Karen Cotton: The Monday Morning Prayer

 In Return to Center

Hi! My name is Karen. I’m grateful to the Eremos community, and especially to Dianna, for inviting me to share a devotional practice that’s been meaningful to me.

I’ve spent many years with this book— Sounds of the Eternal, A Celtic Psalter: Morning and Evening Prayer. It was written by John Philip Newell. You may be familiar with his work.

I found this book about twenty years ago while wandering through a bookstore in Santa Fe, just looking for something, not sure what, and hoping I would recognize it when I found it. And this is that book! It has been my prayer companion for many years.

Sounds of the Eternal offers morning prayer and scripture for every day of the week. Often I am comforted by the familiarity of the words and the rhythm of the prayers. And often I’m amazed at how, even after all the times I’ve read and prayed each of these prayers, something reaches out to me in a new way. This has been particularly true during difficult times in my life.

Here is the text of Newell’s Monday Morning Prayer:

Happy are those who meditate on wisdom, who reflect in their heart on her ways and ponder her secrets. -Ecclesiasticus 14:20-21


Be still and aware of God’s presence within and all around

Opening Prayer

In the silence of the morning I am alive to the new day’s light, alert to the early stirrings of the wind and the first sounds of the creatures.

In the silence of my heart I hear the yearnings that are in me and the fears, the hopes that rise from within and the doubts that trouble my soul.

In the beginnings of this day, O God, before the night’s stillness is lost to the day’s busyness, open to me the treasure of my inner being that in the midst of this day’s busyness I may draw on wisdom.

Assure me again of my origins in you, assure me again that my true depths are of you.

Scripture and Meditation

‘Let me hear what you will speak when I turn to you in my heart.’-Psalm 85:8

‘The desire for wisdom leads to a kingdom.”-Wisdom 6:20

Prayers of Thanksgiving and Intercession

That truth has been inscribed into my heart and into the heart of every human being, there to be read and reverenced, thanks be to you, O God.

That there are ways of seeing and sensitivities of knowing hidden deep in the palace of the soul, waiting to be discovered, ready to be set free, thanks be to you.

Open my senses to wisdom’s inner promptings that I may give voice to what I hear in my soul and be changed for the healing of the world, that I may listen for truth in every living soul and be changed for the well-being of
the world.

Pray for the coming day and for the life of the world

Closing Prayer

Like an infant’s open-eyed wonder and the insights of a wise grandmother, like a young man’s vision for justice and the vitality that shines in a girl’s face, like tears that flow in a friend bereaved and laughter in a lover’s eyes, you have given me ways of seeing O God, you have endowed me with sight like your own. Let these be alive in me this day, let these be alive in

-J. Philip Newell, Sounds of the Eternal: A Celtic Psalter, Morning and Night Prayer (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002) pp.13-17.

My prayer for you is that you will feel the goodness of the Creator alive in you this day. I encourage you, if you’re looking for a devotional guide, to keep searching. There’s one out there that’s right for you!

May God bless you this day!

Following careers in business, education, and as a volunteer for organizations working to end homelessness and hunger, Karen Cotton earned the Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She enjoys facilitating study groups, listening to her partner play bluegrass music, and playing with her grandchildren. Going on a pilgrimage to the island of Iona off the west coast of Scotland remains a bucket list item for her.

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