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O God whom we know but long to know better, You who are the depth of our own being and the mysterious Other whom we encounter:
Ours is a prayer for courage, the courage to be ourselves; the courage to face reality, to accept the uncertainty of the future and the fact of our mortality. May we have the courage to doubt and the courage to doubt our doubts. When our lives are like a house of cards that threatens to collapse, grant us strength to step into the dark singing a bold song of trust in You.
Ours is a prayer for self-acceptance. Increase our hunger to know the truth, the whole truth about ourselves; for we know we cannot defeat the evil in us so long as we pretend it is not there. Unmask our hidden hostilities. Teach us to recognize our forbidden desires. Help us to accept our whole selves.
Ours is a prayer for love. We pray to be more able to love, to give love as well as to receive it. May our confession of how critical and judgmental we are be a first step on our journey toward becoming white corpuscles fighting the infections of prejudice and hatred which threaten our whole world.
To our spoken words of prayer, we add the unspoken desires and longings of our hearts to find You, the Source of all good that causes us to pray for courage, for self-acceptance, and for love.
OPEN OUR LIVES
O Love that holds our souls in life, we confess the inconstancy of our lives: our contentment with mediocrity, our timidity in speaking, our uncharitableness.
Locked behind doors of fear-filled self-concern, we pray to be able to draw back every bolt and bar, that there may be openness and light and joy in all our being.
We would open our eyes to all the wonder of Your order, to the glory of color and shape, to the strength in ordinary children and youth, men and women, to the sublimities of the human story, and to all such intima tions of Your presence.
We would open our ears to all the varied music of the world: the melodies of human voices, the swelling harmonies of many instruments, and all the music not made by us: the songs of wind and bird, the thun der’s timpani, the rhythms of running water.
We would also open our ears to the still sad music of humanity: the falling of our tears, the woe of our hearts.
We would open our minds for new thoughts, the weighing of new evidence welcoming what challenges our complacency and prejudice, proving all things.
We would open our hands, ready to share Your bounty, freeing our selves from miserly clutching and from grasping at life as though You had not provided abundantly for all our needs.
We would open our lips, not in foolish words and much speaking, but to utter the courageous word when people are downhearted, the sympathetic word when they are suffering.
Open our lips, O God, that our mouths may show forth Your praise.
Arthur Foote II (1911-1999) was a Unitarian Universalist minister at Unity Church in St. Paul, Minnesota from 1945-1970. He continued his family’s tradition of creating new music for the church and also served in national leadership as the Chairman of the Hymnbook Commission of the Unitarian Universalist Association.