The Philosopher’s Prayer

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While the word “Philosopher” may bring images of madmen and ivory-towered intellectuals to mind, the term originally meant “lover of wisdom.”1 I am not a professional “Philosopher” in the modern sense, but I do love wisdom, and the prayer later on in this post is an outpouring of that love.

Before I enter into writing this prayer, I feel it important to explain why I am doing this. Jesus said2 that we are not to pray in order to make ourselves look good, and while I am aware that I am proud and self-centered, it is not my intention to try and do that with this post. Instead, I hope to accomplish three things:

  1. First, as a thinker and lover of wisdom, I feel misunderstood in a culture which has become disillusioned with disingenuous thinking and philosophy. With this prayer I hope to in some small way demonstrate worship with the mind.
  2. Second, by publishing this prayer I hope to bring certain sins and wrongs into the light so that I and my fellow lovers of wisdom can see them and turn away from them by the grace of God.
  3. Third, I hope that this prayer will somehow elicit worship within the hearts of my fellow Philosophers, that ultimately this post would show how God is Good, and not myself.

Father, you are high in Heaven above, and I am down below on Earth. I pray, hope, and desire that as Your Kingdom comes that Your will would be done down here on Earth as it is in Heaven. I long for the day when Your name is held with honor and respect amongst all mankind- for You are the maker of all good things.

Father, in the beginning you created all things- including Wisdom- and for this I rejoice and recognize your greatness. As I read the wisdom You bestowed upon the saints of old, my spirit is delighted. As I read even the echos of truth in the philosophers’ writings, my heart rejoices. 

Yet, all the knowledge and wisdom of mankind does not even approach your foolishness- if indeed you have ever had such a thing.3 How then can it be compared to the true wisdom from the creator of wisdom? Even the thoughts of the pagans- those who did not know You, would be impossible without the gift of intellect and wisdom that You bestowed.

Yet I fear, Father, that this delight is not without taint. For what is sin but a twisting of what You have created good? But my perversion is this- that I have loved wisdom more than the Creator of wisdom.4 Father God, please forgive me for the times when I have taken the good things which you have created and set them up as little gods in my heart. Help me to repent of such idolatry.

This is not all. I confess that in my zeal for Wisdom I have neglected Love- sacrificing what was lesser in a vain attempt to display what I thought greater. In doing so I “puffed myself up” as you warned not to do, and in my pride chose to love myself instead of you and those you love.5 Help me to repent of such arrogance.

Finally, I confess that I have been at times complacent to let my mind be idled and entertained by lesser things- the plastic, disposable, temporal thoughts of this world, despite having experienced the joy and the marvel at the Greater Thoughts with which you have blessed mankind.6 In doing so I have forgone opportunities to appreciate and worship. Help me to repent of such sloth.

Father, you guide the hearts of Kings- surely you guide the hearts of lesser men and women. Please guide my heart to use whatever wisdom and knowledge you bless me with-
…to raise you up, and not myself…
…to edify others, and not myself…
…to seek your kingdom, and not my own.

Amen.

  1. See this article. []
  2. Matthew 6:5-7 []
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:19-20 []
  4. This thought isn’t entirely my own- it was prompted by something Mr. John Piper tweeted. []
  5. 1 Corinthians 8:1-3 []
  6. 1 Peter 1:13-14, Colossians 3:1-3 []