By The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

This prayer is several of my son’s prayer books, sometimes accompanied by a picture of a little child in a yellow rain slicker and boots splashing around a puddle, playing with a small toy boat. Maybe you have this prayer at your lakehouse or on the front of your fishing boat. I’ve used it on canoe trips for years. 

I’ve not seen this version before, specifying a “barque” instead of the more generic “boat,” but it underscores the attribution from a Breton (Celtic ethnic group) fisherman, who would have sailed Celtic boats or “barques” back and forth on the English Channel between what is now the southern coast of England and the northern coast of France. The barque (at least according to Wikipedia, I am no ship expert) is no small shipping vessel, with three masts and enough room for a dozen sailors at least. But, even with such a large (in my estimation) ship, if you’ve been out to sea, you know intimately how small you can feel out on the open water, especially when the wind and waves pick up. Prayer is a sailor’s constant companion, at least in my experience.

(Oh, and I learned that “the Pope is sometimes said to be sailing the barque of St. Peter,” since Peter was, of course, a fisherman, and St. Peter’s Basilica is at the center of Vatican City). May God be with you as you sail the unpredictable waters of these tumultuous times. 

Let us pray:

Dear God, be good to me.
The sea is so great and my barque so small.
—Breton Fisherman, traditional 

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