Lord, Lord, Open Unto Me(1751-1844)

Article Author - Gary Best


Open unto me, light for my darkness
Open unto me, courage for my fear
Open unto me, hope for my despair
Open unto me, peace for my turmoil
Open unto me, joy for my sorrow
Open unto me, strength for my weakness
Open unto me, wisdom for my confusion
Open unto me, forgiveness for my sins
Open unto me, tenderness for my toughness
Open unto me, love for my hates
Open unto me, Thy Self for myself
Lord, Lord, open unto me!

This famous prayer was written by the black American civil rights leader Howard Thurman. Thurman was born in 1899 in Florida and he was ordained as a minister in the Baptist Church. From 1932 to 1944 he served as Dean of Rankin Chapel at Howard University and he was part of a delegation that met Mahatma Gandhi to discuss how non-violent methods might be used to end racism. In 1944 he helped establish the Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, serving as co-pastor with a white minister, Alfred Fisk. This was the first interracially pastored, intercultural church in the United States. In 1953 he became the first black dean of a chapel at a majority-white university when he was appointed by Boston University to become Dean of Marsh Chapel. That year ‘Life’ magazine named him as being one of the twelve most influential religious leaders in America. He left Boston University in 1966 and became Director of the Howard Thurman Educational Trust in San Francisco until his death in 1981. This helped provide funding for college students in need. The author of over twenty books, Thurman hugely influenced Martin Luther King and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement and he is now recognised as being one of the 50 most important figures in African-American history.

Above - photo of Marsh Chapel - public domain

Above - photo of Howard Thurman by Boston University

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