Be Our Primary Disease (A Prayer For Us—with apologies to Walter Brueggemann)

world-health-day_1100012120-1013intStuff gets into us. A germ here, a seed of spiritual sickness there.

You think you’re opening the door for a special gift delivery and a rat scurries in under your feet.

A bad habit, a temptation continually fed and growing… You know the one.

Part of Lent’s purpose is to purge ourselves of unwelcome guests. Mind, body, soul. Guests that have sneakily become squatters. Who boldly try to claim they own you.

The loss of our freedom and wellness is often a slow fade.

So we try to clean the house of our bodies, souls, minds.

Lent is rehab for the well-intentioned.

Today’s blog is simple. We’re all diseased. But wouldn’t it be great if we looked into our wounds and were more intentional about allowing only only the infections of justice, peace, faith and freedom?

This is a prayer of heavyweight theologian Walter Brueggemann, found in his book Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. He first offered it in 1998 before teaching one of his classes. May it be our prayer as well:

“Be our primary disease,

and infect us with your justice;

Be our night visitor, and haunt us with your peace;

Be our moth that consumes, and eat away at our unfreedom.

Be our primary disease, our night visitor, our moth

infect, haunt, eat away…

Until we are toward you and with you and for you,

away from our unjustice, our anti-peace, our unfreedom.

More like you and less like your resistance.

In the name of the one most like you, most with you, most for you… even Jesus.



  1. At first read, I found the prayer a little jarring. Then I realized the truth: Lent often is a time of dis-ease; a time where we intentionally upset the apple cart in order to re-order – a process that is disillusioning and therefore, often upsetting. But if God is the source of our dis-ease then to be jarred is to be preserved. (I feel like I just turned this into a jamming metaphor).


    1. Hi Scott, I think you’re right with respect to the dis-ease angle. Brueggemann, as you know, is a serious word-smith, and a deep thinker with great clarity—so I’d imagine he didn’t make the “dis-ease” angle obvious so that we might mine for it ourselves. But maybe not. Hard to be sure. Oh, and I love the jamming metaphor! Lol!


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