Give Us, O Lord

Last week I put a new song up on youtube, and I thought I’d follow it up here with some of the inspiration behind it. The song is based on a prayer of Thomas Aquinas (who lived from 1225-1274 according to Wikipedia) that I first found in a book called Worship Resources for the Christian Year (published in 1954 and found on the glorious shelves of Powell’s Books in Portland, OR). Something about the prayer stuck with me as I first read it, and since then I’ve spent a fair amount of time meditating on it. A few years after discovering it, we decided we’d like it to be visible somewhere and my awesome graphic-designer wife picked a font and made a vinyl decal for it. It was on our wall in our living/dining room for the last 4 years in our house in Lethbridge and although it became easy to ignore most days, I still enjoyed taking the time to ponder the words and let it become my prayer.

The prayer for our wall in Lethbridge (which we also pluralized)
The prayer for our wall in Lethbridge (which we also pluralized)

I think there’s something about words of generations before us that have survived – great books, stories, poetry, prayers, songs – and there is something that can help form us as it pulls us outside of our immediate context. I chose to modify it a bit when putting the prayer in song form – singular to plural (as I love to be reminded that we sing together and not just as a group of present individuals), thee to you, and a few other words added to make the cadence simpler to sing. I also added a bridge (or some kind of “C” song section) which I found a good reminder of why we ask God to draw our attention and desires to Him. As with some other prayers and songs, I think there’s something that could lean towards selfishness in it if we don’t understand the bigger picture. It’s mostly about us. I usually try to avoid too much of that in writing congregational worship songs, but I do think there is a good place for this kind of voice in moderation. God’s story hits us in the centre of who we are and invites us into the fullness of what it is to be loved and to love. There is much to praise God for in who is is and what he has done in and of him/itself, but we can also come and ask God to shape us and draw us to himself. It’s been a prayer for me and my family for these past years, and it will continue to be something I revisit often, so I thought I’d also turn it into a song for others to join in on. This recording was quick and rough, but I promise there’s a good one coming soon on the album I’m just starting to work on.

I quite like it, and I hope you do to.