Posts Tagged ‘prayer to turn fear into hope’

 

Guest Writers: Avi Dell and Ze’eva Berman

Posted on: March 16th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

This is a mash-up of two prayers written in my “Introduction to Creative Liturgy” class at HUC-JIR in Jerusalem. Ze’eva Berman (cantorial) and Avi Dell (rabbinical) are first-year students there. The first in-class assignment was to write a prayer for a moment of personal challenge. After hearing the prayers separately, I asked them to read the prayers together, alternating between them line-by-line. It fit. Afterward, Avi and Ze’eva reworked the combined prayer slightly, using it in student-led t’fillah. To capture in print the feeling of hearing it out loud, the alternative verses are in standard type (Ze’eva) and italics (Avi). This post is part of new addition to this space: occasionally featuring guest writers.

Untitled
I feel shaken and I feel scared.
Spiritual awakening is at your door.

I don’t know what will happen
And I don’t know how it will feel.
Cling not to whom you were before.

Stay with me through my grief, my joy, my emptiness.
Steady me with your constant presence of love.

Knowing that in your final scene,
You deserve to be anywhere but in-between.

© Ze’eva Berman and Avi Dell. All rights reserved.

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Postscript: Read the prayer of my first Guest Writer, Eliza Scheffler, also an HUC-JIR student, by clicking here, and my second guest writers, pupils at Temple Beth Jacob, Concord, NH, by clicking here.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: DevPolicyBlog

The Preacher Said

Posted on: November 9th, 2016 by Alden No Comments

img_0717Here’s a prayer for use in celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day and written for my book, “This Grateful Heart.”

The Preacher Said
Let us pray,
The preacher said,
Let us pray in the name of hope,
In the name of justice,
In the name of truth.

Let us commit to each other,
The preacher said,
Commit in the name of equality,
In the name of righteousness,
And in the name of our children.

Let us take to the streets,
The preacher said,
Let us take to the streets
To make our space,
To claim a place,
For no one race
Can live in grace,
Until we face,
Together,
Oppression and hate.

Let us walk,
The preacher said,
Let us walk from Selma to Montgomery,
From oppression to the Promised Land,
From fear to courage,
From silence to action,
From today to the future,
To a place where all people
Will be judged by the content
Of their character,
The humanity of their words,
And the compassion of their deeds.

Stick with love,
The preacher said,
Stick with love
Because love is the only answer.

Stick with love.
Stick with love.

Let us pray,
The preacher said,
Let us pray in the name of hope,
In the name of justice,
In the name of truth.

Reprinted with permission from This Grateful Heart, © 2017 CCAR Press. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Here’s a link to a prayer “In Thanks for U.S. Democracy.”

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Photo Source: Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub

In Sorrow

Posted on: January 31st, 2016 by Alden No Comments

Clouds with Bird SilhoueteThis is new a prayer for moments of sorrow, regardless of whether they’re tied to a particular event – such as a loss or trauma – or are more general feelings of depression or despair. Here’s a related prayer called “Seasons of Sorrow.” Both appear in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

In Sorrow
Ancient One,
Send light into this darkness
And hope into this despair.
Send music into this emptiness
And healing into this aching heart.

Air.
All I need is air.
A breath to give oxygen
To the anguish within.
A breath to give voice
To the howl in my heart.
A breath to set me free.

I am undone.
Crushed silent by sorrow.
Bereft by loneliness and loss.
Still yearning for healing.
Still yearning for love.
Still yearning for You.

Ancient One,
Send light into this darkness
And hope into this despair.
Send music into this emptiness
And healing into this aching heart.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: This is one of the few prayers in which I use the same language for the opening and closing stanzas.

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Photo Source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Digital Library

Cursing toward Heaven

Posted on: August 15th, 2014 by Alden No Comments

DarksunG-d hears prayer. Some would say that G-d listens, with special attention, to the prayers of a suffering heart. This prayer rails to heaven with sorrow and anger, but never loses faith in G-d’s desire to hear even our most heart-wrenching woes. For some, the prayer may be too raw or too blunt. For others, it may be a gateway to a powerful conversation with G-d. In that sense, it is about releasing sorrow and anger to make space for holiness and love.

Cursing toward Heaven
G-d of Old,
Well of understanding,
Source of compassion,
I call out to You as witness
To my sorrow and my fear,
My anger and my pain.

Damn cancer.
Damn abuse.
Damn violence.
Damn rape.
Damn hit and run.
Damn alcoholism.
Damn Alzheimer’s.
Damn Parkinson’s.
Damn war.
Damn terror.
Damn torture.
Damn hunger.
Damn greed.
Damn abduction.
Damn _____________.
Damn _____________.
Damn _____________.

Oh sorrow and grief,
Too present in our days,
You will not win my life.
For my G-d listens to the aching heart.
My G-d listens to the suffering soul.
My G-d yearns to heal
All who cry out from the depths of despair.

Blessed are You, G-d of Old,
Who hears prayer.

© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: Other prayers about difficult emotions include: “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger,” “Shame” and “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

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Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

The Spark

Posted on: May 28th, 2013 by tobendlight No Comments

campfireThis is a brief meditation on taking so-called negative emotions and harnessing them for sacred purpose. Although dark, it has an optimistic message: even when besieged by our worst thoughts and feelings, we can turn the power of these emotions toward healing. This theme is reflected in a set of prayers devoted to individual emotions, “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger” and “Shame.” This will appear in my forthcoming book, Song of the Spiritual Traveler.

The Spark
Oh strange fate.
Oh cruel humor.
I am stalked from within.
The dark night of my soul
Lurks heavy in the hollows of my veins,
Sometimes silent,
Sometimes wild with passion and revenge.

Oh odd fate.
Oh curious humor.
My fear and doubt,
My anger and shame,
Are a well of compassion
And a professor of justice,
A source of humility
And a guide to understanding.

Oh mystery and majesty.
Oh wonder and awe.
That alone, in pain,
The spark of holiness is ready,
Leading me to turn this power,
Toward healing the world.

© 2013 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: See also “Doubt,” “Fear,” “Anger,” “Shame” and “Witnessing: A Meditation.”

Please consider making a contribution to support this site and my writing. For usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: Alaskan Campfire Fishing/Tours

Season of Sorrow

Posted on: May 16th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

Sad_WomanThis is a prayer to turn seasons of sorrow into seasons of hope. Many of my friends appear to have a season that they associate with sorrow, a time when endings and bad moments appear to cluster. I wrote this in late March, thinking about the third anniversary of Ami’s z”l death. I’ve come to think of April as my season of loss. But I also met her in late April, just after my birthday. Two huge gains. Why did I let my sorrows define the season? This appears in my book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.

Season of Sorrow
This is my season of sorrow.
A time when struggles recur and challenges arrive,
A time of endings and distress.
In this season I’ve known
Moments of pain,
Moments of sadness,
Moments of confusion.
Times of loss and
Times of grief,
Moments that stripped me of wisdom
And left me crushed and breathless,
Cold and in deepening shadow.

Holy One,
Help me recall my seasons of joy,
To recall with hope and praise
Your gifts and blessings.
Moments of laughter.
Moments of kindness.
Moments of peace.
Times of health. Times of clarity.
Moments that lifted my spirit
And comforted my heart.

In truth,
These joys and sorrows
Are gifts of holiness,
Gifts of mystery,
Gifts beyond my wisdom,
My knowledge,
My understanding.

Rock and Redeemer,
You are my comfort and my strength,
My light and my truth.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day

Postscript: Here are other prayers about transitions and transformations: “Leaving,” “River” “Rhythms” and “Transitions.”

Please check out my Meet the Author video and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” For notices of new prayers, please subscribe. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

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