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ALL THAT WE HAVE
Almighty God, Giver of every good and perfect gift, teach us to render unto You all that we have and all that we are, that we may praise You not with our lips only but with our whole lives, turning the sorrows and the joys of each successive day into a living contribution to Your life.
Dear God, who ever feels the pain of the world: we are grateful that You enfold all sick and suffering persons with Your love, that in the midst of pain we may find Your presence. We are thankful to family and friends, to doctors and nurses who seek to give health again in body and soul.
God of our days and our nights, brace us and hearten us as we face our daily duties. In our hours of weariness and discouragement, You save us from self-pity. In our moments of achievement, You keep us humble. So may we worthily fulfill our tasks and meet the duties of our day.
FOR LIFE MORE ABUNDANT
Gracious God, we pray that we may help to feed the hungry, clothe the needy, heal the sick, and better enable Your children everywhere to live a more abundant life.
LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES
Lest I forget the great traditions of freedom and faith which are the heritage of humanity; lest I forget the pioneers, the statesmen, the bridge builders, the artists; and lest I forget You, the God of our forebears who is our God also: I light this candle of remembrance.
For the hope of a better world, in which righteousness and peace shall prevail among the people of the earth, and to create which is the task of the generations in which we stand, as well as for the courage and faith we shall need if we are to carry on this unfinished work: I light this candle of consecration.
May each flame upon the altar of freedom’s faith shine in our hearts always, reminding us of the fearful places to which we may carry light and strengthening us in moments of doubt and discouragement with unwavering faith in You whom we serve and whose we are.
THE GRACE TO LISTEN
O God, as I grow in experience, I pray I may keep from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject and on every occasion. Release me from craving to try to straighten out everyone’s affairs. Give me the grace to listen to the tales of others’ pains, but seal my lips to my own increasing aches and pains since my love of rehearsing them grows stronger as the years go by. Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to become a sour old person. May I be thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy. With my growing store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all—but You know, O God, that I don’t want to lose all my friends!
SLOW ME DOWN…YET ALSO
Slow me down, O God. Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of our mind.
Yet also, wake me up. Shake the complacency out of my soul by opening my mind to the cry of the wounded, the refugees wandering without homes, the homeless at home, and the children who starve.
Steady my hurried pace with a vision of the eternal reach of time;
Yet also, quicken my steps with a vision of the urgent action now required to cure the causes of stunted growth, premature death, battered women, and abused children.
Give me, amid the confusion of the day, the calmness of the everlasting hills;
Yet also, alert my eyes not to the comforting illusion of constancy divorced from change, but rather to such sharp reality as deep poverty surrounding us at home and abroad.
Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles with the soothing music of the singing streams;
Yet also, give me amid the calm days of our years, a soul which is prepared to cope with the confusion occurring amidst new creation in the cities and the countries of the earth.
Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep;
Yet also, break the chains of euphoria deluding me to think that I am acting responsibly when I do no more than listen to music which protects my feet from marching.
Remind me of the fable of the hare and the tortoise, that I may know that there is more to life than increasing its speed;
Yet also, remind me of the fable of the astrologer who fell plumb to the bottom of a well, not seeing his feet while reading the sky.
Slow me down, O God, and inspire me to send my roots deep into the soil of life’s enduring values, that I may grow more surely toward the stars;
Yet also, wake me up, so our eyes may see the people around me and my arms may be open to embrace the suffering who cry.
PRAYER OF A PARENT
Now that the children are asleep, dear God, I am tired and would spend a half hour in stillness. May my burning heart feel Your ever-renewing power. May my clouded spirit be lost in the clarity of Your wisdom. May I not be annoyed by the little things of life. You give me a large view, a sense of proportion, so I can truly judge what is important, what is not. I turn to You for strength to be a fine parent to my children, knowing how to help them to unfold their dreams, as well as to care for their bodies. May they grow up healthy, creatively affirming life.
You are the path and the God that paths never reach. You feed and sustain all that we see. You are the trembling grass and the tiger that creeps over it. You are the light in sun and moon, and the sounds fading into silence. You are the sanctity of sacred books. You are the good that destroys evil.