Prayers We Have Loved
A couple months ago, Judy, a longtime friend of Exponent II, sent me an email about a prayer she had heard in a yoga class that she loved. I thought this was a terrific idea for a compilation post — prayers that members of Exponent II have heard and loved over the years. What prayers have you loved? Please feel to share in the comments.
I have been a subscriber to Exponent II since it began. I lived in Boston at the time and was in the ward with all the ladies that started it. I became a feminist at that time and have been one since and shared it with others in all my church callings over the years. In the mid 80s I took a yoga and meditation class with a guy who was an active Protestant Christian, and he always had us start with this prayer that so impressed me that I memorized it and have used it ever since. Here is the prayer:
Father, Mother, Brother, Friend, I come before Thee that my spirit might commune with Thee. Help me to know that I am Thy Loving child and remember always that Thou and I are one. Aom, Peace, Amen.
I wrote this as a poem and ended up using it as an actual prayer. It’s become my favorite prayer.
Prayer of Thanksgiving
Dear God — Mother, Father, Son,
May this prayer of love and gratitude fly swiftly to your ears.
May my every want be transformed into celebration of the thing wanted
even if I do not obtain that thing. May I feel abundance in the smallest gifts
of this earth — food, shelter, sunlight, companionship. May I see Your Image
in every human face and so offer thanks for your presence in the world.
Thank you for transforming water into wine and hearts of stone into flesh.
Thank you for making me a women whose fleshy heart broke willingly three
times with the birth of my children. Thank you for daily calling us toward you.
Help us listen better and follow better. Thank you, God, for this “one wild and
precious life.” And for the poetry of each new day.
My dad (nonmember) always prayed the same thing over dinner:
Bless O Lord this food to our use
And us to thy self and service
I misheard it routinely through childhood (what is a food tooaroo? Snethtothy self and service?) but as an adult I like it. LDS people regularly pray for our food, but our food prayers don’t consecrate us to God and to service. I like the idea of doing that at meals.
I found this prayer by Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel profoundly moving.
I no longer ask You for either happiness or paradise; all I ask of You is to listen and let me be aware and worthy of Your listening. I no longer ask You to resolve my questions, only to receive them and make them part of You. I no longer ask You for either rest or wisdom, I only ask You not to close me to gratitude, be it of the most trivial kind, or to surprise and friendship. Love? Love is not Yours to give.
As for my enemies, I do not ask You to punish them or even to enlighten them; I only ask You not to lend them Your mask and Your powers. If You must relinquish one or the other, give them Your powers, but not Your countenance.
They are modest, my prayers, and humble. I ask You what I might ask a stranger met by chance at twilight in a barren land. I ask You, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to enable me to pronounce these words without betraying the child that transmitted them to me. God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, enable me to forgive You and enable the child I once was to forgive me too. I no longer ask You for the life of that child, nor even for his faith. I only implore You to listen to him and act in such a way that You and I can listen to him together.
This is a blessing I wrote for my pastor’s ordination to elder. I’ve adapted it here.
Prayer for Those in the Desert
Church mothers and fathers
Were called to the desert.
They clashed with demons
Wandered the wilderness
Found themselves and their God
Within this sacred and uneasy place.We have been called to the desert,
A religious frontier,
With the demons (and the Mormons)
To wrestle with faith,
Accept our lack of belief
And grow a community
In the borderlands.We have come into
Each other’s lives
At a strange time of tumult,
Fear, and transformation.
Together we collaborate on
The old work of
Loving our neighbors
In this place remembered for its
Unworking the harm wrought
In this wild and scorching place.
May we never fear
The heat of the desert.
I love the Anglican prayer book (found here: https://www.bcponline.org/)
This is one of my favorites:
Let us pray.
Almighty God, we give you thanks for surrounding us, as
daylight fades, with the brightness of the vesper light; and we
implore you of your great mercy that, as you enfold us with
the radiance of this light, so you would shine into our hearts
the brightness of your Holy Spirit; through Jesus Christ our
Grant us, Lord, the lamp of charity which never fails, that it
may burn in us and shed its light on those around us, and
that by its brightness we may have a vision of that holy City,
where dwells the true and never-failing Light, Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.
O Lord God Almighty, as you have taught us to call the
evening, the morning, and the noonday one day; and have
made the sun to know its going down: Dispel the darkness of
our hearts, that by your brightness we may know you to be
the true God and eternal light, living and reigning for ever
and ever. Amen.
This is the prayer we end with in my kundalini yoga class:
May the Long Time Sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light
Guide your way on
Guide your way on
We do it 3 times, once for yourself, once for your loved ones and pets, and once to the world. Its a wonderful and peaceful way to end the class.
I love the idea of the greeting “Namaste.” Before going to Nepal, I’d only ever encountered the word at the end of yoga classes. In Nepal, it’s used as a rote, quotidian greeting. But I love the idea behind it. “The divine in me greets the divine in you.” A reminder that we are more than our mortal clothes of clay.