This summer I have been working as student assistant for San Francisco Theological Seminary’s doctor of ministry program. This involves daily chapel services, and for this I have spent the past few weeks meditating on Aelred of Rievaulx’s “oratio pastoral” or pastoral prayer. This quote makes me laugh in solidarity: “Wretches that we are, what have we done? What have we undertaken? What were we thinking of? Or rather, sweetest Lord, what were you thinking of regarding us poor wretches?” (Aelred of Rievaulx, “The Pastoral Prayer” in Treatises and The Pastoral Prayer. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications. 1971.) God, don’t you know what a flawed human being I am? Yet you call me to this sacred work?
I’m hoping to use this and other pastoral prayers in a series for the last two weeks of chapel, and I could use suggestions of other pastoral prayers. I’m already looking at Letter From a Birmingham Jail and a prayer/poem sometimes called the “Romero Prayer” by Bishop Ken Untener of Saginaw.