Prayers & Spirituality
I think reality as a whole and people, in particular, are both physical and spiritual beings.
We can't argue that physical reality exists.
We may not understand all of it or agree 100% on what it is,
But it is always there in front of us.
When it comes to spiritual reality,
Our understanding of it is more personal and less provable.
If you do not think there is any spiritual aspect of reality,
Then please feel free to not explore the topic.
But if you do think there is something about us and the rest of reality
which exists beyond the merely physical,
Then read on and share your thoughts.
Share Your Thoughts
There are many prayers for wisdom, strength, and courage in every faith tradition in the world. One of the best I have come across is an American Indian prayer called “The Great Spirit Prayer.”
"Oh, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the wind,
Whose breath gives life to all the world.
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.
Help me to remain calm and strong in the face of all that comes towards me.
Let me learn the lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Help me seek pure thoughts and act with the intention of helping others.
Help me find compassion without empathy overwhelming me.
I seek strength, not to be greater than my sister or brother, but to fight my greatest enemy
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.
Another Prayer which I say often and reminds me of what is important in life and how I should live my life is the prayer of St. Francis.
Lord, 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 God, 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
And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life
There are also two shorter prayers which I say many times on some days, particularly when I will be involved in meetings with a number of people so that all of us will bring our best selves to the meeting and that our work together will be productive. The first is a prayer to be led along a path which will use the best of our hearts and minds and will lead us to joy in positive accomplishments.
"God, Who by the light of the Holy Spirit
did instruct the hearts of Your faithful people,
grant us by that same Spirit to be truly wise in all things,
and to rejoice in the good You lead us to do."
The second prayer is even shorter:
Come Holy Spirit fill the hearts of Your faithful people, and
Kindle in us the fire of love.
Send us Your Spirit
And together, we shall renew the face of the earth.
Submitted by a Wisconsin man who is a member of the Bahai faith community:
”O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers.
I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge.
I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being.
O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me.
I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.
O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.
The same person who submitted the prayer above from the Bahai faith, also submitted his own prayer which he tries to say often. My paraphrase of his prayer is:
“Dear God, as we walk together through the challenges of life,
please keep your arm around my shoulder,
and your hand over my mouth.”
Here’s The Golden Rule For Different Religions And Philosophies
- In everything, do unto others what you would have them do to you. For this sums up the law and the prophets. Christianity - Matthew 7:12
- Do not offend others as you would not want to be offended. Buddhism - Udanavarga 5:18
- None of you are true believers until you love for your brother what you love for yourself. Islam - Prophet Muhammad
- What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Judaism - Hillel, Talmud, Shabbat 31a
- Tzu-kung asked, “Is there one word which can serve as the guiding principle for conduct throughout life?” Confucius said, “It is the word altruism (shu). Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.” Confucianism - Analects 15:23
- I am a stranger to no one; and no one is a stranger to me. Indeed, I am a friend to all. Sikhism - Guru Granth Sahib, pg. 1299
- Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. Taoism - T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien, 213–218
- One should treat all creatures in the world as one would like to be treated. Jainism - Mahavira, Sutrakritanga
- We are as much alive as we keep the Earth alive. Native American Spirituality - Chief Dan George
A Suggestion for How to Live the Golden Rule in Our Everyday Life
By Brother Satayananda, a monk at the Self Realization Fellowship in California
Taken from Parabola magazine, Winter 2021-2022 Issue
Who we become is our ultimate accomplishment.
As we begin to discover who we really are
we want to grow and develop ourselves
so we can give others the best of ourselves.
We are interconnected.
We are not isolated.
We have roots in each other.
The unity we seek ,
the happiness we seek,
the sustained fulfillment we seek
is connected to others.
To live and serve with “bliss-bestowing hands”
is the fulfillment of every virtue,
the fulfillment of every golden rule.
Guideposts is a spiritual non-profit organization that encourages wellness through inspirational content creation. Guideposts publishes annual devotionals, books about faith, Christian fiction novels, five spiritual magazines, prayer content, as well as a content-rich website for daily inspiration. Guideposts has outreach programs to encourage wellness and help lifts the spirits of those in need – including military personnel, military families, support groups, hospitalized children, etc.
Guideposts reaches millions of people, inspiring them to believe that anything is possible with hope, faith and prayer. This is accomplished through our outreach programs that allow us to connect with people and help sustain them in times of spiritual need. The power of faith in action helps transform the lives of people who call on us for help in creating joy out of deep sadness, courage out of fear and restoring hope from the depths of despair.
Guideposts’ work is a calling to make humanity more hopeful and caring. We seek to build and support communities that lift up individuals at their most vulnerable moments and sustain them during their daily struggles. We inspire through storytelling and provide a supportive environment for individuals to share their journeys of spiritual discovery and healing. Lives are changed for the better, hope replaces despair and fellowship softens the pain of grief and loneliness for the many we are called to serve together.
This article was sent to me by a woman in Oregon. She was not sure who wrote it. I included it in the Prayers and Spirituality section of this website because it has aspects of prayers and spirituality to it.
At birth we boarded the train and met our parents, and we believe they will always travel by our side. As time goes by, other people will board the train; and they will be significant i.e. our siblings, friends, children, strangers and even the love of your life. However, at some station our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone. Others will step down over time and leave a permanent vacuum. Some, however, will go so unnoticed that we don't realize they vacated their seats. This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
The mystery to everyone is: We do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way, love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you a joyful journey for the coming years on your train of life. Reap success, give lots of love and be happy. More importantly, thank God for the journey!
Lastly, I want to thank you for being one of the passengers on my train!
Some thoughts and a picture from a thoughtful woman in Wisconsin:
I am familiar with a hymn since Elementary school. In the past 10 years or so, I was pleasantly surprised that it would come to mind, seemingly without provocation. I'd "hear" the words when it came to my mind, and I'd sing, "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow," and usually just stop after that, even though there are a few more lines of lyrics. It seems to have become more like a mantra for me, often coming to mind while I was driving or walking in the morning. It continues to surface as a surprise to me. No formal Meditation time set aside to focus on it. It's just a simple, yet powerful string of words; the first sentence of a hymn, which reminds me of the Spiritual basis of life and centers me. "Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow." I only need the first sentence, sung soulfully, aloud, or silently, if others are around. It comes naturally, raising my consciousness of the blessings and goodness surrounding me in my life. My HOPE is that everyone will be able to see the beauty and blessings in their lives and have HOPE that the goodness WILL prevail. Peace ☮
“Out of Many One” Read More and “The Power of Shared Heartbreak” Read More are two reflections sent to me by a friend of mine who is a nun. The source of the reflections is the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.
TRY A LITTLE TENDERNESS
By Maria Shriver in Maria Shriver’s Sunday Paper
Inspire Hearts & Minds. Move Humanity Forward
Earlier this week, I thought I was going to write this Sunday about the long lines people have been standing in to vote. Then I thought I was going to write about Amy Coney Barrett’s testimony in front of the Senate. Then I watched the dueling town halls on Thursday night and thought, “OK, I’ll write about that.” (As usual, a lot happened this week, and there was a lot to think about.)
But then Pope Francis got me. He always gets me.
This week, the Pope wrote: “Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women.” Read More
PRAYER OF THE WEEK AT THE END OF MARIA SHRIVER ARTICLE