Variation on the “Our Father” Prayer.

I say three prayers to myself on the way to work every morning: the Our Father, the Serenity Prayer and the “Acceptance Prayer” (Alcoholics Anonymous, pg. 449).

The Our Father I say is a variation of the prayer; a personal variation from a variety of retreats, religion classes, prayer, etc.

It is quite simple: Father, let your will be done.  Forgive me and provide for me as I forgive and provide for others.  And lead me not into temptation.

When I am really struggling, the prayer takes on an even more personal tone: Father, let your will be done.  Help me accept others, warts and all as I pray you accept me, warts and all.

Why put this on my website and what is it’s relation to therapy?  I see a lot of people in my office who, after considerable struggle, shame, guilt and fear, confess to having an affair.  Thereafter, few look me in the eye for a while.  Typically, I stop the session, ask them to look at me and tell them that… “I have been in counseling over 10 times in my life and for reasons you don’t know. For all you know, I had an affair myself. I am not here to judge you and found I made the best progress in therapy in the past when I felt the therapist was not judging me. I strive to be such a therapist. I know you feel bad about what you have done but it is what we do with our mistakes that really counts.  Now, let’s talk about your affair and what you have to do to get your life back on track.”

My variation of the Our Father helps me to remember I’m just as human and fallible as the next person and that my theology demands that I forgive that person who has hurt me if I wish to be forgiven.

Please also know…this recognition of my humanness and the need to forgive others if I hope to be forgiven is separate from the hurt and anger a person feels at being betrayed.  Above, I referenced a person having an affair.  I know the person’s spouse was very hurt and angry at this betrayal.  She had a right to her feelings and they needed to be recognized and addressed by her husband.  With time, she was able to forgive him.


More later…..