Reaching God Through Others' Words: My Favorite World Prayers

I love the idea of praying, of reaching out to the Divine and forming a relationship. I also love the idea of using prayer as a means of meditation, of evaluating your relationships, decisions, problems, etc.

While I love these ideas about prayer, in reality I often struggle with it. So a couple of years ago, when praying with my husband became too uncomfortable and artificial for me, I decided that I would try a new way to couple pray: reading aloud world prayers when it was my turn. This didn’t end up working for my husband, but I treasure some of the fantastic world prayers I found. They may be other people’s prayers, but they represent the yearnings in my heart.
Some of my favorites:
O God, we pray for all those in our world who are suffering from injustice;
For those who are discriminated against because of their race, colour or religion;
For those imprisoned for working for the relief of oppression;

For those who are hounded for speaking the inconvenient truth:
For those tempted to violence as a cry against overwhelming hardship;
For those deprived of reasonable health and education;
For those suffering from hunger and famine;
For those too weak to help themselves and who have no one else to help them:
For the unemployed who cry out for work but do not find it.
We pray for anyone of our acquaintance who is personally affected by injustice.
Forgive us, Lord, if we unwittingly share in the conditionsor in a system that perpetuates injustice.
Show us how we can serve your children and make your love practical by washing their feet.

-Mother Teresa-

May I become at all times, both now and forever
A protector for those without protection
A guide for those who have lost their way
A ship for those with oceans to cross
A bridge for those with rivers to cross
A sanctuary for those in danger
A lamp for those without light
A place of refuge for those who lack shelter
And a servant to all in need.
-buddhist – prayer of peace-

Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.

Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.

Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wider seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.

attributed – sir francis drake -1577


Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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  1. Serenity Valley says:

    Can I add my favorite?

    The Prayer of St. Francis:

    Lord, make me an instrument of Thy 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;
    and where there is sadness, joy.

    O Divine Master,
    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.


  2. Deborah says:

    SV: That was the prayer at our wedding! So nice to read it today . . .

  3. greenfrog says:

    My favorite (transliterated):

    Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu.

    (May all beings everywhere be happy.)

  4. LHKimball says:

    What a treasure trove! I LOVE these and the ones included in the comments!

  5. Ana says:

    I’ll nominate Finlandia …. the song of the righteous being a prayer, and all that:

    (Words, Lloys Stone; Music Jean Sibelius)

    This is my song, O God of all the nations
    A song of peace, for lands afar & mine
    This is my home, the country where my heart is
    Heare are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine
    But other hearts in other lands are beating
    With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

    My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
    And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine
    But other lands have sunlight too, and clover
    And skies are everywhere as blue as mine
    O hear my song, thou God of all the nations
    A song of peace for their land and for mine

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