A central theme in the prayer life of Soren Kierkegaard was to will one thing. Born in Copenhagen in the early 19th Century (1813-1855), he was considered a “first rate philosopher,” and yet, was a person of deep prayer. Kierkegaard exercised a “loving rationality” and worked to integrate faith with the issues of the day through his volumes of novels, plays, essays, books, and prayers.
Here is a sample that is worthy of reflection and devotion. It ends with a allusion to the incident in I Samuel 5, when the idol Dagon, the fish-god-father of Baal, was found fallen and broken at the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Contemplate what it means to “die every day” (I Corinthians 15:31) and why Kierkegaard would connect this to the event of I Samuel 5.
Father in Heaven! What are we without You!? What is all that we know, vast accumulation though it be, but a chipped fragment if we do not know You! What is all our striving, could it ever encompass a world, but a half finished work if we do not know You: You are the One, who is one thing and who is all!
So may You give to the intellect, wisdom to comprehend that one thing; to the heart, sincerity to receive this understanding; to the will, purity that wills only one thing. In prosperity may You grant perseverance to will one thing; amid distractions, collectedness to will one thing; in suffering, patience to will one thing.
You that gives both the beginning and completion, may You early, at the dawn of day, give to the young the resolution to will one thing. As the day wanes, may you give to the old a renewed remembrance of their first resolution, that the first may be like the last, the last like the first, in possession of a life that has willed only one thing…
Lord! Make our heart Your temple in which You live. Grant that every impure thought, every earthly desire might be like the idol Dagon – each morning broken a the feet of the Ark of the Covenant. Teach us to master flesh and blood and let this mastery of ourselves be our bloody sacrifice in order that we might be able to say with the Apostle: “I die every day.”
Source: Devotional Classics, Ed, Richard Foster, James B Smith, Renovare