We Pray: Part II

Rev. Sean Parker Dennison

Spirit of Infinite Love,
Be with me and my people. Help us know that we are loved–wholly and deeply–exactly as we are. Help us know that our faces are a reflection of the face of the sacred, the face of God. Help us understand that our longing to be whole and tell the truth of who we are is holy. Be with us when we are afraid. Be with us when we are proud and joyful. Be with us when we are confused. Protect us from our enemies.

Help us transform the world be being ourselves and understanding the deep need for every person to have the freedom, safety, and support to do the same. Help us transform the oppression we face into determination to stand up for ourselves and for any we see also being oppressed. Help us learn to accept our anger when it is necessary and appropriate and to let it go when it is causing harm.

Help us accept and celebrate the diversity in our own community and show the world it is possible to love each other even though we do not always agree. Help us forgive. Help us listen. Help us let go of stubbornness. Let us worry more about being kind than being right.

Spirit of Life that defies labels and will not be made small by small minds, give us courage to live fully and continue to learn, grow, and transform our selves, our communities, and the world.

May it be so. May we be the ones who make it so.
Amen. Ashe’. And Blessed Be.

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg

 Your heart, and your soul, have the power to reflect and refract reflect what is good and holy about the world: you are the prism through which the light of the Sacred shines.  Please–for the good of yourself, and for the world that so desperately needs you and all of the great gorgeousness you have to offer–let it shine, shine, shine, shine on.

And may you have all of the blessings of this significant offering from the Jewish tradition (Numbers 6:24-26):
May God bless you and keep you.  May God shine God’s countenance upon you with grace. May God lift Godliness upon you and bring you peace.

The Rev. Kit Wang

As an Episcopalian, I am truly a person of the book, which is to say that I tend to find and use what’s in the book. Here are the two prayers that resonate most often with me as a queer person, a person of faith, a Christian, and a priest (who spent nearly 30 years discerning toward ordination so I could be out in my ministry)

from Psalm 139
O Lord, you have searched me out and known me :
you know when I sit or when I stand,
you comprehend my thoughts long before.
You discern my path and the places where I rest :
you are acquainted with all my ways.
For there is not a word on my tongue :
but you, Lord, know it altogether.
You have encompassed me behind and before :
and have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me :
so high that I cannot endure it.
Where shall I go from your spirit :
or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend into heaven you are there :
if I make my bed in the grave you are there also.
If I spread out my wings towards the morning :
or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there your hand shall lead me :
and your right hand shall hold me.
If I say ‘Surely the darkness will cover me :
and the night will enclose me’,
The darkness is no darkness with you,
but the night is as clear as the day :
the darkness and the light are both alike.
For you have created my inward parts :
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I will praise you, for you are to be feared :
fearful are your acts, and wonderful your works.
You knew my soul,
and my bones were not hidden from you :
when I was formed in secret,
and woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my limbs when they were yet imperfect :
and in your book were all my members written;
Day by day they were fashioned :
and not one was late in growing.
How deep are your thoughts to me, O God :
and how great is the sum of them!
Were I to count them,
they are more in number than the sand :
were I to come to the end, I would still be with you.
Search me out, O God, and know my heart :
put me to the proof and know my thoughts.
Look well lest there be any way of wickedness in me :
and lead me in the way that is everlasting.

Collect for Purity
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that I may worthily magnify your Holy Name. Through Christ our Lord, Amen.  (Book of Common Prayer 1979)

(I pray this every Sunday morning and every time I vest for worship if I’m not using it as the opening of the service. I’ve also prayed it in many times and places when I felt the need to be more opened to God.)

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers,
half-truths, and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression,
and exploitation, so that you may work for justice,
freedom and peace.
May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain,
rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort and to turn pain into joy.
May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you may do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.
(This blessing is floating around in the liturgical ether. I first met it through Integrity)

Sunshine J. Wolfe

Oh, Infinite Love, help me face this day…
My heart weeps with fear of violence, of invisibility, of hatred.
Open me to beauty and wholeness, to love and laughter.
I AM enough.  We are enough.
I live in the sacred in-between.  I embody the connectivity and allness of the Infinite.  May I remember that I am inherently sacred by my existence.

The earth is filled with magnificent diversity of which I am a small piece.  May I remember I am a part of the spectacular beauty of a diverse world dependent on that diversity- my existence- for its survival.

When I feel lost, may I hold to the earth and to community.
When I feel invisible, may I have the strength to shout joyous gratitude from the rooftops for all who have seen me.
When violence is before me, I ask for grace through the next moment.
When I feel connected, may I share my love with those around me.
When I feel seen, my I see others in need.
When I am secure, may I rise up for the security of others.

Oh, Infinite Love, I sit within you and shine you out to the world that we may know grace even when we do not live up to our most grounded values.  We are life and we are lives worth living and my life is valuable as all lives are valuable.

Oh, Infinite Love, thank you for the gift of the transcendent both, all, And, Infinite, liminal, glue, connectivity.  May I rest in that transcendent space today and for all the days to come.  aho, amin, ashe.

Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern

To all trans and other folk who are hurting and afraid, I wish you peace and happiness. No god worthy of our worship could do anything but love you, and no true church could ever exclude you. I feel very blessed to share this life with you.

The Hindu god Indra is said to have created reality as a great net, with jewels at each intersection of the threads. Every jewel is reflected in every other, and they are all connected by the infinite, intricate web. The jewels are sacred and so is the net that connects them. And so I pray:</i>

Dear God, you are the between-spaces of our lives. Where one hand reaches to touch another, you are there. Where eyes meet across the crowd and confusion and find understanding, you are there. Where the spark leaps from one mind to ignite another, that is you. Wherever we connect, you are the connection.

Each of us is a jewel in Indra’s net, shining like dew in a spider’s web. Praise to you, the web that connects us one to another!

When we are in the in-between, on our way from the intolerable to the unknown–

When we defy the categories that small minds invent and dare to imagine something beyond–

When we seek others who are on a journey, on a threshold, on the margins, any of the shimmering intersections of our lives–

When we listen to the possibilities whispered within and step into mystery, with trust, with fear, with trembling–

may we find peace, for we dwell in your sacred place.

Amy Johnson

Loving Creator, beyond our understanding yet closer than our breath, breathe into us your love so that we may love ourselves and others as you do.  Help heal the fear, hate, and judgment that wound so many.  Help us know, deeply and certainly, that your love transcends all labels, all categories, all words.  Your love is.  Your love rains down on us all.  Everyone is invited to your table.  We each bring our whole and broken parts and come together in your love, which binds us and heals us all.  Amen.

A Friend

Please don’t be discouraged by the people around you who look at differences as a weakness.  Think of all the times in your life that you have chosen the path less traveled.  Your determination and commitment to your individualism is intimidating to many.  Some hide their intimidation in unpleasant and hurtful ways sometimes through retaliative actions.

Then there are the rest of us.  We aren’t perfect.  We may say things that rub you the wrong way generally unintentionally and usually out of naivety or curiosity.  However, your determination and commitment to your individualism is what ensures the sustainability of this group.  Your stories inspire us and remind us to pay forward the gift of finding a loving community in spite of our differences.

Please don’t be discouraged by the people around you who look at differences as a weakness. There are places of worship, religions, and individuals that will love you for who you are, as cliche as that sounds.  Not only will they love you, you will make them better with your presence.  If you haven’t found that place or person, keep looking… it’s out there.

Abigail Jensen

Having been a student of A Course in Miracles for more than a decade, my favorite prayers come from the Course:

“Holy am I, eternal free and whole, at peace forever in the Heart of Goddess.”

“I am still Goddess’ holy Daughter, forever innocent, forever loving and forever loved, as limitless as my Creator, completely changeless and forever pure.”

(These prayers have been altered from the original by changing them from the second to the first person, i.e., “you” to “I”, and the masculine to the feminine.) Shame has been one of my biggest challenges. These prayers have been so powerful for me because they declare the truth of my innocence as a Child of Goddess and counter shame in all its aspects.

Finally, I will share with you the prayer that eventually led to my own transition. This prayer is addressed to the Hindu goddess Kali ,* she who destroys in order to free us from illusion to see the truth:

“Kali, please remove all that is not real.”

I said this prayer every morning during my time of prayer and meditation for two years. Its effect was not immediate, but I know that, without it, I would not have found the truth about who I am, and be living that truth, today.

*You can read about Kali here: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Kali.

Alexandra

You are exactly who you are supposed to be. It is the rest of the world that needs to change. I will send a blessing out for all of us who strive to be better: Go forth in love. Go forth in peace. May the spirit of Love surround you. We say this every week at my UU congregation.

Steven Rowe

“Are transgender people allowed to pray?”  If one prays for strength, for knowledge, for forgiveness, for help in forgiving,   for clarification, for peace; then not only are transgender people  “allowed ”  to pray, they are blessed by praying.   And so are we all.

Ashley Horan

A prayer for Trans Day of Remembrance:

Transcending spirit of love and solidarity, presence of compassion and justice, we call upon you to be with us today as we gather here; hearts both heavy with sadness and enlarged with hope and joy.

As we come together in commemoration of these lives that have been so senselessly taken, we are grateful for the names we have spoken out loud today.  While much of the world denies the violence committed against these people, we gather today to break the silence and remember together.  Even as we mourn the deaths of those we have known and those we never met, we give thanks for the love that these people contributed to the world.   Although it is their deaths that bring us together today, we choose to affirm their lives and identities as we remember them.

We send our compassionate thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of those whose loved ones have been killed as a result of ignorance, hatred and fear.  May they find comfort and strength as they move forward with their lives.

We also extend our empathy to those individuals and institutions weighed down by the heavy burden of bigotry.  While we reject all violence and injustice, we affirm our commitment to work for change in the spirit of love for all, and to meet smallness and hatred with a largeness of spirit.

Although today is a day of mourning the dead, we are gathered here to affirm the power and dignity of all life.  We remember and extend our caring embrace all those still living who suffer anti-trans violence in the form of prejudice, healthcare injustices, professional discrimination, incarceration or social exclusion.  May we all find the vision and the strength to stand together in compassionate solidarity with one another until the world we live in is the world of which we dream.

May this occasion for remembrance provide us with comfort, healing, and renewed commitment to building communities rooted in love.

Blessed be, Ashé and Amen.

Desmond Ravenstone

Two millenia ago, there lived a people who considered themselves divinely chosen.  They looked down on many who were different, because they regarded those differences as contrary to divine law, and even a form of divine punishment.

Then there came a man, from a backwater town far from the capital, who abandoned his father’s carpentry trade to become an itinerant preacher.  And the message he and his followers preached was incredibly radical.  They preached that love, rooted in the Divine, was not limited to any group, but boundless.

Samaritans, for example, were especially despised.  Yet one of this preacher’s most famous lessons was about how a Samaritan could be more in tune with divine law than any of the highest ranking members of their society.  And he even spent time alone with a Samaritan woman, talking with her and accepting her hospitality.

This society was under occupation by a brutal military regime.  Yet this preacher once praised the faith of a military commander seeking healing for his slave, saying it was greater than any he’d found amongst his own people.

The preacher was willing to question and challenge the religious authorities of his day, and his following grew.  So when he came to the capital city, those leaders conspired to have him arrested, beaten, humiliated and executed.  His terrified followers scattered.

And then, remembering his message, they came back emboldened — and they grew.

Now there are billions who claim to follow this man.  But how many of them do?  How many consider themselves so holy and special, only to fear anyone different as those ancient people did?  How many talk about love, but practice hate?

And the more important question for you, my friend: If this preacher were here today, what do you think he would say?

Anonymous

Please, please know that God loves all of his creations, transgender people most definitely included. Don’t let misguided people tell you otherwise. The idea that anyone cannot be religious because of who they are is repugnant to God.

I wish I could offer more, but I pray especially for people (trans, gay, lesbian, etc.) who have been wrongly chased from churches. There are certainly affirming churches
out there who will welcome you with open arms.

And I pray for forgiveness for the people who have chased them out.

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