Category Archives: Prayer

On the Pulse of Morning by Maya Angelou

A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,

But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.

You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words

Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.

Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.

Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.

Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.

There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,

The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.

Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.

Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.

You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers—
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.

You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot…
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.

Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours—your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.

Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.

Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
To brutishness.

The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.

Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister’s eyes,
Into your brother’s face, your country
And say simply
Very simply
With hope
Good morning.


A short garden blessing

A blessing to the ground beneath my bare feet,
A blessing to the seeds that scatter,
Where they fall upon the meadow, in the field, or in the woods
Let Earth’s garden grow.

I ask the Soil to nourish the seeds,
I ask the Sun to warm the shoots,
I ask the Rains to quench the roots.
Help this garden grow.

I give thanks to the bees that dance with the flowers,
I give thanks to the worms digging deep and true.
I give thanks to the microbial world, tranformational.
The Oikos that we all call home.


Hymn to the Unknown God

O Ruler! Lord of the universe,
Whether thou art male,
Whether thou art female,
Lord of reproduction
Wherever thou mayest be!
O Lord of divination
Where art thou?
Thou mayest be above,
Thou mayest be below,
Or perhaps around
Thy splendid throne and sceptre.
O hear me!
From the sky above,
In which thou mayest be,
From the sea beneath
In which thou mayest be.
Creator of the world,
Maker of all men;
Lord of all Lords
My eyes fail me for longing to see thee
For the sole desire to know thee.
O look down upon me
For thou knowest me.
The sun–the moon–
The day–the night–
Spring–winter,
Are not ordained in vain
By thee, O Deity!
They all travel
To the assigned place;
They all arrive
At their destined ends
Whithersoever thou pleasest.
Thy royal sceptre
Thou holdest.
O hear me!
O choose me!
Let it not be
That I should tire,
That I should die!

Attributed as a Peruvian prayer in the 1913 book “Pagan Prayers” by Marah Ellis Ryan via Sacred Texts


Assyrian Prayer for the Dying

Bind the sick man to Heaven, for from Earth he is being torn away!
Of the brave man who was so strong, his strength has departed.
Of the righteous servant, the force does not return,
In his bodily frame he lies dangerously ill.
But Ishtar, who in her dwelling, is grieved concerning him, descends from her mountain unvisited of men.
To the door of the sick man she comes.
The sick man listens!
Who is there? Who comes?
It is Ishtar, daughter of the Moon God!
Like pure silver may his garment be shining white!
Like brass may he be radiant!
To the Sun, greatest of the gods, may he ascend!
And may the Sun, greatest of the gods, receive his soul into his holy hands!

From the 1913 book “Pagan Prayers” by Marah Ellis Ryan, via sacred-texts.com


Pagan Serenity Prayer

As the holidays approach, something all of us may need to maintain our sanity!!

The power of Fire, for the energy and courage to change the things I can.
The power of Water, to accept with ease and grace what I cannot change.
The power of Air, for the ability to know the difference.
And the power of Earth, for the strength to continue my path.

(author unknown, but obviously adapted from the AA serenity prayer)


Earth Day Prayer

Infinite Spirit, sometimes called Grandfather, Grandmother —
Father Sky, Earth Mother, Creator:

We gather to praise your creation,
to honor the swimmers and crawlers,
the four-leggeds and the winged ones;
we give thanks for the beauty and glory of creation
and open our hearts to new ways to understand
our place in the universe—not the center or focus,
but a humble and balanced place,
where every step we take becomes a prayer,
where every word we say
makes harmony with the vast, vibrating cosmos,
and where we know we are singing the song of life.

We pray to know more deeply that we are in the Garden
where every plant and animal and speck of dust
is a living prayer.
Without our brothers and sisters
of the plant and animal and mineral kingdoms,
the human family would end.
So we want to bless them, as they bless us.

We pray for humility—
not to humble ourselves before presidents or priests,
but before the ants and trees—
for if we cannot be in true relation to the ant,
we shall be outcasts of the garden.

Let us cast the pollution from our eyes
so we can see the glory and live with thanksgiving.

Great Spirit, let us remember
it is not how we talk but how we walk.
When we say we love animals, let us protect them.
When we say we that we love the plant people,
let us honor them by living lightly on the earth.
When we say we love the minerals,
let us use them only in necessity,
and remember their rightful places.
Oil belongs in the ground,
not in the air through our wasteful machines.

Wondrous trees, breathing life into the atmosphere:
your gifts of fire and shelter, fruit,
and sailing are precious to us.
And in many ways you offer us leaves of knowledge.

May the vision of mutual interrelatedness,
cosmic interdependence,
the seamless process of generations,
not end in cough-filled skies blotting the sun,
but rather may clear air, healthy forrests,
wholesome water, expansive prairie, and pungent earth
nourish paths for all creatures
through mountain and valley, and the salt sea,
and through a protective atmosphere,
as we rejoice in the inhabitants.

Hear and empower our mantra: reduce, reuse, recycle.

With thanks for the surprise and mystery of it all,
we pray in the name of the Creator,
the Processes and Presences, and all our relations.

(“Earth Day Prayer: In the Spirit of Indigenous Traditions” by Vern Barnet, via UUA’s Prayers for Worship online page)


wage peace

Wage peace with your breath.

Breathe in firemen and rubble,
breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds.

Breathe in terrorists
and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields.

Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees.

Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

Make soup.

Play music, memorize the words for thank you in three languages.

Learn to knit, and make a hat.

Think of chaos as dancing raspberries,
imagine grief
as the outbreath of beauty
or the gesture of fish.

Swim for the other side.

Wage peace.

Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious:

Have a cup of tea and rejoice.

Act as if armistice has already arrived.
Celebrate today.

Judyth Hill, written the day after 9/11

…not sure when/where I found this one, but its been written in my personal grimoire for some time now