Puritan Prayers: Woman’s Beauty

September 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

God filled the world with beautiful women, and I’m glad He did. Still, as a Christian living in New York City, the beautiful women I see around me pose a challenge.  Sexuality in this culture is not appreciated. It is not cherished. It is consumed. Take one glance down 34th street and you’ll know what I mean.

On second thought, guys, don’t look – just take my word for it.

I’d love to say that it is easy to reject our culture’s common debasement of the feminine mystery.  I can’t. Consumption and lust reach out and whisper promises of fulfillment. But experience puts those promises to rest. All that they offer is pain and separation from God. This prayer explores the struggle between proper appreciation and its corrupted form: lust.

~~~

LORD,

Thou art the source of all beauty,
And the crafter of every good thing.
Thou hast clothed thy creation in splendor,
And lavished thy likeness upon us.
When I see the midnight moon
shine on the cool nights’ relief,
Or feel the sun’s dazzling warmth
as it leaps from watery reflections,
I sense thy presence just around the bend.
Thy beauty baffles, charms, entrances, and allures me;
all that thy hands have made…

Especially woman.

I need no philosophies or theologies to know
that she is the crown of thy creation.

I feel it daily.

Where in an instant her smile softens me with its warmth,
I feel the sting of her eyes
as her complexity fills me with wonder,
and the ache of distance.

Yet I am aware of my wickedness and compulsion.
My flesh would seize hold, distort, and destroy.
I pray thee, guard my eyes from lustful endeavors.
May I always appreciate her beauty,
But never grasp it.
Let thy wonders always move me, silence me,
humble me, and orient me to thy face.
Let the consoling touch of woman’s charm
lead me away from the pit that yawns daily before me,
and nearer to thee.

Let me wonder at thy creation,
And remember its’ Creator.

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