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A Pastoral Prayer

O Shepherd-Lord of rod and staff,

Before thee now we bleat and pray,

Who are the creatures of thy fold,

That thou wilt bring us forth today.

Thou Shepherd, whose strong voice we know,

O guide and lead us in the way

Beside the still, reflective pool,

In sunlit fields to feed and play.

 

There is no shepherd like to thee

Come quiet in the dawning morn:

The one clothed in a shepherd’s cloak,

The fleece of foolish wool has worn.

That we as sheep might each be called

Thou as a poor, dumb sheep wast shorn.

That he might know our every need,

Our Shepherd-King a lamb was born.

 

We are so weak and helpless, Lord;

Before thee now, true sheep are we:

Either to bump them or to stray,

These woolly heads do foolishly.

O thou, who art to us as God,

Do thou in need our helper be.

Come, seek the straying, find the lost,

And gently lead them back to thee.

 

From butting with the horn of pride

Stay with thy rod the haughty rams;

From foolish bleating and from fear

Lead with thy staff the mothered dams;

And in the shelter of thy arms

Bring back the capering, lost lambs;

That we one flock and fold may be,

All named, all gathered by thy hands.

 

O thou, who art the fold’s strong door

And circling wall on Zion’s height,

By day preserve our going out

And show us forth with truth and light.

From wolves, from shades of fear and doubt

A strong protector be by night.

As guard and watch ‘neath sun and moon

So let us hear thy voice of might.

 

Our bleating is but poor return

For all that thou with power divine,

Dost do for us, who many a day

Forgetting thee, in hunger pine.

So often huddled in distress

We have forgotten we are thine.

Thou Shepherd-King, of strength and song,

O let us hear, “These sheep are mine.”