The Artist’s Litany
February 2, 2016

If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. (1 John 1:8)

O God the Father, creator of heaven and earth, Alpha and Omega, beginning and end, who inspired Creation with the breath of your nostrils, who placed Adam in the Garden and told him to beautify it, who knows the first and last pages of history, who hears Creation groaning and will not rest till the righteous have inherited the earth and all wickedness has been utterly destroyed, have mercy upon me.

O God the Son, Savior, Word made flesh, redeemer of the world, the locus of every shade of truth and goodness, the hinge on which history turns, who fellowshipped with tax collectors and sinners, who thought the throne of the Most High was not something to be clung to but to be given up in humility and received again in glory, have mercy upon me.

O God the Holy Spirit, sanctifier of the faithful, baptizer of the imagination, muse of all love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, who through your power caught the ears of crowds in Jerusalem and spoke to them in words that stirred their hearts so that three thousand were baptized in one day, have mercy on me.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God, have mercy upon me.

From envy and hatred of others; from comparing my failures to their accomplishments; from untrue congratulations given in the hope of gaining something back; from aggressively tearing down others in the guise of honest critique; from obsessing over the work of those who work beside me, as well as those who came before and those who will come after, good Lord, deliver me.

From a sinful craving for affection and approval; from making a name for myself among human beings whose opinions waver on a daily basis; from chasing the approval of the multitudes, the crowd without a face, whose value is measured numerically instead of by their individual character, good Lord, deliver me.

From all pretension; from sickness of mind that makes a fancy, empty phrase more appealing than the truth; from slavish devotion to exposing realities wherever they may be found, regardless of propriety, audience, or timing, good Lord, deliver me.

From excessive pride, a flashy desire to be noticed, to yell “Look at me!”; from the slackness of mind that causes me to forget that you hold me as the apple of your eye and that your approval is boundless and full of life, good Lord, deliver me.

From worship of self; from placing the accomplishments of man above the works of God; from bending too closely to hear the voice of my sinful flesh; from believing that art can only be done for the sake of art and no other, good Lord, deliver me.

From impatience; from an unwillingness to believe what you say in your Word, that the works of men are vanity; from the desire to erect an edifice to my own glory that will escape from the winds and sands of time, good Lord, deliver me.

From excessive curiosity, the kind that justifies seeing and experiencing things that ought not to be seen or experienced; from making excuses about what should and should not be either witnessed or put on display, good Lord, deliver me.

From the fear of missing out; from the paralysis that comes from wounded pride; from the hunger to be up-to-date, in-the-know, a-man-for-all-seasons, good Lord, deliver me.

From anxiety, the feeling that my work is not good enough, but that it is not worth bringing to your attention; from believing the lie that you don’t care about the things that matter to me, that bring me joy; from meditating on things other than what is noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report; from denying virtue where there is virtue and from holding back praise from what is praiseworthy, good Lord, deliver me.

From boredom; from any jadedness with the thrilling world that you have created and husband daily for our continued enjoyment and thankfulness, good Lord, deliver me.

From laziness, a lack of discipline, the attitude that says, “I deserve better” but takes no steps to improve; from a fear of failure that results in taking no risks, good Lord, deliver me.

From harboring bitterness, especially in the service of art, since darkness, brokenness, and grittiness will draw the eyes and ears of an audience; from cultivating the memory of sin in my heart, in the hopes of using it to enrich a story, a song, or a painting; from cataloguing, for the sake of art, the sins of those who have wronged me, or wronged others, planning to exploit them before the world, good Lord, deliver me.

From wrath and hatred; from frustration at my own inabilities and hatred of whatever makes me feel small and powerless; from seething anger, and from guarding that anger as something valuable, an engine of creativity and insight; from using the discipline of art as an excuse to treat others poorly, good Lord, deliver me.

From an obsession with image, with perception instead of integrity, with pleasing the audience; from the worship of the artistic process to the exclusion of attending to the needs of others; from associating my identity with my success and drawing my self-image from work, from deadlines, from shiny portfolio, collection, or IMDb profile, good Lord, deliver me.

From sins of omission; from taking the easy way out; from not giving of myself to others and thinking of others; from thinking of myself more highly than I ought; from spurning the body of Christ and giving myself to selfish pursuits instead, good Lord, deliver me.

In your mercy, let me love without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil, cling to what is good, be kind and affectionate to my brothers and sisters in Christ, give preference to them instead of stealing glory for myself, serve the Lord with diligence and fervent love, rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation and disappointment, continue steadfastly in prayer, meet the needs of the saints, and give myself up in hospitality.

In your mercy, put truth in my soul, and let the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Help me walk in the light of the Risen Lord. Amen.

(Format is taken from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.)

Christian Leithart is a freelance writer living in South Bend, Indiana.

Related Media

To download Theopolis Lectures, please enter your email.