Theology of Worship- Prayer to Every God

This prayer was included in our notes to give us an idea of what prayer looked like in an ancient, pagan culture.  This comes from the library of Ashurbanipal (668-633BC), but was a copy of an original, and was much older than that.

May the fury of my lord’s heart be quieted toward me.
May the god who is not known be quieted toward me;
May the goddess who is not known be quieted toward me.
May the god whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me;
May the goddess whom I know or do not know be quieted toward me.
May the heart of my god be quieted toward me;
May the heart of my goddess be quieted toward me.
May my god and goddess be quieted toward me.
May my god and goddess be quieted toward me.
May the god [who has become angry with me] be quieted toward me.
In ignorance I have eaten that forbidden of my god;
In ignorance I have set foot on that prohibited by my goddess.
O Lord, my transgressions are many; great are my sins.
O my goddess, my transgressions are many; great are my sins.
O god whom I know or do not know, my transgressions are many; great are my sins;
O goddess whom I know or do not know, my transgressions are many; great are my sins.
The transgression which I have committed, indeed I do not know;
The sin which I have done, indeed I do not know.
The forbidden thing which I have eaten, indeed I do not know;
The prohibited place on which I have eaten, indeed I do not know.
The lord int eh anger of his heart looked at me;
When the goddess was angry with me, she made me become ill.
The god whom I know or do not know has oppressed me;
The goddess whom I know or do not know has placed suffering upon me.
Although I am constantly looking for help, no one takes me by the hand;
When I weep they do not come to my side.
I utter laments but on one hears me;
I am troubled;
I am overwhelmed;
I cannot see.
O my god, merciful one, I address to yout he prayer, “Ever incline to me”;
I kiss the feet of my goddess;
I crawl before you.
How long, O my goddess, whom I know or do not know, ere your hostile heart will be quieted?
Man is dumb; he knows nothing;
Mankind, everyone that exists, — what does he know?
Whether he is committing sin or doing good, he does not even know.
O my lord, do not cast your servant down;
He is plunged into the waters of a swamp; take him by the hand.
The sin which I have done, turn into goodness;
The transgression which I have committed, let the wind carry away;
My many misdeeds strip off like a garment.
O my god, my transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions.
O my goddess, my transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions.
O god whom I know or do not know, my transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions.
O goddess whom I know or do not know, my transgressions are seven times seven; remove my transgressions.
Remove my transgressions and I will sing your praise.
May your heart, like the heart of a real mother, be quieted toward me;
Like a real mother and a real father may it be quieted toward me.

Here are three problems that Block pointed out:

  1. There is no relationship with a god, no introduction, revelation.  There is no “I am Yahweh your God”.
  2. There is no knowledge of what was wrong, no knowledge of the will of the gods.  There was no teachings or Torah.
  3. There is no answer to sin.  “I crawl before you.”  At least they recognize there is some sort of falling short, but has no knowledge of what it will take to gain forgiveness.  Compare this to Psalm 32 where the Psalmist proclaims a knowledge of forgiveness.
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2 comments on “Theology of Worship- Prayer to Every God

  1. BethsMomToo says:

    It’s “everybody is out to get me and I am powerless”! What a horrid, and sad, worldview! Yet this is the result when man “exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” (Rom.1:23)

  2. Anonymous says:

    The sad thing is that some people still pray like this: scared of God and not truly repentant.

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