Saturday, January 31, 2009

I pray that...

I pray that President Obama and his family be kept safe from all harm.

I pray for a rapid turnaround for our economy: specifically that people be able to find gainful employment and/or keep their businesses running, so that they may keep their homes from foreclosure or keep their rent payments up to date, afford their medical insurance, put food on the table, and enjoy comfortable retirements.

I pray that employers will do whatever they can to keep workers on the payroll.

I pray that Unemployment Insurance benefits be extended through the end of 2009 for the long-term unemployed.

I pray for government protection against all new foreclosures without the need for homeowners to file for bankruptcy. I pray, too, that banks cease their practice of falsely claiming that homeowners are in foreclosure as a prerequisite to renegotiating high mortgage rates. This unfair practice ruins homeowners' credit ratings.

I pray that additional funding be approved for Section 8 housing and that applications be reopened for new applicants. Renters need government protection to keep roofs over their heads, too.

I pray for consumer confidence so that shoppers will stimulate the economy.

I pray that people will find it in their hearts to donate food to food pantries and houses of worship and that they make time to volunteer in homeless shelters and "soup kitchens".

I pray for a successful mediation in the Middle East, leading to a full truce and, miracle of miracles, lasting peace in the region. I pray, too, that President Obama will be able to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan and yet secure the safety of our nation.

I pray that President Obama can keep acts of terrorism from our shores.

I pray that the Obamas adopt their dog from an animal shelter, spurring new interest in rescues, relieving overcrowding in shelters and alerting the American public to the horrors of puppy mills. In fact, I pray for new legislation shutting down all puppy mills.
--Andrea, NY Episcopal Cursillo 74

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Prayer for the President, Excerpted from Psalm 72

God's expectation of those in state leadership

Give the king your justice, O God,
and your righteousness to a king's son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the needy,
and crush the oppressor.

May he deliver the needy when they call,
the poor and those who have no helper.
May he have pity on the weak and the needy,
and save the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence may he redeem their life;
and precious may their blood be his sight.

Amen to the Biblical expectation of a king, a leader, a president from a God whose primary concern is for those who are needy, poor and fatherless.

--Kristellys, New Horizon United Methodist Church

Short prayers from the Facebook Prayers for the First 100 Days site

I pray that President Obama will quickly and completely restore the right of Habeus Corpus to any, and all, people no matter who they are. And I pray that he will work to restore the proper authority and dignity to the judicial and legislative branches of our Federal Government. --Keith

I am so hopeful that change can and will happen. We are praying that our leaders have the courage, strength, and insight to choose the right (even if rocky) road. And that all of us as followers will make responsible choices that help this nation back on its feet, even as it helps the world. --Betty Jo

I pray for our leaders to have the courage to make some very difficult and unpopular decisions for the sake of the future of humanity and our planet. --Grace

Monday, January 26, 2009

Give us strength

Dear Creator and Loving Benefactor,

May these difficult times bring us all together under the leadership of Barack, and collectively realize the power to help each other through these darkest of economic times.

We are blessed with the prosperity of Hope and filled with the spirit, to uplift us in these difficult times, holding on to our homes, our jobs and our ability to provide to our families.

Give us the strength and courage to pray for and help those who need jobs, for families and individuals living paycheck to paycheck, for those facing foreclosure, and for those in need of shelter or a square meal.

Give us the ability to legislate effectively for all people who are working and have the feeling of worry during these unsure times.

Give strength to all who have mortgages to pay and for those on fixed incomes or for those who live alone without friends and family support. In you, Lord all things are possible.

Allow us the flexibility to support our new government, give clarity to Barack, and guide our politicians to do what is right and fair to everyone, not a select few.

Let not our hearts be troubled. May we find inner peace.

May we find outer community to give us strength for enthusiastic encouragement for our new President.

In Christ, we pray. Amen --Jules

Sunday, January 25, 2009

What to do first? A prayer for peace

Precious Creator,
Who loves us all more than we can love,
We worry that we will lose our jobs or homes tomorrow, some of us
Already have. We are afraid
We will be hungry today or in our old age,
As our bank accounts and retirement funds disappear.

These are not trivial fears, dear God, we worry
About our children, and the
National debt, but can we imagine
Not being able to go out
To work, or to find work or something to eat,
Because we might be hit by a bomb
Or raped by an enemy?

How can we begin to "fix the economy,"
When people, beloved by God,
Have lived for months, cramped
In small household bathrooms
With three other people,
That, if they leave,
They may be killed?

How can we create a more productive,
Secure world for ourselves,
While, at the same time, we kill
Other people, their children,
And their parents,
Or we allow it, in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Gaza, Darfur, and
Democratic Republic of Congo,
Places where God also lives?

Dear God,
In this first hundred days,
In the last hundred days, and in the
Hundreds of days
In between,
I pray

We can create peace. --Susan

This prayer was written during participation in an octave of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving for peace in Gaza and Southern Israel, initiated by the Episcopal-Muslim Relations Committee of the Diocese of New York, Jan. 18-25, 2009.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

I am afraid, Lord

I am afraid, Lord. In the last six months, I have been called racist just because I speak with a Southern drawl. I have been called a bigot because of political differences that have nothing to do with race, but only because I dared to express my political preference.

I am afraid, Lord, that socialized medicine will put me out of work like it did for thousands of Canadian nurses years ago who fled here looking for work. How will I feed my kids, Lord? Where will I have to go?

I am afraid, Lord, that I will no longer be able to afford my home, but that there will be no help for me because of the color of my skin and my college degree.

I am afraid, Lord, because it seems that no one can see the possibility, indeed probability, that this man will not be able to keep so many promises to so many people. Will the adoring masses turn ugly when they don't get what they want?

I am afraid, Lord, that this is the end of the Puritan work ethic and the beginning of expecting government to do it all. I feel like everything my family came here to build has been rejected. I feel like the entire country has slapped me and all my ancestors in the face.

I am afraid, Lord, that I have to be a hyphenated-American to have any voice. I feel unwanted in my own country. I don't have a country of origin other than this one. Isn't being just an American isn't enough?

I am afraid, Lord, that our country will only be more divided as small groups scrabble for what they believe is their entitlement - that we will become not a more unified people, but a splintered, broken, shattered shell of a once great nation.

I am afraid, Lord, and only You can provide the peace. I know others think that this man is our hope, but You, Lord, are my only hope. In my head, I know that you are in control, but in my heart, the world seems very out of control and chaotic right now. And there seems to be no place in it for me.

Help, Abba Father.
Are you listening?


Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank you, God, for the signed commitment to close Guantanamo and end torture. We are, thus, each of us, once step closer to Your realm.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Let us be united in our desire

God of Reconciliation and of second chances,

You have never gone back on your promise of loving and sustaining us…

…as individuals or communities or nations.

No matter what we have said or done

To ourselves

To each other

Or to you,

You have always called us back to be reconciled to you

And to be embraced in your loving arms

With grace and mercy and forgiveness

And a renewal of the call of justice and responsibility.

In this age of angry words and divisiveness,

Guide our president as he seeks to govern

Those who agree with his plan and policies

And those who oppose him.

Help those who celebrate do so with humility,

And help those who grieve do so with hope that all is not lost.

Even in our divisions, let us be united in our desire

To do justice,

To love kindness,

And to walk humbly…together…with you.

AMEN --Pastor John, Lutheran, Ohio

Justice and peace for the world you love so dearly

God, in your goodness and mercy, as we as a country embrace a renewed hope for the future, inspire and strengthen each of us to be your ministers of justice and peace for the world that you love so dearly. In Christ's name we pray, amen.--Rachele

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I awaken today with thanksgiving

Precious Creator,
I awaken today with thanksgiving
For the new hope which is overwhelming ordinary people,
As they make their way, in unimaginable numbers,
To Washington, D.C., to see if this hope might
Be made real.

I awaken today with thanksgiving that
We are finally shedding the cynicism
That has been fashionable,
And trying on a belief in positive change,
A raiment which, for so long,
Has been considered passé.

I awaken today with thanksgiving for
Humanity's intellect, resourcefulness, and love of work,
And pray we can resolve, in this hopeful moment,
To use them for a common good, rather than for personal gain.

I awaken today with the prayer that we can set aside
Our passivity, our desire that others should do
The difficult things,
Our tendency to ask too much of a few people
And too little of ourselves.

I awaken this day praising God and
Ready to begin.


Monday, January 19, 2009

"Not the beginning, but the continuing..."

"O Lord God, when Thou givest to Thy servants to endeavour any great matter, grant us also to know that it is not the beginning, but the continuing of the same unto the end, until it be thoroughly finished, which yieldeth the true glory."
--attrib. to Sir Francis Drake,
submitted by Dudley Stone, Church of the Holy Trinity

Sunday, January 18, 2009

King Day Prayer, Looking Forward

Gracious Creator God, you have called us to this place this evening to give thanks and celebrate the life and witness of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now as our eyes behold the darkness of evening, we recall that great light you sent into this world in the person of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We acknowledge that Dr. King is this nation's Moses, for he led us through the Red Sea of racism in a Passover that frees us from the bondage of hate and racism. We rejoice in the fruits of this Passover as we look forward to the inauguration of President Obama. Amen.
--Brother John Baptist, OSF, FODC

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Rules of Engagement: how to submit your prayers

Please submit prayers for concerns you have, for things that you wish to see changed, or begun to change, during President Obama's First One Hundred Days in office. To submit a prayer, send me an email, with the word "prayer" in subject line, to the email address listed on the blog site ( Please note if you wish the prayer to appear on a specific day within the first one hundred, either by date or by the designation Day 1, Day 10, etc. There may be several prayers posted on one day. Unless requested for specific days, I will try to spread them out.

I would like to post original prayers, that is, prayers that you have written. However, if there is a prayer already written that you think is particularly pertinent, I will post it if you include where it's taken from (e.g. Book of Common Prayer, 1928; Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle; Abraham Heschel, God in Search of Man).

I will try to post most prayers I receive, with minimal editing. I will correct spelling errors (if I see them) but not grammar, in order to maintain the writer's voice. I would like to see prayers written in positive terms. I will publish angry prayers, but not ones that are entirely negative, or include obscenities or ranting about former presidential administrations. This site will look forward, not backward.

Prayers can express a sense of humor or irreverence, but they should all respect God's presence within all of us and all of creation. They should be respectful of all religious beliefs and practices. I will post prayers from people of all faiths and with no specific faith (agnostics welcome!). I encourage religious communities and prayer groups to submit prayers.

Please sign your prayers in any way you wish to be recognized. A first name or a group name is sufficient. I will not publish sir-names unless specifically asked. I would like to post affiliations if you wish to include one, such as the name of your mosque, synagogue, parish, or temple; your religious order (including third orders and associates) or intentional communities, your prayer group or any faith community you wish to be identified with (e.g. Tanisha, Prayer Warriors of Des Moines; Mary, Alabama Cursillo 65).

It is, for me, very powerful and pleasurable to pray with others. I look forward to praying with and for all of you over the next 100 days.

Get our your shovels and pray!

Franklin Delano Roosevelt used the First 100 Days in presidential office to launch major governmental changes, including the New Deal and protections against economic collapse. Seldom are a U.S. President's First 100 Days so productive. Lyndon Baines Johnson also introduced a prodigious amount of legislation in the First 100 Days, including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and important anti-poverty legislation.

This country is entering the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression. Crises offer opportunities for transformation; indeed, they can require it. Neither Obama nor any individual, alone, can envision a transformed nation, or world, much less actualize it. Now is surely the time for us to pray for changes we care about and allow ourselves to be transformed by our prayers. Are we willing to change how we live--how we consume resources and our role in the global economy and in global politics?

There is a legendary story of St. Francis in which he was asked by a bishop why his gardens were so beautiful. Francis replied, "Prayer." The bishop inquired, "Do you mean you pray and God takes care of your gardens?" "No," Francis answered, "I pray with a hoe."

I urge you, now, to get out your shovels, hoes, and pray the future together.

January 20, 2009 is Day One.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Get Ready! Background and Invitation

This site comes from several influences. My brothers and sisters of the Peace and Restorative Justice Community of the Church of the Holy Trinity wanted to do something to mark the inauguration of Barack Obama, the first African American U.S. President. They also wanted to remind him of issues about which they were concerned and about which he had made campaign promises. People had many good ideas. For better or worse, the idea of a blog, which would solicit and post prayers from anyone, anywhere, for Barack Obama's First Hundred Days as President of the United States, was mine.

One P&RJ Community member, the Rev. K. Jeanne Person, who is also one of our parish priests, is editing a book of women's prayers on the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, Lifting Women's Voices: Prayers to Change the World. Last summer, she suggested we write prayers for the MDG goals, in solidarity with the Anglican Bishops' MDG march at Lambeth. We each wrote prayers, which we read aloud and posted in the church as Stations. Thus, I began writing prayers, which became, for me, a new way to write and a new way to pray.

I am in discernment as a lay Anglican Franciscan. The daily work that is most important in the life of any religious, of any faith, is prayer. I have been exploring various ways to pray throughout the course of the day, while at the same time living a secular life. There are myriad types and traditions of prayer--meditation, contemplation, praise, thanksgiving, adoration, repetitive prayer or chanting, mindfulness, moving meditation (T'ai Chi Chuen), and the recitation of set prayers and readings at fixed times of day (saying the Divine Offices). I took up jogging six months ago, which has also changed my prayer life. Running offers me opportunities for extraordinarily focused prayer. Prayer expresses our longing for a relationship with God. It is our search for God and God's search for us.

Intercession is the kind of prayer many of us learned as children--"God bless mom and dad and the cat, and please let it snow tomorrow...." Although I've explored various forms of prayer over the last thirty years, I am a novice at intercession (and I am not even a novice yet, as a Franciscan). An old meditator, I am still, frankly, uncomfortable with the notion of asking God for things, although Biblical encouragements to ask abound.

Some people think of intercession much as they did when they were children, as a to-do list for God. But what if intercessions aren't God's to-do lists, but ours--things that, somehow, we might manifest, together with God? Certainly, there are many things we cannot change--natural disasters or loved ones' illnesses and deaths. Intercession is a way of being with God with things that are important to us, and of forming clear intentions around those things. But some things that seem impossible for us to change might be possible if we could find the will, such as ending world hunger. In prayer, the divine spirit can give us the extraordinary will to do extraordinary things. Intercession can thus be a dialogue that includes listening to God. ("Please fix this." "Why don't you fix it? You know what needs doing.") When people pray intercessions together, the prayers also become a dialogue with one another about what is meaningful to us and what our hopes are.

This site, then, is also about hope, not pie-in-the-sky hope, but the kind of hope that motivates us to get things done that ordinarily we wouldn't or couldn't do. And, of course, it is both prayer and offering to God to help us, and our new President, build a better, saner, more compassionate country and world, for everyone and all of creation. I wish all of you peace and All Good and invite you to pray President Obama's First One Hundred Days with me.

(I would like to post prayers you submit on each day of Obama's First Hundred Days. My next post, on Wednesday, will include more information, but please begin to think about which concerns you would like us all to pray during those Days.)