Please God, don’t let me screw everything up too badly, Amen.

“Please God, don’t let me screw everything up too badly, Amen.”



Firstly I must acknowledge the theologian who wrote this prayer. Throughout church history priests and ministers have relied on others to write liturgy and prayers for them, and we at the Melbourne Welsh Church are no different. Today I wish to thank my twitter friend Jen Munroe-Nathans (@funnypreacher) for our prayer for the week. The style and content of this simple, yet deeply profound prayer, lend itself to how I’m feeling as we approach Lent. I really don’t want to screw everything up! (Again.)


I don’t know why people automatically assume that those of us who ‘wear our collars back to front’ know everything there is to know about God, what he wants and what everyone should be doing to please him. Let me give you all a massive hint here – WE DON’T! We struggle to keep our own eyes on God and I’ve got no idea what he wants from me most of the time. Please don’t think the be-collared of the world have a more direct line to the Almighty than you, as I’ve said, WE DON’T!


How often have I heard “but you’re a minister” when people ask me a God question that I can’t answer straight away? And how often have I heard “and you’re a minister?” when something goes wrong and I make my feelings known in words of not many letters?


Through leading worship (and through directing the church community) we (the clergy honest enough to admit it) realise how much we don’t know, and also how often we don’t know it! We are just as prone to mistakes as everyone else. The ability to really screw things up doesn’t stop when the clerical collar is done up, and all we can do is say this little prayer and try (with God’s help) to do our best.


All of us (in and out of the Church, clergy and non-clergy) get things wrong from time to time, it’s human nature, it’s part of who we are. Just because we’re believers does not mean we are exempt from stupidity, (in some cases I think it actually heightens it).


All we can do is remember we aren’t the first followers of Jesus to mess things up – the Gospels have a few stories (usually involving a guy named Peter) who was a champion at screw ups. He was so good at it that Christ tells him off at least twice and also saves him from drowning when he thought he was a better synchronised swimmer than he was. * I can imagine Peter using this prayer almost as often as I do.


Yet, it was this same Peter that Jesus used as the rock on which he would build the Church. This mistake prone, loud mouthed idiot was one of those that J.C. used to spread the Gospel. This screw up that was sent to bear the most important message the world has ever heard – the good news of the grace and love of God; yes, even for the screw ups of this world, maybe even especially for the screw ups of this world.


So, people of the Church, we’re in good company when we mess things up. So join Jen and MeĀ  and countless others who live their lives, do their work, spread the Gospel and say this prayer all the time –


“Please God, don’t let me screw everything up too badly, Amen.”


* Matthew 16 v 23, Matthew 17 v 7 & Matthew 14 v 29.

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