Sunday, June 09, 2013

Sunday Song

Joe Wise’s wonderful song, Lord, Teach Us to Pray, is the one that I have probably placed in liturgies I've written and sung as a solo, accompanied by my guitar, more often in worship services during my years of ministry than any other. With my mobility rather restricted today, I took my guitar out of its case and began playing and singing. Suddenly I found myself so drawn to the message and music of Lord, Teach Us to Pray that I must have played and sung it a dozen times in a row.
Joe Wise lived in Louisville for about 55 years, most of the time not too far from where I now live. He is a folk singer of my generation, song writer, artist (painter) and one of the first Catholic writers and singers of “contemporary” Christian music. He has earned four degrees in Philosophy, Theology, Education, and Counseling and Guidance. About 12 or so years ago he relocated to Arizona, where he now lives. I urge you to visit Joe at his web site and learn more about this most remarkable man.

During those dozen or so times I played and sang Lord, Teach Us to Pray, I was recorded on cassette tapes several times. I actually didn't sound too bad! However, Joe Wise sounds much, much better than me. So I shall share the voice of Joe Wise singing his song:

I also want to share with you the message of this moving song, especially with those such as I once was, who have lost their way, standing and watching each other now from separate shores:
Lord, Teach Us to Pray
Joseph Wise
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.

You can listen to or download Joe singing more of his songs here.

Or, perhaps you would like to purchase Joe Wise's music:

Have a blessed Sunday, my friends.


  1. o wow teach me to pray luv this

  2. I need to learn to pray, too. Thank you.

  3. Thank you Nick, as a dutch person i had never heard this and i think it is very good. Love Elka