The Source of Life calls us to our highest selves. Many traditions, (and more and more research by medical and scientific circles), recognize the power of prayer – to calm us, inspire us, affirm our highest good and that of others – our thoughts and words have power. The truest prayers come from the still small voice within each of us. For those who need assistance finding the words of their hearts, take shelter in the words below. This is a small sampling, taken from existing prayer books. I have resisted the temptation to put these in any grouping by tradition, so that you might explore the inspirations you’ve not been exposed to. If you wish to use the traditional prayers associated with novenas and rosaries, scroll to the bottom of the page.
Then a Priestess said, Speak to us of Prayer, and he answered, saying: You pray in your distress and in your need; would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance. For what is prayer but the expansion of yourself into the living ether?… When you pray you rise to meet in the air those who are praying at that very hour, and who save in prayer you many not meet...
– Kahill Gibran, “The Prophet”
I lift my eyes up to the hills,
from where does my help come?
My help comes from The Unseen One,
Maker of the heavens and earth.
–Psalms 121:1-2, trans. Kol Haneshamah Shabbat Veḥagim p. 214-15
Rulers shall come out of Egypt,
Ethiopia shall stretch forth their
hand unto God. Oh God of Ethiopia,
God of divine majesty, Your spirit come within our
hearts to dwell in the pasts of righteousness.
That the hungry be fed, the sick nourished,
the aged protected, and the infant cared for.
Teach us love and loyalty as it is in Zion.
– A Rastafarian Prayer
All shall be well,
and all shall be well,
and all manner of thing shall be well.
-Julian of Norwich (1342-1416)
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful, Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds; Most Gracious, Most Merciful; Master of the Day of Judgment. You alone do we worship, and Your aide we seek. Show us the straight way, The way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, those whose portion is not wrath, and who go not astray.
– Surah 1:1-7, Al Fatiha (The Opening)
Sing the glories of The Divine each and every day; your afflictions shall be dispelled and you shall be saved, my humble friend.
– Guru Granth Sahib, section 7
My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength as I go out from here, to do Your bidding.
– Seventh Step Prayer, Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book
1To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; 3A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, and a time to build up; 4A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6A time to seek, and a time to lose; A time to keep, and a time to cast away; 7A time to rend, and a time to sew; A time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.
– Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
Let nothing disturb you.
Let nothing frighten you.
All things are changing;
Spirit alone is changeless.
Patience attains the good.
One who has The Source of Life lacks nothing,
The Holy One alone fills our needs.
– St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)
Compassionate One, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time,
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardship as a pathway to peace;
taking, as Jesus did,
this sinful world as it is,
not as I would have it;
trusting that You will make all things right
if I surrender to Your will;
so that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with You forever in the next.
– Serenity Prayer, Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)
Oh Great Spirit, Whose voice I hear in the winds, and whose breath
gives life to all the world, hear me! I come before You, one of your
many children. I am small and weak; I need your strength and
wisdom. Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes behold the red
and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made,
my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may know
the things you have taught my people, the lessons you have hidden
in every leaf and rock. I seek not to be superior to my brothers,
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy – myself. Make me ever
so ready to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes, so when
life fades, as a fading sunset, my spirit may come to you without shame.
– Sioux Chief’s Prayer
Peace be to earth and to airy space!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
Peace to the plant and peace to the trees!
May all the powers grant to me peace!
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I now appease,
With this peace the cruel I now appease,
With this peace all evil I now appeace,
So that peace may prevail, happiness prevail!
May everything for us be peaceful!
– Atharva Veda XIX
Free at last, free at last,
Thank The Almighty, I’m free at last.
The very time I thought I was lost,
Thank The Almighty, I’m free at last;
My dungeon shook and my chains fell off,
Thank The Almighty, I’m free at last,
This is religion, I do know,
Thank The Almighty, I’m free at last;
For I never felt such a love before,
Thank The Almighty, I’m free at last.
– African American Spiritual
Grandparent, look at our brokeness.
We know that in all creation
Only the human family
has strayed from the Sacred Way.
We know that we are the ones
Who are divided, And we are the ones
Who must come back together
To walk in the Sacred Way.
Grandparent, Sacred One,
Teach us love, compassion and honor
That we may heal the earth
And heal each other.
– Ojibwa Prayer
We are visitors on this planet.
We are here for ninety or one hundred years at the most.
During that period, we must try to do something good,
something useful, with our lives.
If you contribute to other people’s happiness, you will find
the true goal, the true meaning of life.
– His Holiness, The XIV Dalai Lama
May fanaticism and religious bigotry be unknown,
all humanity enter the bond of siblinghood, souls
consort in perfect agreement, the nations of earth
at last hoist the banner of truth and the religions of
the world enter the divine temple of oneness, for the
foundations of the heavenly religions are one reality.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as
the Children of God. But I say to you that hear, love your
enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who
curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those that
strike you on the cheek, offer the other one also, and from
those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat
as well. And as you wish that others would do to you, do
so to them.
– Matthew 5:9
Come, come whoever you are.
Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving.
It doesn’t matter.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
Come, even if you have broken your vow
a thousand times.
Come, yet again, come, come.
– Rumi (1207-1273)
Sovereign, 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;
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.
– attributed to St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)
Source of Creation, known by many names and no name,
Be with us in this time of fear and crisis. Be present to us through the interconnectedness of all life.
Help us to recognize that the fevers within our bodies and the struggle for breath in our lungs, mirrors that of the cradle of our existence, Mother Earth.
Forgive our arrogance, to believe that we were separate from the rest of creation. Forgive our selfishness and greed, which blinded us to the suffering our way of life has caused for planet and peoples.
May we take this time set apart to remember that the want and hunger we feel is not for things but for true connection and intimacy.
To remember that together, we are The Web of Life.
Breathe into us hope, compassion and resiliency.
Bless us, with eyes opened to our responsibility to one another and to Mother Earth. Let this crucible refine us, and give us the fortitude we will need to heal our planet, so that all may be Eden once again. Amen.
— Prayer in A Time of COVID & Climate Change, Rev. Theresa “Rivka” Gevurtz
The following prayers are traditional for novenas and rosaries
Hail Mary, full of grace, Divinity is with you. Blessed are you, among all people; and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, divine Mother, pray for us; now and the hour of our death. Amen
– Traditional Catholic prayer, Hail Mary
Our Father/Mother/Divine Parent, who art in heaven, hallowed by Thy name. Thy commonwealth come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our offenses as we forgive those who offend us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the commonwealth, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen
– Traditional Christian prayer, The Lord’s Prayer
Glory be to the Creator, to the Teacher and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen
– Traditional Catholic prayer, Glory be to the Father
I confess to The Almighty, and to you my friends, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words. In what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, all the angles and saints, and you, my companions, to pray for me to the Sovereign, our Holy One. May The Almighty have mercy on us, forgive us our failings, and bring us to everlasting life. Amen
– Traditional Catholic prayer, Act of Contrition