meditations

prayers for people of any or no religion

a coronavirus prayer

We hold in tenderness and prayer the collective suffering of our world at this time.

We grieve precious lives lost and vulnerable lives threatened.

We ache for ourselves and our neighbors, standing before an uncertain future. 

We pray: may love, not fear, go viral. 

Inspire our leaders to discern and choose wisely, aligned with the common good.

Help us to practice social distancing and reveal to us new and creative ways to come together in spirit and in solidarity.

Call us to profound trust in your faithful presence.

Anonymous

a prayer for us and others

May we who are merely inconvenienced, remember those whose lives are at stake.

May we who have no risk factors remember those most vulnerable.

May those who have the luxury of working from home remember those who must choose between preserving their health or making their rent.

May those who have the flexibility to care for our children when schools close remember those who have no options.

May we who have to cancel a trip remember those who have no safe place to go.

May we who are losing our margin money in the tumult of the economic market remember those who have no margin at all.

May those who settle for quarantine at home remember those who have no home.

As fear grips our country, let us choose love during this time when we cannot physically wrap our arms around each other, let us find ways to be the loving embrace to God and our neighbor. 

 

By: Cameron Wiggins Bellm

a prayer for the healers

Bless all those who put themselves at risk to care for the sick 

Physicians and nurses and orderlies 

Technicians and home health aides 

EMTs and pharmacists 

Hospital social workers and respiratory therapists 

Please add names of other frontline healthcare workers.

And bless especially _______________,  

[Also please bless all our first responders, delivery people and those working in vital business that remain open to sustain and protect us.]

Who navigate the unfolding dangers of the world each day, 

To tend to those they have sworn to help. 

Bless them in their coming home and bless them in their going out. 

Ease their fear. Sustain them. 

Source of all breath, healer of all beings, 

Protect them and restore their hope. 

Strengthen them, that they may bring strength; 

Keep them in health, that they may bring healing. 

Help them know again a time when they can breathe without fear. 

Bless the sacred work of their hands. 

May this plague pass from among us, speedily and in our days. 

By: Ayelet S. Cohen

a prayer for times of anxiety

I pause (breathe in and out) 

and thank you for this day. For the challenges, the emotions, the struggle. For in all this, I grow closer to you.

I pause (breathe in and out) 

and ask that in the darkness, I see your light and in my fear, I feel your strength.

I pause (breathe in and out) 

and remember that today, As in days before, I have survived. When I’ve wanted to run, I’ve stayed. When I wanted to hide, I’ve faced the day.

I pause (breathe in and out)

and ask for forgiveness for The days I falter and the disease takes over. I ask for compassion and love when I’m unable to give those to myself.

I pause (breathe in and out) 

and resolve to love myself more tomorrow. And always feel your spirit surround me in safety.

I pause (breathe in and out)

and rest.

By: Erin Roush

a prayer for compassion

Open my heart and mind to be fully present to those I interact with throughout the day.

Allow me to listen to others without passing judgement or haste to solve what I cannot change.

Give me patience and understanding and grant me grace in my shortcomings.

Be with me in times of fatigue and lift me up with the strength to carry out your compassionate love to all those I meet. 

By: Ashley Henkes

a prayer for togetherness

I understand that drop by drop... water carves canyons,

over millions of years.

Why are our lives so short?

 

I understand that stars are huge... and unreachable.

Why are we so tiny?

 

I wish we knew more,

I wish we could do more,

I wish we lived with less pain.

 

Help us to wish together, 

Ask our questions together, 

And find answers and understanding, 

 

Together.

how to get the most out of virtual prayer services

Many houses of worship are now offering communal prayers online that you can participate in from anywhere in the world.  Check with your house of worship or Google: virtual worship services.

 

We have entered a new phase of history in which cyberspace has become the place to nurture our spiritual lives. My congregation has been experimenting with live-streamed services for six years. At the moment, Corona Virus is making gather in person not possible.  If we cannot sit together, stand together, sing together, how can we create the transcendent moments that have never been more important?

Here are a few suggestions based on our years of experience to make the most of online worship:

 

Participate. The temptation when streaming services is to be an onlooker. We regularly come to screens as passive consumers. But prayer is meant to be participatory. Follow along in your prayer book (there are plenty of online versions to access). Sing along even if you’re on mute. Stand when it’s time to stand. Join in readings. It may feel awkward at first. Give yourself permission to feel awkward.

 

“Do not go astray after your eyes.” 

When in front of a screen, even for services, it is tempting to check email, social media or the news. But we need time each day to turn off the world - to put aside the temporal and attach ourselves to that which is eternal.

 

To enter such a prayerful space requires not just turning off notices that pop up on our screens, but setting an intention: “I am dedicating this time to the holiness of prayer: to quieting my mind, to focusing my thoughts, to voicing my fears and hopes, to receiving the wisdom of my tradition.  

 

Dress the part. Get in the mood by wearing appropriate clothes — or at least not pajamas! What we wear shapes how we feel.

 

Establish a prayer space. Just as you may have a regular place you sit in your house of worship, choose a place that is comfortable, a place that allows you to concentrate, to sing aloud, and to meditate. You might choose a place in nature to give you some extra inspiration, or the deck in your backyard, a quiet room, a favorite chair.

 

Enhance your rituals. You probably can’t replicate the grandeur of a sanctuary, with its stained glass or vaulted ceilings, but consider hanging or placing religious art in a direction you wish to pray.

 

Embrace change. We are going through unprecedented times and should expect change.  Proactively make these changes, to develop a new prayer routine. Difficult as it is, we might find that this unique time deepens our experience of prayer and appreciation of community.

 

These ideas of course are just a start. Please share your suggestions for making online services meaningful with your clergy. We, too, are learning how to navigate this new world.

 

As humans, we crave connection. Many religions gather communities together for worship and prayers are often written in the plural.  Now, more than ever, we need prayer and community, and we need each other to calm our nerves, open our hearts, lift our spirit and touch our souls.

 

It can happen. For God does not live in a house of worship, but wherever and whenever we let God in.

Rabbi Alexander Davis is the Senior Rabbi at Beth El Synagogue in Minnesota, USA.

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