UU Wellspring | Eclectic Prayer Samples
From Prayers for a Thousand Years by Annie Dillard
At a certain point you say to the woods, to the sea, to the mountains, to the world.
Now I am ready. Now I will stop and be wholly attentive. You empty yourself and wait,
listening. After a time you hear it: there is nothing there. There is nothing but those
things only, those created objects, discrete, growing or holding, or swaying, being
rained on or raining, held, flooding or ebbing, standing or spread. You feel the world’s
word as a tension, a hum, a single chorused note everywhere the same. This is it: the
hum is the silence…
The silence is all there is. It is the alpha and the omega. It is God’s brooding over the
face of the waters; it is the blended note of ten thousand things, the whine of wings.
You take a step in the right direction to pray to the silence, and even to address the
prayer to the “World.” Distinctions blur. Quit your tents. Pray without ceasing.
Be a full bucket
drawn up the dark way of a well,
then lifted out,
into the light.
Let us be respectively aware,
Life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by, and with it our only chance.
Each of us must aspire to awaken.
Be aware: do not squander our life.
May all beings be free from
enmity, affliction and anxiety,
and live happily.
—Mettākathā ( Ps. 2.4)
Maybe prayer doesn’t mean talking to God at all. Maybe it means listening to our
dreams and paying more attention to what we really want from life. - Gary Kowalski
“That Which Holds All” by Nancy Shaffer
Because she wanted everyone to feel included
in her prayer,
she said right at the beginning
several names for the Holy:
Spirit, she said, Holy One, Mystery, God
But then thinking these weren’t enough ways of
that which cannot fully be addressed,
she added particularities, saying,
Spirit of Life,
Spirit of Love,
Ancient Holy One,
Mystery We Will Not Ever Fully Know,
and also Spirit of this Earth,
God of Sarah, Gaia, Thou
And then, tongue loosened, she fell to naming
superlatives as well: Most Creative One,
Greatest Source, Closest Hope –
even though superlatives for the Sacred
seemed to her probably redundant,
but then she couldn’t stop:
One who Made the Stars, she said,
although she knew technically a number of
those present didn’t believe the stars had
been made by anyone or thing
but just luckily happened.
One Who Is an Entire Ocean of Compassion,
she said, and no one laughed.
That Which Has Been Present Since
Before the Beginning,
she said, and the room was silent.
Then, although she hadn’t
imagined it this way,
others began to offer names.
Peace, said one.
One My Mother Knew, said
Ancestor, said a third.
Breath, said one near the back.
That Which Holds All.
A child said, Water.
Someone said, Kuan Yin.
And then, there wasn’t any need to
say the things
she’d thought would be important
and everyone sat hushed,
until someone said
of the running wave to you
of the flowing air to you
of the quiet earth to you
of the shining stars to you
of the gentle night to you
Moon and stars
pour their healing light on you
Deep Peace to you.
Prayer of St. Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;
O Divine Spirit grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Theresa's Prayer
May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love,
It is there for each and every one of us.
From New Zealand Book of Common Prayer
It is night.
The night is for Stillness.
Let us be still in the presence of God.
It is night after a long day.
What has been done has been done.
What has not been done has not been done.
Let it be.
The night is dark.
Let our fears of the darkness of the world and of our own lives rest in you.
The night is quiet.
Let the quietness of your peace enfold us.
All dear to us.
And all who have no peace.
The night heralds the dawn.
Let us look expectantly to a new day,
In your name we pray.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for
you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head
with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the
house of the Lord forever.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel
To pray is to take notice of the wonder, to regain a sense of the mystery that animates all beings, the divine margin in all attainments. Prayer is our humble answer to the inconceivable surprise of living.
—Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel