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By Willie Elliott

A Simple Prayer That Can Save the World

When I began reading The Book of the Shepherd: The Story of One Simple Prayer, and How It Changed the World, I immediately knew where the story was going, and I knew there would be no twists or surprise endings. Normally, I would say, "Oh, no a contrived plot that a good fifth-grader could figure out." But the idea of the story, that sometimes we search the world over looking for the answer to our problem—whether it be love, security, acceptance or any number of other problems we face in life—only to find the solution to our problem was right at home or in our hearts.

When David is beaten by his father and the town people don't intervene but shout encouragment to the sadistic father, it occurred to me that maybe that is the reason we have so many kids going astray. Don't say, "Oh, that's not typical behavior." In many cases it is typical behavior, and then we expect such boys to grow up and provide love and understanding to their families. Such behavior has to be taught and a good place to start is with love and understanding.

For such a journey we must have other people to push the story along and highlight other aspects of the new way (which is not a new way but the right way not being followed). The three travelers meet a cast of charcters who do indeed exhibit characteristics of the new way. These characters include the Storytller, the Apothecary, the Blind Man and the Alchemist. Each of these people tell a story that intensifies the need to find the new way.

When Joshua must find out if he can bring forth secrets long buried, he, Elizabeth and David find that their great search was over nothing more than what was already inside of them. This is a common theme in literature and one that we must be reminded of again and again lest we forget the lesson and its signifiance.

The prayer is so simple, but it carries so much truth and potential that we should pray the prayer each day. Think of the effect the application of this prayer would have on ordinary people, communities, states and nations. Pray this prayer now:

Make me a channel of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, let me sow pardon
Where there is doubt, let me sow faith
Where there is despair, let me sow hope
Where there is sadness, let me sow joy
Where there is darkness, let me sow light
For it is in giving that we receive
It is pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life
For this is the Law of Substitution

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