Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Song for Today


Lord, teach us to pray.

It's been a long and cold December kind of day,

with our hearts and hands all busy in our private little wars.

We stand and watch each other now from separate shores;

we lose the way.

I need to know today the way things should be in my head;

I need to know for once now the things that should be said.

I've got to learn to walk around as if I were not dead;

I've got to find a way to learn to live.


I still get so distracted by the color of my skin;

I still get so upset now when I find that I don't win.

I meet so many strangers; I'm so slow to take them in

I've got to find a way to really live.


I stand so safe and sterile as I watch someone fall flat;

I'm silent with a person who'd like to know just where I'm at.

With the aged and the lonely I can barely tip my hat;

I need to see the sin in "I don't care."


I stand so smug and sure before the people I've out-guessed;

to let them all be who they are I still see as a test.

And when it all comes down to "must," I'm sure my way is best.

I've got to find what "room" means in my heart.


I walk and fall, myself alone, can't tolerate a guide.

And when the camps split up I'm sure to put you on my side

and dare someone to challenge me and swear I will not hide.

I've got to find a better way to live.


I mouth so many things, take so little time to weigh;

I've let it all slip by in the sweep of yesterday.

I can't believe you mean it all to grace me on my way;

I've got to find a way to really live.

Lord, teach us to pray.

We still believe that we can find a better way.

Teach us to pray.

We lose the way.

Teach us to pray.

~Joseph Wise

Note: I have sung, accompanied by my guitar, Joe Wise’s Lord, Teach Us to Pray in almost every Ash Wednesday service I have ever led. Today is Maundy Thursday, not Ash Wednesday; for me, this song is appropriate any day.


  1. Hi Nick ~~ Great song ~ most appropriate, and I signed the petition to stop the violence in Tibet. Sorry you have dental work
    to be done, and I hope Alex will be OK also. Mary Angelou is a great writer, I agree. Take care, Regards, Merle.

  2. Those are nice lyrics!

    Also, thanks for your kind comments on my blog. :D

  3. I remember Joe Wise from when he lived in Louisville. He’s quite an artist. The words and music of this sing have reminded me for years of my need to change my ways. Sometimes I do; often I don’t. But I always need the reminding.

  4. This song is ecumenical! I can see it being sung by Christians, Jews, Muslims, even Hindus. The words are so wonderful.

  5. Nice!

    I like the humility and the recognition that, just maybe, we have lost our way.

    Thank you!

  6. Beautiful song, Mr. Nick. Most appropriate any day, and especially today.

    I will add my name to the petition.

    Have a Happy and Blessed Easter!


  7. Well written. In just a few hours Nick, "It is Finished." Cheers!!

  8. I see a series here, Rev. Saint. Are you doing A Song for Holy Saturday and A Song for Easter, too? Thank for the Joe Wise song. You used to sing this one, too. Joe’s voice and ability to write wonderful songs are amazing. You do know that Joe is another person who has moved from Louisville out here to Arizona? When are you and Alex going to make the move?