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Origins of the Dudley Prayer

Some things seem to take on a life of their own with the traditions that our Camps hold so dear. Such is the case with “The Dudley Prayer.”

Several years ago one of our resident chapel speakers shared an observation that the Dudley Prayer bore a striking similarity to an old Benedictine prayer that was familiar to them. Prior to this revelation, many assumed that what we were calling “The Dudley Prayer” was solely credited to #6056 Willard “Bill” Prior.

After doing our research, we indeed discovered a strong resemblance to a Benedictine Prayer. In fact, we found it credited to the writings of Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox. Additionally, the closing stanza had also been credited to Edward Everett Hale. #15305 Sheila Kapper’s excellent record keeping was critical in identifying the first time “The Dudley Prayer” was used in the Dudley chapel. It was indeed a prayer that was offered by Bill Prior on July 24, 1994.

We have since been careful to add a footnote crediting Bill Prior and the original authors any time we share or reprint this inspiring message.

The sentiment and power of these words are particularly important in today’s world.

The Dudley Prayer*

May God bless you with a discontent…
…at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships, so that you will live from deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger …
… at injustice, oppression, abuse, and exploitation of people, so that you will work for justice, equality and peace.

May God bless you with tears …
…to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them, and change their path to one of joy.

May God bless you with foolishness …
… to think you can make a difference, so that you will do the things that others tell you cannot be done.

Remember …
… you are only one, but you are one.
You cannot do everything, but you can do something.


*First used in the Dudley Chapel, July 24, 1994, Adapted by #6056 Bill Prior from the writings of Benedictine Sister Ruth Fox and Edward Everett Hale

#6056 Willard “Bill” Prior

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