For Spiritual Concentration
God, help my thoughts!
They stray from me,
setting off on the wildest of journeys.
When I am in church,
they run off like naughty children,
quarrelling and making trouble.
When I read the Bible,
they fly to a distant city,
filled with temptations.
My thoughts can cross an ocean with a single leap.
They can fly from earth to heaven and back again,
in a single second.
They come to me for a fleeting moment,
and then away they flee.
No chains, no locks can hold them back.
No threats of punishment can restrain them.
No hiss of a lash can frighten them.
They slip from my grasp like tails of eels.
They swoop hither and thither like swallows in flight.
Dear Holy Christ, who can see every heart
and read every mind:
Take hold of my thoughts.
Bring my thoughts back to me,
and clasp me to yourself. Amen.
The book I am using cites this as a Celtic prayer. Those Celts seem to have been wise, honest, fun folk.
(This appears in a book called This Day: A Wesleyan Way of Prayer by Laurence Hull Stookey.)