When I was a student in the 1970s, several times our chaplain used in worship a prayer that had a phrase in it something like “Take the stumbling words we say, and turn them into words of gold.”
The prayer is from Contemporary Prayers for Public Worship (SCM Press, 1967). A group of Congregational ministers compiled this anthology at a time when churches were beginning to use prayers in contemporary language.
It is interesting that this volume was produced especially for the then Congregational Church in England and Wales. Nonconformists were then slightly wary of using “set” prayers, preferring extempore offerings in their services.
The editors acknowledged that the book would be of little direct use to those with fixed liturgies, but the intention was to introduce modern language in prayer.
A three-stanza prayer, it opens:
Holy Spirit, hear us as we pray,
Take the faltering and stumbling words we say
and turn them into songs.
So you will help us give to God
the praise we want to give.
The rest you will need to compile.
(Canon) John Simpson, Hereford
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