Praying the Ten Commandments in African Tradition


“Almighty God of my people,
I stand before you humbled in Your sight. You are our only God. There is none greater; none before you.
All things belong to You. You give to Your people, and You take from Your people. You are our provider and You are our judge. Your name is holy and is spoken in our hearts. No lips shall speak your name, so great are you above all things. We, Your people, shall keep holy all the days of our lives, for You are with us all the days of our lives. We shall do nothing to bring dishonor to each other, or shame upon our house. As we honor You, O God, so we honor ourselves. We shall not take what is not given to us, and we seek forgiveness if we have done so.

If I have offended someone I ask forgiveness.
To those who have offended me, I grant forgiveness.
I shall not speak ill of anyone. I shall not cause anger or take the life of anyone, even the life of my enemy. I ask forgiveness if I have done so. I grant forgiveness to those who have done so to me or my people.
I shall not cheat or lie to anyone. If I have done so I ask forgiveness and I grant forgiveness to those who have done to me or my people.
I shall not be envious of my tribesmen or of others. I shall not seek to have their possessions. I seek and grant forgiveness.
I shall remain faithful in my marriage. I shall provide for my family as it is my duty.
I shall bring no woman [man]to shame or take from her [him] that which is not given.
I shall be true to myself as I am true to You, my God, in this life, and I shall pass on to my children my prayers as we are Your people and You are our God.

Reprinted from Deliverance “Printed” Newsletter Volume 5 Issue 2, February 2002


  • Light a candle to remember Christ’s presence with you.
  • Sit five to fifteen minutes in silent meditation paying attention to the deep breath.
  • Which prayer captures your attention today?
  • Continue to focus on this prayer in your mind and with your body.
  • What is going on in your life that connects with this prayer?
  • What is God’s message for you?
  • Spend a few minutes allowing this message to become part of you.  Where do you feel it in your body?  What awareness is heightened?
  • Is there a call to action?
  • Give thanks to God for this time in prayer and for any new insights you have received.
  • Share as you feel led in the reply box below.

Revised Common Lectionary Readings for Sunday, March 11, 2012, the Third Sunday in Lent Year B 
Exodus 20:1-17
Psalm 94:1-14
1 Corinthians 1:18-25
John 2:13-22

If you use these prayers in other groups, please give credit to author. Permission to use in not-for-profit settings The Rev. Lil Smith, M.Div., DASD

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