Praying Leunig’s Prayer in our Time of Crisis

Last week I thought I was finished with Leunig’s Prayer. Not finished in terms of living it out, of course, but finished in my line-by-line journey through it. Then the world suddenly became a whole lot scarier. The Corona virus (Covid-19) was declared a pandemic. The number of cases in South Africa began a steady and steep climb. Borders were closed. Flights were cancelled. Social distancing became the new catch-phrase. All my networks and groups were flooded with information and advice on the virus, and my most used emoji was the mask face because it was relevant to just about every discussion (Corona being almost the sole topic of conversation). It began to dawn on me then that Leunig’s prayer could be a blessing and an anchor when applied to this time of crisis. So, I’m revisiting it one last time as a springboard to my own prayer in these uncertain times. May we draw out a few more gems of understanding as we face these uncertain times together. Continue reading

And to Let the Heart Create for Us – Leunig Prayer (5)

Our journey through Leunig’s Prayer draws to a close on this, the final line of the prayer: And to let the heart create for us. It’s the line that evokes the most resounding ‘yes!’ in my soul. Yet, I believe it comes at the end of the prayer for a reason, which is that every other line before it enables us to develop and embrace our own creative heart. Continue reading

To Allow Emptiness – Leunig Prayer (4)

Empty. Vacant. Unfilled. Barren. Void. Hollow. The list in my Thesaurus goes on, but I don’t need any more words to tell me that emptiness in any form is one I’d rather avoid. I’d rather have a full stomach, than an empty one; a built house, than a vacant plot; a full room of friends, than an unfilled one; a fertile womb, than a barren one; a life of meaning, than one void of purpose. Continue reading

To Look Softly – Leunig Prayer (3)

To Look Softly. As I take a a journey through Leunig’s simple, 5-line prayer, I come to this slightly obscure line. What would it mean to look softly on the world? Whereas the first line, God, Help me to Live Slowly and the second To Move Simply, were not necessarily easy to put into practice, at least I understood my goals: slow down; simplify. But this—look softly—seems a little baffling when I approach it with my intellect. I see the way I see, don’t I? Is it even possible to change the way one perceives the world? This line of the prayer tells me that not only is it possible, it is also necessary because there are places in my life where I do the opposite of soft-looking.

Too often I look hard. Continue reading

To Move Simply – Leunig Prayer (2)

On the 2nd leg of my journey through Leunig’s prayer, I have a few confessions to make. That’s because this might be the most challenging line of the prayer for me and it uncovers some uncomfortable truths about myself.
Whereas the 1st part of Leunig’s prayer was a petition to live slowly, the 2nd is to move simply. Continue reading

God Help me to Live Slowly: Leunig Prayer (1)

Last year I came across a short prayer, written and illustrated by the cartoonist, Michael Leunig. The prayer’s shortness and simplicity allowed it to reverberate through my heart often. I remembered it and mulled over it, and eventually—when I realised it was one of the most profound prayers I’d ever prayed—tried to live into it. Continue reading