Prayers can enhance our lives and those of others
By: Paul P. Jesep*/TRT Faith Columnist—
The persecuted can become the persecutor. Carl Jung referred to the “shadow” in all of us. It doesn’t matter whether straight, nonbinary, or LGBTQ – we all have the potential to do something bad. Hence, we rely on faith, ethics, and spirituality, among other things, to help keep our darker selves in check and us grounded.
In the past year, I read how gays and lesbians demeaned trans- men and women. Last month, I was shocked learning a trans woman told an immigrant to “go back to your country.”
A senior citizen told me at a cash register he supported the “make America great again” agenda, without understanding the proposed 2019 federal budget, if passed, would have cut Medicaid and Medicare by as much as 40 percent.
It leaves me speechless knowing that a White House architect separating children from parents at the border had family escape pogroms in Eastern Europe. He had relatives murdered in the Holocaust.
Abuse, unkindness, injustice, and hypocrisy overwhelm me. It’s especially during those times I turn to prayer. Prayer need not be verbal. It can be volunteerism or an act of kindness. Sometimes a kind, compassionate word can be the best gift of all. Giving of your time is one of the greatest sacrifices.
Prayer can involve something you write. Prayer, whether volunteer work, acts of kindness, or verbal or silent prayer, must be routine, like brushing teeth. Prayer grounds us, especially during times that are socially and personally overwhelming. Below are recent prayers to use, edit, discard, or inspire you to write your own.
Be a Light
Teach me, Giver of Life, through Your Holy Sophia (Wisdom) to:
Forgive and forget wrong;
Be Patient of the ignorant;
Love the spiritually broken;
Sacrifice time for the needy;
Be a positive example to others;
Economy of words for those who insult;
Allowances for the insecure and arrogant;
Offer measured responses and not overreact;
Courage to gently defend those who have been wronged;
Kind and supportive words to offer all whether foe or friend;
Never to become a persecutor, especially if I have been persecuted;
Humility in all things because there is always someone smarter, more talented, more patient, or more loving than me; and
Guide, teach, and humble me, Giver of Life, while you empower me to be one of your lights to do good in the world. Amen.
Prayer for Guidance
Holy Eternal Who Cannot be Named or Known, show me the way wherein I should walk at every moment of my life. I try to lift up my soul to you. Teach me to hear and listen to Your Holy Whisper so that I can be Your Instrument for Good. Amen.
Prayer for Others
Oh Creator, for all those who have touched my life positively or negatively, for the short-term or long-term, for those I remember and those I do not; guide them, protect them, bring them joy, peace, and happiness. Let the actions of those who have touched my life in some way be pleasing to you with each passing day so when they are called from this world, you welcome them into your Kingdom, where there is no pain or suffering, no fear or sadness, but joy, happiness, and life everlasting. Amen.
The tribalism now gripping the country can have negative consequences for every individual. This toxic environment can encourage our worse instincts. Prayer, whether spoken or acts of kindness, can make all the difference in encouraging our better angels.
*Paul is a personal chaplain, seminary trained, and ordained priest, and lawyer in greater Albany, NY. He’s author of “Lost Sense of Self & the Ethics Crisis.”