This page includes several well-known prayers for inspiration, including the Lord’s Prayer from the New Testament and the famous prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.
The Lord’s Prayer
The biblical gospels (Matthew 6:9-13 or Luke 11:2-4) record a prayer that Jesus taught his disciples when they asked him to teach them to pray. The prayer covers vital aspects of life as follows:
Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power
and the glory forever. Amen.
For a related version put to music, click here.
A Prayer to Magnify God
You made everything out of nothing,
Imposed order out of chaos,
Gave birth to beauty,
And called it all good.
Help me to know You
As the one true God,
Who created everything and everyone,
The One who has placed me
On the Earth for a purpose –
To magnify Your name.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
This nearly 1000 years old prayer is still relevant today.
Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal light.
Other Wisdom from St. Francis (1182-1226)
While you are proclaiming peace with your lips, be careful to have it even more fully in your heart.
It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.
No one is to be called an enemy, all are your benefactors, and no one does you harm. You have no enemy except yourselves.
Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.
Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.
For an enlargement and elaboration on the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, see Words of Aspiration and Prayer
Prayer Including “All My Relations” (Lakota Nation, North America)
Aho Mitakuye Oyasin, all my relations by Thandiwe Dale-Ferguson
All my relations. I honour you in this circle of life with me today. I am grateful for this opportunity to acknowledge you in this prayer…
To the Creator, for the ultimate gift of life, I thank you.
To the mineral nation that has built and maintained my bones and all foundations of life experience, I thank you.
To the plant nation that sustains my organs and body and gives me healing herbs for sickness, I thank you.
To the animal nation that feeds me from your own flesh and offers your loyal companionship in this walk of life, I thank you.
To the human nation that shares my path as a soul upon the sacred wheel of Earthly life, I thank you.
To the Spirit nation that guides me invisibly through the ups and downs of life and for carrying the torch of light through the Ages. I thank you.
To the Four Winds of Change and Growth, I thank you.
You are all my relations, my relatives, without whom I would not live. We are in the circle of life together, co-existing, co-dependent, co-creating our destiny. One, not more important than the other. One nation evolving from the other and yet each dependent upon the one above and the one below. All of us a part of the Great Mystery.
Thank you for this Life.
‘Aho Mitakuye Oyasin’ is a simple yet profound statement. It comes from the Lakota Nation and means ‘all my relations.’ It is spoken during prayer and ceremony to invite and acknowledge all relatives to the moment.
To most of us today, ‘relative’ means a blood relation or another human in the family lineage. We have not been taught that an entity, other than human, could be a relative. Understanding this simple statement and contemplating it, could change your outlook on life forever. If you love and honour your relatives, you would be loving and honouring most of what is on this earth, if you lived by this meaning of ‘relative.’ What a different world we would be living in!
Buddhist Prayer for Humanity
This prayer was written by Shantideva, a Buddhist monk who lived around 700 AD. It is said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama considers this text to be THE source for developing altruism in your character and the “Spirit of Awakening.” It is also said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama recites this prayer every morning as part of his waking rituals.
Prayer for Humanity
“May I be a guard for those who need protection
A guide for those on the path
A boat, a raft, a bridge for those who wish to cross the flood
May I be a lamp in the darkness
A resting place for the weary
A healing medicine for all who are sick
A vase of plenty, a tree of miracles
And for the boundless multitudes of living beings
May I bring sustenance and awakening
Enduring like the earth and sky
Until all beings are freed from sorrow
And all are awakened.”