It’s tough to break away for a midweek gathering, especially as early as 7am. Consequently, I wish to share the prayer I offered at the Interfaith gathering at Christus Victor Church earlier today, as our nation celebrated National Prayer Day. Certainly, I hope you enjoy and find inspiration in the words and the message of peace and acceptance of all God’s people.
PRAYER FOR ECUMENISM
Creature, Divine One, Father Almighty, Mother of all children,
Abba, El Dios, Yahweh, El Shaddai, Jehovah, Allah, Elohim,
The Great I am: You are called by many names, yet You have always been and You will always be the One True God: The God of Adam and Eve, of Abram and Sarai, of Moses, Joshua and David, of Rebecca, Rachel, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elisha and Obadiah. The God of Mohammed, John the Baptist, Joseph Smith and John Wesley. The God of John Calvin and Gandhi, of Brigham Young and C.S. Lewis. The God of Ignatius of Loyola, Nicholas of Myra, Francis and Claire of Assisi, Bonaventure and Augustine, the Dalai Lama, George Fox, Karl Barth, Edith Stein, Albert Einstein, Mary Baker Eddy and John Huss. The God of Martin Luther and Dorothy Day. The God of Henry the VIII and Elizabeth I, Mary, Queen of Scots and Martin Luther. The God of Louis Farrakhan, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Billy Graham, Robert Schuller, Benny Hinn and John MacArther. The God of all who came before us, the God of all who are today and the God of those yet to come.
You masterfully fashioned the earth: galaxies abound beyond our own: the depth of the waters, the hills both mighty and meek, the valleys green and the tawny deserts, all are the masterpieces of Your divine imagination. All creation is of Your handiwork. In Your own image You molded humankind. Your breath occupied our lungs with life, You filled our minds with wisdom and curiosity, and You gave us the knowledge to distinguish between right and wrong.
Humankind, diverse and yet united in flesh, blood and bone, we are all children of the Creator: The multitude of cultures and the world’s religions seek You. The inquiring mind and the searching soul ever journey onward for deeper meaning and a fuller understand of You, the author of life, the maker of all that is in the heavens above, upon this earth of ours and all that lives below the seas.
In Your hope for us Your children, You desire of us to be supportive and a blessing. We bring you much joy when we reach out and are an aid to one another. You shun the violence we have far too often embraced while foregoing peaceful resolutions to the differences our diversity plainly distinguishes. You have great hope for us that we carry neither a grudge against another nor relegate to violence and forgo the prospects of peace and unity.
In our worship and liturgy, in music and dance, in art and in literature, in silence and with tongues alit by the Spirit, a multitude of voices, sacred noise and deafening silence all bear witness to Your might and majesty. All humbly subject themselves to You, our loving God, our benevolent Parent. Like any protective and concerned guardian, You willed Your children to live in harmony. Time and again, alas, we failed to listen and
resorted to more and more vicious means of inflicting pain and suffering to others, and sadly, in Your Name did we bear arms against our neighbor. Pray, in earnest and desire, in despair and in dire straights that the people of this time and age are to be heralds of peace, children of the Light, the generation that once for all puts an end to war and ushers in a new world order, where religions once divorced one from the other, unite in worship and celebration, embracing both diversity and sameness!
In cathedrals of glass, to huts of thatch and mud, polychromatic images that reflect the sun’s brightness, statuary and starkness, marble pillars and wooden beams of oak and pine: the people of Your own making seek shelter in such structures and there we pray, meditate, rejoice and weep, openly question, humble repent, sincerely fall prostrate and leap with joy at the sound of Your Holy Name.
Inspire leaders of state and church, the vocal voices of cantors and preachers, and the tongues of the faithful the world over, to proclaim an unending year of unity and commonality. Bless us with the insight to respect the languages of worship as spoken by all faiths, none claiming superiority or fuller authority, shunning any thought of a monopolizing of Your attention solely to one and not to all. Teach us, instruct us and if so, chastise us in knowing and comprehending that superiority does not a stronger faith make. Rather a humility and meekness, fortified with an inner peace and sublime faith does draw favor from You, our God.
Loud Hosannas fill space and time, while the wings of the angels swirl about us, giving air and lift to our voices, raising them heavenward, like sweet incense that burns as an oblation unto You. Holy, Holy and ever Holy Lord, God of infinite power and unimaginable patience and love: gather Your people, one and all, leaving none behind and bless us, bless us, and again, bless us till we are bent over with grace, our souls bursting with Sacred Delight and our minds drowning in a wisdom that enlightens and humbles.
We ask of You, The Great I Am, to continue Your work within us: Your breath to continue to occupy us with life and Your wisdom to fill us to overflowing measures. We condescendingly ask this of You Your benevolence and grace, we shuffle with embarrassment and betwixt with confusion, always your children for You are always our Father, our Provider, our God, living and eternal, forever wed with the Holy Spirit and the Redeemer, Jesus the Christ, all who lives and reigns, who overwhelms and mystifies, now and forever and always.