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“Prayer Song,” by Stephen Hanan Kaplan from David Dances, a play (1975)

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Oh Lord, Oh Lord, come into my heart
Build there your shrine
and never depart
Let every passion spring from you
Let every song be new.

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, come into my sight
Consume the veil that hides
Your Light
With holy joy and grace divine
Let every moment shine.

Oh Lord, transform this lowly sphere
That boundaries may disappear
In mutual dependency
Let every soul be free.

Our burden Lord, is great indeed
For everywhere are people in need
Reply, respond, with healing word
Let every call be heard.

Oh Lord, Oh Lord, come into our lives
With peace that blesses,
love that revives
The unity of all in all
Let every thought recall.

Oh Lord, let people be slaves no more
Fling open wide Messiah’s door
Salvation’s boundless benefit
Let every breath admit.

Oh Lord, may we be ever one
A world of friends with quarrels none
Let every person know his soul
Let every heart be whole.
Hallelu-Yah! Hallelu-Yah!

“Prayer Song” from David Dances, a play (1973/1975) by Stephen Hanan Kaplan is included in Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s Sabbath Supplement to his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi ~ As I Can Say It (for Praying in the Vernacular) (2009). The line “O Lord, O Lord, come into my heart, build there your shrine, and never depart” is quoted in Reb Zalman’s Davening: A Guide to Meaningful Jewish Prayer (Jewish Lights, 2012), chapter “Intention: Davvening with Kavvanah” p. 23.

Knowing that everything I think and feel is revealed and known to God is, in itself, an important form of divine service, of avodat ha-Shem. I want no barrier separating what I feel in my heart from what I’m praying and asking for. I want to make myself transparent of heart, transparent of mind, transparent of body—to say, “O Lord, O Lord, come into my heart, build there your shrine, and never depart.” I wish to constantly remember that everything I do is witnessed by that Infinite Witness. I want to invite that witness in and not shut it out. I want my awareness to bring me to the life described in Proverbs 3:6, “Be-khol derakhekha da’eihu, Know God in all your ways.”

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