The Rev. Geoffrey Butcher Priest-in-chargeTrinity Episcopal Church, Russellville

A good spiritual practice is to have a prayer that you say each day to dedicate yourself to God for the day. A prayer like that will give you focus and remind you that each day is a gift from God and an opportunity to live in God's presence and service.

In previous devotionals I have offered some of my favorite daily prayers such as Thomas Merton's that begins, "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you." The prayer goes on to ask God to lead and to help one trust in God rather than to succumb to fear.

Another prayer that is simple and set to music as a hymn was written by St. Richard, Bishop of Chichester, in the thirteenth century.

"Thanks be to thee my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for me.

O most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly, and follow thee more dearly." Some versions add the words, "day by day."

There are many other suitable prayers to help one dedicate the day to God. Here is one by Phillips Brooks who was a 19th Century American Episcopal clergyman and author, and long time Rector of Trinity Church, Boston, and then Bishop of Massachusetts. Friends introduced me to this prayer that I pass on to you as a good prayer for each day.

A Prayer for Today

"O God, give me strength to live another day. Let me not turn coward before its difficulties or prove recreant to its duties. Let me not lose faith in other people. Keep me sweet and sound of heart, in spite of ingratitude, treachery, or meanness. Preserve me from minding little stings or giving them.

Help me to keep my heart clean, and to live so honestly and fearlessly that no outward failure can dishearten me or take away the joy of conscious integrity. Open wide the eyes of my soul that I may see good in all things.

Grant me this day some new vision of thy truth. Inspire me with the spirit of joy and gladness. And make me the cup of strength to suffering souls; in the name of the strong Deliverer, our only Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."