When I was a young priest, I heard a much older and wiser priest say something that changed my life. He told me that when rising from his bed each morning, he always said the following prayer: “Abba, I belong to you.” I adopted the practice, and now, I too say the prayer.
It is such a simple prayer, really. And yet, it sets everything and everybody in a proper perspective. Before beginning the day, it allows me to right-size myself and my day. The prayer urges me to recognize that I am not the center of the universe. God is. The prayer helps me to understand that, despite the urgent cares and concerns of the impending day, all that I am and all that I do is ultimately subsumed in the Eternal One who lovingly claims me as his child. The prayer reminds me that just as God has adopted me into a royal household, so God also claims all living creatures as well. And thus, all creatures have the right to say the same prayer.
I wonder what the world would be like if all of God’s creation, and especially those of us created human, said this prayer each morning. I wonder how different things would be if we actually treated each other with the full recognition that God has included and is, indeed, embracing all, this day and every day. And I wonder what would happen if we allowed this prayer to become more than prayer, if we allowed the prayer to transform our lives, at least for the day. That’s a whole lot of wondering. Perhaps I should just stick with the prayer… Abba, I belong to you.