Arthur Caliandro died this Sunday. Not only a good friend, he was a spiritual mentor for me and tons of others. The senior minister at Marble Collegiate Church for decades, following in Norman Vincent Peale’s footsteps, he was a great preacher, a caring pastor, a worthy administrator, but most significant to me, a man of tireless prayer.
Years ago we started having lunch every few months for the specific purpose of talking about our prayer lives. We called ourselves prayer partners. I needed somebody I could check in with regularly to help me make sure I was doing what I could, and in between we’d pray for each other.
At one of those first lunches he gave me a prayer that I have used ever since, the Jesus Prayer, slightly expanded: Jesus Christ, have mercy on me. Make haste to help me. Rescue me and save me. Let thy will be done in my life.
“Those aren’t the exact words of the traditional prayer,” he said. “I’ve expanded the end because I’m always looking for guidance and I need to be rescued. Am I doing what Jesus has called me to do? Am I following God? Am I doing what he’s asked of me? Am I becoming his follower? I say it a lot.”
“Dozens of times a day. Whenever I need it. It keeps me focused.”
Ministers leave legacies of buildings, baptisms, books, sermons that have inspired and changed congregations, but I can think of no more fitting memorial than this from Arthur, a prayer that can be said any time, day or night, to keep you connected and restored. Not surprisingly, one of the prayers in my new book 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without (coming out this spring) is this one that Arthur gave me.
Thanks, dear friend.