a model prayer?

This prayer shows that the predilection for self-interest expressed in some streams of modern christianity is nothing new. It is a prayer of one John Ward, M.P., from 1727:

O Lord, Thou knowest that I have nine houses in the city of London, and that I have lately purchased an estate in fee simple in Essex. I beseech Thee to preserve the two counties of Middlesex and Essex from fires and earthquakes. And, as I have also a mortgage in Hertfordshire, I beg Thee also to have an eye on compassion on that county, and for the rest of the counties Thou mayest deal with them as Thou art pleased. O Lord, enable the Banks to answer all their bills, and make all debtors good men. Give prosporous voyage and safe return to the Mermaid sloop because I have not insured it. And because Thou has said: ‘The days of the wicked are but short,’ I trust Thee that Thou will not forget Thy promise, as I have an estate in reversion on the death of the profligate young man, Sir [name withheld].

(Source: Peter Bowler, The True Believers: Oddities and curiosities of religious faith [Methuen, 1986], a very amusing little volume if you ever find a copy.)

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