A Prayer for Light in Dark Times of Accidie

CLICK THE BOOK COVER to learn more about Fleming’s spiritual themes in the James Bond novels, including much more about the challenge of accidie.AS THE NORTHERN HEMISPHERE passes through the darkest season, pastoral counselor and author Dr. Benjamin Pratt shares a prayer that helps us take a first tentative step from accidie. That may sound like a strange new term, but it is a classic part of Christian teaching on the so-called 7 Deady Sins.

In addition to his current work helping caregivers nationwide—Dr. Pratt is a scholar of Ian Fleming’s literary works. Most of the Hollywood 007 blockbusters skip over the theme of accidie. But, Fleming wrote the original Bond novels to explore what he argued were the deadliest sins of our modern age. If this is news to you, then you will enjoy Dr. Pratt’s Ian Fleming’s Seven Deadlier Sins & 007’s Moral Compass.

Dr. Pratt explains:

This prayer reflects the nature of one of the original 7 Deadly Sins, accidie, which was translated in the Middle Ages as sloth or torpor. This is a spiritual condition and is distinctly different from depression. In accidie, we loose all energy for engaging the world. The needs, the goals and even the good and the evil around us do not matter enough to inspire any action.

In the Ian Fleming novels, James Bond often struggles with this sin. It was the word accidie that first drew me to serious study of these novels and the life of their creator. The word accidie appears in eleven of the fourteen Bond tales and is central to understanding James Bond—as well as the dangerous powers of the most evil demons 007 pursues. When I first encountered accidie in the Bond tales, I did not know it was one of the original 7 Deadly Sins. I had not yet discovered Ian Fleming’s long-time fascination with these themes as both a journalist and a novelist. I do know that accidie has been the most insidious sin in my own life and I agree with Fleming: Accidie is one of the most insidious sins in our world today.

If these ideas resonate in your life, we invite you to use this prayer. You are free to share it with others, as well. Simply credit Dr. Benjamin Pratt and readthespirit.com as the source.

Prayer for Light
in Dark Times
of Accidie

By Dr. Benjamin Pratt

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
I lament;
I resent;
I feel powerless now;
I can’t see a point, a direction, a purpose in my life.
I’ve lost my passionate spirit.
I‘ve lost my energy to struggle forward.
I’m living each day, but my heart is dry, tepid—
like a saucer of milk in the noonday sun.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
I know what my life should feel like.
I’ve lived hard, worked hard, loved hard,
And I once believed hard, too. My faith was a rock.
I’ve thrown myself into my work, my relationships, my community.
Once, I knew I was making a difference in the world.
But, now I’m adrift without a compass.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
I know there are countless issues crying for my energies.
I am surrounded by pressing needs, by loving people
But I’ve lost my heart for any of it.
I crawl out of bed each day and meet the day,
But my spirit, O God—my spirit feels broken.
I’m empty.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.
I’m yearning for the light of a new day.
I long for the old courage, the old calling.
Now, I’m taking this step in prayer;
I’m calling out humbly for just a taste of purpose and passion—
a ray of light in these dark times.
Fill me, O Lord, with the hope of joy—the joy of hope.

Create in me a clean heart, O God;
And renew a right spirit within me.


By Dr. Benjamin Pratt and …
Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online magazine covering religion and cultural diversity.

This article also has been posted into Dr. Pratt’s column at the website for the Day1 radio network.

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