Interfaith prayer is the experience of transcendence.
Interfaith prayer is the expression of one’s heartfelt experience of life.
Interfaith prayer is the human quest for transcendence.
Interfaith prayer is a journey to a deeper level of consciousness. Interfaith prayer is the experience of returning to the Source, the Ultimate Ground of Being. Interfaith prayer is intimacy with the Ultimate.
Interfaith prayer is fundamentally communal as the participants experience the uniqueness and richness of those who gather.
Interfaith prayer exercises humility and love as the faith communities come together. Although the faith traditions are distinct, we seek not to be distant from one another. Instead, we realize we are interconnected, interrelated, and interdependent.
Interfaith prayer affirms that truth is more than what we know and understand. All our religious beliefs and practices point to truth, beauty, and transcendence. Recall Gandhi’s metaphor of the five blind people who touched different parts of an elephant. Each described the elephant according to the part they felt. They were all correct in what they said, but only partially. Our unique religious traditions touch some aspects of what is true, good, beautiful, and ultimate. Interfaith prayer invites us to feel what each touches.
A Philosophy of Interfaith Prayer
Interfaith prayer is by nature a journey unfolding in one’s personal faith experience. We have discovered seven aspects of ever-increasing insights and awareness into a deeper level of consciousness and prayer. The prayers of the diverse Traditions invite us to a deep interior silence where word becomes song, song becomes quiet, and silence gives birth to Presence.
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in thy judgment, and guarded in thy speech.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness, and a home to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
God is beautiful and He loves those who do things that are beautiful and wholesome.
“Work not corruption in the earth after it has been made wholesome, and call upon God in fear and hope. Surely the mercy of God is near to those who do what is beautiful.” The Quran 7: 56
THE QUEST FOR TRANSCENDENCE
O Great Spirit, 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.
Let me learn the lessons you
have hidden in every leaf and rock.
Disturb us, O Lord
when we are too well-pleased with ourselves
when our dreams have come true because we dreamed too little,
because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, O Lord
when with the abundance of things we possess,
we have lost our thirst for the water of life
when, having fallen in love with time,
we have ceased to dream of eternity
and in our efforts to build a new earth,
we have allowed our vision of Heaven to grow dim.
Stir us, O Lord
to dare more boldly, to venture into wider seas
where storms show Thy mastery,
where losing sight of land, we shall find the stars.
In the name of the One who pushed back the horizons of our hopes
and invited the brave to follow. Amen
JOURNEY TO DEEPER CONSCIOUSNESS
O Almighty Sun, whose light clears away all clouds,
We take refuge in you. Guide of all people, God of all deities, Lord of all angels,
We pray you to dispel the mists of illusion from the hearts of the nations
And lift their lives by your all-sufficient power,
Your ever-shining light, your everlasting life,
Your heavenly joy and your perfect peace.
May all beings be happy, healthy and whole.
May they have love, warmth and affection.
May they be protected from harm, and free from fear.
May they be alive, engaged and joyful.
May all beings enjoy inner peace and ease.
May that peace expand into their world and throughout the entire universe.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wildernesses -
the children, the aged, the unprotected -
be guarded by beneficent celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
We pray to God to eradicate all the misery in the world:
that understanding triumphs over ignorance,
that generosity triumph over indifference,
that trust triumph over contempt,
and that truth triumph over falsehood.
Native American Tradition
Oh, Great Spirit, I hear your voice in the winds that echo in my heart, calling my people and all people of the world to live in harmony, peace, and holiness.
Let us be attentive to acts of goodness and words of kindness and compassion as we travel the four directions of the world you love so much, for you cast us upon this Holy Ground, Mother Earth, and asked us to honor all that she is.
While we have been gifted to dwell here, let us share peace and community and break bread with our families and all people who enter our life, offering them great respect, harmony, and holiness.
Oh, Great Spirit, strengthen us as we say, “Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit! Surround us with your Light.” Fill our hearts with hope and light the lamps of grace and creativity in places and communities that are most in need so that one day we might share and share alike, one heart, one mind at a time.
HUMILITY AND LOVE
Prayer Attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi
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 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!
I desire neither earthly kingdom, nor paradise; not even freedom from birth and death.
I desire only the deliverance from grief of those afflicted by misery.
Oh Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality.
May there be peace in celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome and may trees and plants bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May their wisdom spread peace all through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to all and to me.
Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. (Peace, Peace, Peace)
Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
that we may walk the paths of the Most High.
And we shall beat our swords into plowshares,
and our spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation—
neither shall they learn war anymore.
And none shall be afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
A Prayer for World Peace
We pray for the power to be gentle;
the strength to be forgiving;
the patience to be understanding;
and the endurance to accept the consequences
of holding on to what we believe to be right.
May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil
and the power of love to overcome hatred.
We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe
in a world emancipated from violence,
a new world where fear shall no longer lead men or women to commit injustice,
nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.
Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy
to the task of making peace,
praying always for the inspiration and the power
to fulfill the destiny for which we and all people were created.
With praise and thanksgiving,
we have gathered in your name,
Holy One our God.
We comprehend you, only with the desires
of our hearts to seek you.
For the beauty of this journey of life, we
humbly lift the song of our hearts in praise.
We honor your strong love.
We praise your holy compassion.
We seek your mysterious presence
We long for your enduring presence.
To love you is to serve one another.
We pledge to do so in the prayer we offer
in the splendor of this moment.
We join with all creation as we praise you.
We dance with all creatures as we love you.
We sing with everything living as we honor you.
We bow before you in the stirring of the wind.
We bless you in the outpouring of the rain.
We exclaim you in the brightness of the sun.
We seek you in the night of moon and stars.
We rest within you in the quiet of our nights.
We savor your blessings of all
in the gentleness of our humble prayer.
We love you, Holy One, our God!
We love you in all that is!
experience of transcendence
Slow Me Down Lord
Slow me down Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace
with a vision of the eternal march of time.
Give me amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the eternal hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art of taking minute vacations,
of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to pat a dog,
to read a few lines of a good book.
Slow me down Lord
and inspire me to send my roots
deep into the soil of life's enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.
Wilfred A. Peterson