By way of Expla Web view We take for granted the simple things in life, like the ability to breathe;

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a little book of UNCOMMON PRAYER an aussie bloke talking to God William edward oates

Teacher | Emmaus College | North Rockhampton Queensland 4701 | 2017

By way of Explanation…

This ‘little book’ is a collection of conversations (prayers) with God. Some of them are prayers that I say regularly, others irregularly (like once only) and others are meditations based on scripture (lectio divina) or formal prayers said in the Anglican ‘Prayer Book for Australia’, and more than a few are poems or words from songs…

Talking with God can be as easy as saying hello…thanks for waking me up!

I’m always grateful when my eyes open in the morning and I am still in the land of the living. A simple thankyou is the least I can say.

So… I set myself the task of writing at least one record of a conversation with God a week (ok a prayer as well) for the next ten weeks; a term’s worth.

I suppose it is like a travel diary, a record of some of the places and situations I find myself in, and what I said, or should have said to God about it.


I love using cartoons in my teaching, as they tend to say what I want the students to understand in a way that would take me a whole lesson. I teach in a Catholic College and staff are encouraged to pray with the students before we send them out to lunch. As an Aboriginal bloke I have always taught my children to thank the creatures who died to keep us healthy. This cartoon says that. My prayer of thanks before I eat follows:

Our Father God

Thank you for the food we are about to eat

We ask that it bless our bodies

We thank the creatures Lord

Who forfeited their lives to sustain ours…

Be with all our children and their children

Keep them all safe and well

You know their concerns, their fears, and their joys

We commit them to you

Asking that you be merciful

And turn their hearts towards you

In Jesus name we pray


A blessing sometimes said as our Anglican Church congregation ends the Sunday service is a final admonition to the congregation; it is also great to say at the beginning of any day. When I remember, I say it to myself as I drive to work.

Go forth into the world in peace

Be of good courage

Hold fast to that which is good

Render to no one evil for evil

Strengthen the faint hearted

Support the weak

Help the afflicted

Give honour to all

Love…and serve the Lord

Rejoicing in the power of the Holy Spirit

And the blessing God almighty

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit

Be with us and remain with us always



We take for granted the simple things in life, like the ability to breathe; we forget sometimes, it is God, who holds our breath in his hands. We breathe because we live and move and have our very being in him.

Master, in the business of life we forget that you are with us

In the mundane of our daily experiences

We forget that you are walking along side us

Is it rude to ignore you like this?

On the other hand, do you understand human forgetfulness?

I reckon you do Lord for you walked in flesh and blood

Like us, you did everyday things

You went to the toilet, picked your nose

Washed yourself and grew tired at the end of the day

That is what makes believing in you so good

You know the walk we walk

You know us; you love us regardless

Thank you Master


“On an old rugged cross”…

Lord how did you manage to die

When your body need not have

That must have been a difficult thing to do

Shut your body down

To break your heart with grief

And the burden of other’s treachery

Though you breathed your last

Hanging on wood shaped from a tree

Whose life you sustained till it met its end

Shaped by a carpenter’s adz

Stained with your blood it stood bereft

Bodiless, alone, a sentinel of despair

Death could not sustain its grip

Death died in an embrace of love

You rose with a body renewed

Perfected, straddling the seen and the unseen

The is and is to come

A body on which all other bodies will be modelled

Fit for a new heaven and a new earth


I am sure that the very… very… very serious portrayal of Jesus in the Gospels is only an infinitesimal (very…very…very small) reflection of who Jesus was (and is!) in everyday life. Did he enjoy a good laugh? I sure hope so otherwise heaven is going to be dull….struth an eternity of no laughter? No way….

Lord…grant me self-control

Because if you don’t

I may need bail money as well

Leunig is a genius and his prayers are sublime in their depth of inspiration…


While I was eating a banana this morning, I was ruminating on the pace of education and in particular, how we do ‘schooling’.

I was looking for cartoons to add to my class website, what I found was my favourite cartoonist Leunig.

Lord, what am I to do?

40 minutes that’s all I’ve got

Not counting the lining up

Encouraging males to be ‘gentlemen’

‘Ladies first lads…your turn will come’

Settling them down, the roll to mark

It all eats into the time I get to talk about you

35 minutes and counting


Computers out and booting up

Oh sir! I forgot my exercise book can I get it out of my locker?

Sir… can I go to the toilet?

‘May I’, I say… and yes get your exercise book

And I don’t know if you can go to the toilet but give it a go

Sir, can I fill my water bottle up? Struth…

Exercise books…tick

Connecting to website…tock

Ok, are we ready to start…

Let’s talk about DEATH


If you were going to ask Jesus something, what would it be? I reckon I’d ask something completely non-theological like: Did you play games when you was a kid and if so what ones? Were you any good at it or did you make mistakes like the rest of us? Surely you were not toooooo serious to play. What did you like to eat? Were there any food you refused to eat based on taste? Many questions…too few answers.

Jesus, what was your favourite food

When you walked among us?

Did they have sweet things?

Other than figs?

Figs are great in season

I love a fig or two myself but hey…

There is a slab of the year with no figs

When you were a kid

What was your favourite food?

What do you eat now?

You’ve had over 2000 years

To hone your taste buds

What food do they have in paradise?

I hope you have chocolate

It would be a shame never to taste it again.

When you call me home,

Would it be possible to bring some Krispy Creams?

Thank you for chocolate Lord

And other sweet things that help me through the day

I know I should not eat so much sugar

But… I love my chocky biscuits

I eat them all the time

It that being a glutton?

And let’s not talk about cake…with icing

Being a diabetic and all…

According to one of my y9 classes this Krispy Cream is THE BEST donut around….no I haven’t tried it…yet


There seems to be a ‘sameness’ about the images of Jesus over the couple of thousand years since he rose from the dead. Some of the worse portrayals of Jesus in film is when he looks decidedly white Anglo-Saxon…and handsome as well. I tend to think that Jesus would look more like a ‘boofhead’; he was a labourer who was the adopted son of a carpenter who presumably taught his boys carpentry. Scripture says he was ‘uncomely’ to look at so I would not know by appearance that he was anyone special. Until he opened his mouth and spoke…

In every image we have of you Brother

You are dressed in white robes

Have you changed your look over the 2000 years

Have you cut your hair short? Shaved?

You know I have had a beard all my adult life

So… I understand if you wanted to keep it

Is it still long? Has it turned white?

But Brother…wearing a robe for 2000 years

seems a bit too much

I hope paradise is the heaven each of us hopes for

Rich in cultural diversity

And with things to do other than singing all day long…

Do we actually need clothes in paradise?

Don’t tell me that we all walk around naked!

I hope my new and improved body

Will be better suited for nakedness

Than the one I currently have…



Heaven, or paradise or after-life, is the great unknown. The hints we get from Paul the apostle are not very helpful. Christian traditional views of ‘singing praises to God along with the heavenly hosts for eternity’ frankly frightens me. I cannot sing and doing it for eternity will bore me witless.

Dean Koontz in his ‘Odd Thomas’ books, Thomas’s girlfriend Stormy always reminds Thom that he and her are being prepared for service in paradise after we die. This seems more like a place worth going to. How are we being prepared to serve? What ‘service’ is there to do? To whom will we be serving? Parts of the book of Revelation, the last book in the Bible, says what is here will be found there in the new heaven and earth.

Father I acknowledge that you are

The creator of all that is

The seen and the unseen

And not ju