God of Goodness, I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me. I thank you that there is no human experience that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me. If I climb the highest mountain you are there and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there. Teach me today to love you more. Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child.
– Author Unknown
Bless us with Love, O Merciful God; That we may Love as you Love! That we may show patience, tolerance, Kindness, caring and love to all! Give me knowledge; O giver of Knowledge, That I may be one with my Universe and Mother Earth! O Compassionate One, grant compassion unto us; That we may help all fellow souls in need! Bless us with your Love O God. Bless us with your Love.
– Author Unknown
Prayer to an Evolutionary God
You accept us–at times of self-doubt Thank you, God of all, Co-creator of our world, For allowing us to be imperfectly made: Because it makes us, if we are wise, forgiving. Do you accept us as we are? We condemn people too quickly: We judge them for flawed thinking, disguised egotism, Unworthy acquisitiveness, or skewed opinions. But we can forgive them once we accept our own shadow, And realize how well we ourselves fit Into the ranks of a less than perfect human race. You, Holy God, accept each of us, Prophets tell us, just as we are: Provided our moral judgments of others Are reciprocally generous and compassionate. Imperfection fits this evolving reality, For the universe thrives on diversity, Including random failure, One of the very preconditions for the unfolding advances. May it be so.
The following is an excerpt from My Father My King by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
Hear your Father, your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, saying to you:
Prayer is the way you talk to Me.
Some prayers you will sing,
Others you will cry.
With all prayers you connect with Me.
When you pray with your mouth,
You express what is in your heart.
Let trust, gratitude, awe and love
Flow from your heart to your lips in prayer.
Pray when you feel close to Me
And pray when you feel distant.
Pray when you feel elevated and spiritual,
And pray when you feel lowly and unworthy.
Pray when your heart is full;
And pray when your heart is empty.
What can you pray for?
For guidance and wisdom,
health and good fortune.
For the material and the spiritual,
For all that you need.
How should you pray to Me?
With your tears and with your laughter.
With your mind and with your heart.
With your body and with your soul.
When you appreciate the power of prayer,
Pray to Me with joy and ecstasy,
Pray to Me with fervour and with passion,
Pray to Me with awe and wonder.
When is it especially important to pray to Me?
When life is painful or difficult,
When you are confused or overwhelmed,
Whenever you are suffering.
Through prayer, you
Enter the world of spirituality,
Expand your consciousness.
Let your soul soar.
When you pray,
Meditate on that which is eternal.
Reflect on the meaning of the words you say.
Contemplate the awesomeness of the One
Whom you address.
Increase your love for the One
to Whom you speak.
What will you find with prayer?
Serenity and inner peace,
Insight and perspective,
Inspiration and empowerment.
With prayer you will find
Your loving Father and powerful King.
I look forward to hearing from you, My beloved child. And that is the reason you will have much to sing about, much to cry about, and much to ask for.
Some time ago, I had a bit of a ‘spiritual crisis’. I was listening to so many people talking about their views, beliefs and criticisms. Much of what I heard disturbed me and I allowed that to reflect upon my relationship with God. I was so confused that I turned away from Him. First I ‘became’ an atheist, but I found that there was just as much vitriol amongst them as there was in some of the Christian communities I encountered. Then I ‘became’ a Humanist but, for me, the spiritual element was missing. I did enjoy reading Buddhist works and found the meditations enormously helpful and, while they kept me calm and mindful, I wanted more than that. I think that some of my blogging friends must have thought I was being invaded by multiple personalities! Who and what will she be tomorrow? I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that, because I wasn’t sure who I was myself anymore.
I floundered about in this dark place for a while until I could bear it no longer. I had a dilemma though. I so much wanted God to help me yet, in my mind, I could hear the voices of those who had told me, “You’ll be nothing without God and will never be able to do anything without Him, just you wait and see.” This only fuelled a need to prove independence all the more. But, in my heart, I knew I was unhappy and that I missed Him. “Help me God, please,” I prayed. And what I learned was that God will do anything to preserve our state of free-will. All through life, we are given choices and decisions to make ourselves. So instead of waiting to wake up one morning expecting God to have done all the work, I made my choice. I WANT God in my life because, for me, my happiness and security is incomplete without Him. From now on, though, I will stand by my belief that God is a good and just God and will ignore the cacophony of voices that claim otherwise.
The following is an excerpt from The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom Of The Twenty-Third Psalm by Harold S. Kushner.
“When we are frightened because the world is a scary place, God is with us. If He cannot always protect us from harm or from our own mistakes, He can ease our fears and our pain by being with us.
When we are exhausted because the world asks so much of us, God gives us times and places of refuge from the claims of the world, to calm and restore our souls. God renews our strength so that we can “mount up with wings as eagles” and continue tirelessly to do what is right.
When we are terrified at the prospect of losing control over our emotions and doing ourselves serious harm, God is with us to help us do things with Him at our side that we were not sure we could do alone.
When illness, bereavement, and the losses that come with age cast a shadow over our lives, God is there to fill the empty space, to remind us that shadows are cast only because the sun is shining somewhere, to take us by the hand and lead us through the valley of the shadow and into the sunlight.
When events in our world bring us dismay and we fear that evil is prospering, God reminds us that evil acts invariably carry the seeds of their own destruction.
When people disappoint us, when they cannot give us what we need, whether because our needs are too great or because their emotional resources are too meager, God is our reliable friend, and inexhaustible source of love and strength.
And when we find ourselves wandering aimlessly, through the world, wondering why we are here and what our lives will have meant when they are over, God blesses us with a sense of purpose, a challenge, a list of moral obligations and opportunities, every one of which will give us the sense of living our days in His presence.
There is pain in the world. If we are to be truly alive, we cannot hide from it. But we can survive it, and God’s caring presence lessens the pain.
There is death in the world, robbing us of the ones we love and one day robbing them of our presence. But God who is immortal assures us that death may take a person out of our future but cannot remove him from our past, that all the things we loved a person for have entered so deeply into our souls that they remain part of us. The Lord gives, but the Lord does not take away, and their presence is every bit as real as their absence.
There is fear in the world. There is vulnerability and uncertainty. God cannot tell us that nothing bad will ever happen to us. But God can tell us that we need not be afraid of the future, no matter what it holds. He cannot protect you from evil without taking away from other people the human power of choosing between good and bad. He cannot protect you from illness or bad luck. He cannot spare you from death and let you and those around you live forever. But He can give you the resources to transcend and overcome those fears, so that bad luck never causes you to lose faith in yourself, so that bad people never cause you to lose faith in humanity, so that the inevitability of death never causes you to give up on the holiness of life.
There will be dark days, days of loss and days of failure, but they will not last forever. The light will always return to chase away the darkness, the sun will always come out again after the rain, and the human spirit will always rise above failure. Fear will assault us, but we will not be afraid, “for Thou art with me.”
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Give us the strength to understand, and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft Earth as relatives to all that live.
— Sioux Prayer
Oh, Great Spirit who dwells in the sky, Lead us to the path of peace and understanding. Let all of us live together as brothers and sisters. Our lives are so short here, Walking upon Mother Earth’s surface. Let our eyes be opened to all the blessings you have given us. Please hear my prayers, Oh, Great Spirit. Oh, Great Spirit Whose voice I hear in the winds, And whose breath gives life to all the world, Hear me! I am small and weak, I need your strength and wisdom. Let me walk in beauty And make my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hands respect the things you have made And my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise so that I may understand The things you have taught my people. Let me learn the lessons you have Hidden in every leaf and rock. I seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, But to fight my greatest enemy ~ myself. Make me always ready to come to you With clean hands and straight eyes, So when life fades, as the fading sunset, My Spirit may come to you without shame. All my Relations!
Have compassion for everyone you meet, even if they don’t want it. What seems conceit, bad manners, or cynicism is always a sign of things no ears have heard, no eyes have seen. You do not know what wars are going on down there where the spirit meets the bone.
Becoming self-aware, especially of one’s inner life, is a spiritual practice. We can only achieve personal growth, and heal from past trauma, if we understand our thoughts, feelings and behaviours, and face up to our personal histories (warts and all) and how they have affected us. Once we learn to observe and understand our own thoughts and emotions, we become more aware of why we behave in the ways that we do, and we become more understanding of others.
Adverse life events have a huge impact on our confidence. We have to keep building and rebuilding our confidence in who we are by practising self-forgiveness, self-compassion and self-care. As well as healing from past wounds, we need to test our characters in community. It is only when we live in community that we can put our best intentions into practice, and demonstrate – to…
“What does it mean, to live in a way which acknowledges our embeddedness in the world, and our relationship with everything which participates in it along with us? It begins with remembering that, when you are in a relationship with someone or something, communication goes in both directions. Try approaching the world like this: don’t just identify that bird as a robin, and listen to his complex and beautiful song – talk to the robin in return. Let him listen to and come to know your song, just as he would come to know the caw of a crow or the husky night bark of a fox. Don’t just see that this is an ash tree, and listen to the sound that is made when the wind passes through its leaves. Let the tree listen to the sound that is made when air passes over your vocal cords. Open your mouth and let the sound out. Let the tree hear your voice. Read it a poem – maybe a beautiful poem in praise of trees. Why not praise the tree? Maybe this is what that song thrush is doing, singing way up there in its heights.” – ‘The Enchanted Life’ by SharonBlackie
“Ultimately, to live an enchanted life is to pick up the pieces of our bruised and battered psyches, and to offer them the nourishment they long for. It is to be challenged, to be awakened, to be gripped and shaken to the core by the extraordinary which lies at the heart of the ordinary. Above all, to live an enchanted life is to fall in love with the world all over again. This is an active choice, a leap of faith which is necessary not just for our own sakes, but for the sake of the wide, wild Earth in whose being and becoming we are so profoundly and beautifully entangled.” – The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie
“there may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” – elie wiesel
“oppression is not beyond us. yes, as elie wiesel says, there are many injustices we can never prevent. but we can always, always, always try. we can protest, use our voices, vote with our feet, allow ourselves to feel others pain instead of ignoring it, refuse to distance ourselves from the plight of the afflicted, fight the tide of indifference. ” -Kathy Escobar
A Litany For Peace
Thich Nhat Hanh
As we are together praying for Peace, let us be truly with each other. Silence Let us pay attention to our breathing. Silence Let us be relaxed in our bodies and our minds. Silence Let us return to ourselves and become wholly ourselves. Silence Let us be aware of the Source of Being common to us all and to all that is. Silence Evoking the presence of the Great Compassion, let us fill our hearts with our own compassion—towards ourselves and toward all living beings. Silence Let us pray that all living beings realize that they are all nourished from the same Source of Life. Silence Let us pray that we ourselves cease to be the cause of needless suffering. Silence Let us pray that we may live in a way which will not needlessly deprive other living beings of air, water, food, shelter, or the chance to live in health. Silence With reverence for Life and with awareness of the sufferings that are going on around us, let us pray for the establishment of peace in our hearts and on earth.