Prayer–whether private or public, poetic or plain, we need it. In times of both praise and pain, the truest prayers humble us and connect us with our creator who loves us. Since 1952, presidents from both sides of the aisle have designated a national day of prayer to be held each spring. Now, when we see more than ever just how deeply we are connected and how tenuously we are tethered to this life, may we pray together as people, not as members of a particular religion or political party. It is time to pray humbly, lovingly, and hopefully, following the directive of Mahatma Gandhi that “Prayer is the key of the morning and the bolt of the evening.”
May we pray humbly: Until a crisis like a pandemic hits, we erroneously think we are in control. Try to find comfort in the truth that you are part of something much bigger, and even if it is difficult, pray with the faith that there is more. “We are born seekers, calling strange names into the darkness from our earliest days because we know we are not meant to be alone, and because we know that we await someone whom we cannot always see.” –The Reverend Barbara Brown Taylor.
May we pray lovingly: You stand on the shoulders of those who have raised you up, and if you haven’t noticed, your health and safety depends on the actions of others as well, and vice versa. Now is the time to become the most patient, unselfish, and grace-giving version of yourself possible. Pray with love for your neighbors near and far, because we truly are all in this together, “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.” —Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama.
May we pray hopefully: We are afraid. Yet, like Fred Rogers, we “look for the helpers.” God’s love shines best through his people, and perhaps the best way to feel hope is to be a helper for someone else. In the ever-hopeful words of Anne Frank, “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Right now, hope and help are at either end of the life preservers we all wait upon and ultimately cling to.
For a personal perspective, you may enjoy this video in which Kristen Milligan describes how she yearned for her children to gain four important legacies from her life: peace, prayer, promise, and purpose. Kristen co-founded Inheritance of Hope with her husband Deric as she was faced with terminal illness. In spite of cancer, she always found the peace she described through prayer.