Those who know that I am a liturgical freak may be surprised to know that I sometimes venture to tinker with the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer in my personal daily office. I know! Horrors!
The first time I can remember doing this is with the confession. “There is no health in us” struck me as ignoring that the Holy Spirit indwells believers and works to conform them to Christ’s righteousness. In that respect, we do have health in us. So I changed it to “There is no health in us apart from you” for a time.
I’m more comfortable with the original now, but still throw in an “apart from you” from time to time.
More recently, I became so provoked by the direction of the federal government that I felt our situation and my concern was not adequately addressed by my usual prayer from Morning Prayer:
O LORD our Governor, whose glory is in all the world; We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and to all in Authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness; and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.
So I added the following clause after “in thy fear”:
But as for those who stiffen the neck and continue to pursue evil, I pray that you would thwart their evil efforts, remove them from power, and replace them with better men and women.
This leaves room for repentance as well as honest mistakes since “stiffen the neck and continue to pursue evil” implies a continual refusal to repent or listen to God as one willfully pushes an evil agenda. And I think this addresses the issue of evil men in power without getting overly imprecatory about it.
I’ve been praying this for some months now.
Now I am not recommending that for public prayer (but am not discouraging it either). But this careful tinkering has enriched my personal prayer.
Don’t be too hard on me.