In the pantheon of dangerous prayers, this ranks up there for those fools and faithful who know the falseness that comes with too much comfort. It reminds me of Amy Carmichael’s prayer where she prays “from subtle love of softening things, from easy choices – weakenings…”
Francis Drake was an adventurer and essentially a legal pirate who wrote this prayer as he departed Portsmouth on the Golden Hind to raid Spanish gold on the west coast of South America. He ventured at least as far north as the non-Spanish parts of California, claiming it as “New Albion” – New England- and returned to his Queen (the long way – via circumnavigation) with loot worth over a half million pounds sterling, and received his Knighthood for it. I am not sure what there is of his life to laud, other than to recognize the call to dream bigger dreams – “to venture on wilder seas where storms will show Your mastery.”
Pray this if you dare:
Disturb us, Lord
Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show Your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask you to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push back the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.
This we ask in the name of our Captain,
Who is Jesus Christ.
Francis Drake, (1540 – 1596)
There’s power in a dream; but what also disturbs me about Drake’s prayer is Drake’s life: the “dream” he lived out appeared to be in the unquestioned assumptions of exploitation. It is here that Psalm 37:4 is a corrective to the tendency toward narcissistic dreams of self-fulfilment and self-referenced prosperity.
Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart.
Oh – that our delight in the Lord would inform our desires of the heart – this is the dream we can dream with any holy confidence. We might pray then:
Disturb us, Lord when
Our dreams have nothing to do with You; When the desires of our heart have little to do with delighting in You; When we found our dreams too small, for they would not envision You.
Disturb us, Lord toward the vast unexplored oceans of Your grace, of who You are, and of the desires of Your heart.