of missionary parents, he was educated at Yale and the University of Chicago Divinity School. He served churches in Geneva, Illinois, and Hingham, Massachusetts, prior to his years at the First Church. The prayers included here are from the booklet, Beginning the Day.
Vivian Pomeroy (1883-1961) was an English Congregationalist minister who became a Unitarian minister in the United States. Born in London, he was a graduate of Mansfield College, Oxford, and served the Greenfield Congregational Church in Bradford, England, from 1911 to 1923. He became minister of the First Parish in Milton, Massachusetts (Unitarian) in 1924, serving until his retirement in 1954. His prayers were widely distributed in three booklets: A Book of Prayers, Hidden Fire, and New Prayers in Old Places.
Harry Murray Stokes is a school teacher in Boston. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and of Harvard Divinity School, he is a member of King’s Chapel and served on their Prayerbook Revision committee. He is a past member of the board of directors of the Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship.
James Freeman Clarke (1810-1888) was a Unitarian minister who served churches in Louisville, Kentucky, and Boston, Massachusetts. His Manual of Unitarian Belief (1884) was widely used as a Unitarian catechism, and is available from the UUCF in the “Unitarian Catechisms” issue of The Unitarian Universalist Christian (Summer/Autumn, 1980).
Judith Hoehler, who edited the Martineau and Park prayers, is minister emeritus of the First Parish in Weston, Massachusetts.