Keep me on track, Lord.
But be gentle.
Your anger would destroy me.
Lately there has been some interest in particular scripture verses as spot prayers. I Chronicles 4:10 has been popularized as The Prayer of Jabez. Supposedly if you say it every day for thirty days, you'll come into some money or something.
You'll have to decide for yourself whether you can (or should try to) manipulate God through repeating certain formulas.
I have found over the past 20 years that saying Jeremiah 10: 23-24 out loud every once in a while has improved my own attitude. Perhaps it has made things better for me and those around me.
As an interfaith prayer, it could be as handy as Francis's "Canticle", which sometimes is chosen for gatherings of people from all the major world religions.
As a scripture verse, it would seem to be a pretty good model prayer, for both good times and bad. Just as an amateur historian, I feel strongly that it is an authetic saying. Its sudden appearance in the Old Testament book is jarring.
Jeremiah had a secretary (Baruch) and the "Book of Jeremiah" looks like his memoirs. Thanks to the secretary, we have a more vivid picture of Jeremiah than of any of the other Old Testament prophets. At the time, the Jerusalem government was pursuing a monumentally stupid foreign policy. Jeremiah prophesied disaster because the people were basically rotten too. The book is full of delightful attacks on the complacency of organized religion, and how it's no substitute for common decency and kindness to one's neighbors.
Unlike Jabez, Jeremiah was never rich. In fact, the government was very unkind to him. How would you like to be imprisoned in a well?
Jeremiah did save (pretty much single-handedly) the religion of Israel and thus the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition. He wrote to the exiles that they could, and should, continue to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, even though the temple no longer existed. Evidently, people finally listened.
I have some reasons to believe that when we pray, we are really dealing with the supernatural. When Jeremiah prayed his prayer, he did not know what he was asking for. He went on trust. But with 20/20 hindsight, it was perfect. We're all in the same situation.
I offer my free translation of "The Prayer of Jeremiah" for your enjoyment and consideration. I could say more but won't.
More on the Prayer of Jeremiah|
Link is now down: Alvin Ens cites Jeremiah's experience and contribution and contrasts it to today's superstitious use of the Prayer of Jabez.
Jeremiah -- Jewish encyclopedia
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