Thursday, March 1, 2007

Prayers for 9-11 Memorial Service

*In Remembrance*


O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees. And render this just government victorious.

Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.

Oh God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.
(From an address by Abdu’l-Baha at Hull House, Chicago, 1912)


In silently contemplating the transient nature of this human existence, nothing is more fragile and fleeting than the life of man. Thus, we have not heard of human life lasting for a thousand years. Life passes swiftly, and who among men can maintain his form for even one hundred years?

Whether I go before others, or others go before me, whether it be today or tomorrow, who is to know? Those who depart before us are as countless as the drops of dew.
Though in the morning we may have radiant health, in the evening we may return to white ashes. When the winds of impermanence blow, our eyes are closed forever; and when the last breath leaves us, our face loses its color. Though loved ones gather and lament, it is to no avail.

The body is then sent into an open field and vanishes from this world with the smoke of cremation, leaving only the white ashes. Nothing is more real than this truth of life.

The fragile nature of human existence underlies both the young and old. Therefore, we must, one and all turn to the teachings of the Buddha and awaken to the essence of life. By so understanding the meaning of death, we come to appreciate the meaning of life, which is to be treasured because it is unrepeatable. By virtue of true compassion, let us realize the unexcelled value of this existence, and let us live together with gratitude in our hearts.
(From a letter by Rennyo Shonin (1410-1499 CE), the eighth Gomonshu (Chief Abbot) of the Jodo-Shinshu sect of Buddhism, to a friend whose daughter suddenly became ill and died).

CHRISTIAN (Traditional)
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 sadness, joy.
Where there is darkness, light.

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 life.
(From the Peace Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)


On this, the anniversary of such a devastating day, we cannot call back the dead but we can call upon our Heavenly Father to bring comfort to those who have suffered. We also can plead with Him to hasten the day when men beat their swords into plowshares and, as written in Isaiah, “learn war no more”. If there is to be a change, it must begin in the home. Let us pray that our homes will be the place of teaching love and acceptance, and not hate. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Amen.


May we all be united in our hearts;
May we all be united in our speech;
May we all be united in our minds;
May we all perform our duties as did the wise men of old.
May we all be united in our prayer and goal and resolve;
May we all be united in our understanding;
May we all be united in our offering and feeling and thoughts;
May there be perfect unity amongst all of us.
AUM, Peace, Peace, Peace be unto all.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful,
Peace be upon you.
O God, help us to hold all together to the rope of You and not be divided;
O God, the Creator of all creatures, grant the victims of 9/11 the suitable reward and give their families and children patience;
O God of us all, grant our American society peace, love and harmony, and clean our hearts from the evils of hostility, bigotry, and discrimination.
O God, help America and Americans and our leaders to be leaders of principle, of peace and of justice.
O God, we ask peace and justice for all people all over the world.
Our Lord, grant us mercy from Thee and provide for us a right course in our efforts.


May it be Your will
That there will be an end to war and to the shedding of blood in this world,
And that a deep and genuine peace will pervade this world.
And that nation will not have to lift up sword against nation in this world,
And that human beings will no longer have to learn war.
Instead, may all those who live on this planet
Realize that we have not come into this world
In order to hate or to envy or to compete or to kill,
But that we have come into this world to live and to labor and to love.
(Adapted from Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlav, 17th Century Sage and Mystic)


One Universal Creator God, only Truth is Your Name. Creative Spirit, without fear, without hatred. Image of the Undying, beyond birth, self-existent. By Guru’s* grace, chant and meditate. True in the Primal Beginning, True throughout the ages, true here and now. O Nanak*, forever and ever True.
(Guru Nanak, p. 1, first message, Guru Granth*)

God, you are my Father, and You are my Mother. You are my Relative, and you are my Brother. You are my Protector everywhere; why should I feel any fear or anxiety?
By Your Grace, I recognize You. You are my Shelter, and You are my Honor. Without You, there is nothing; the entire universe is the Arena of Your Play.
You have created all beings and creatures. As it pleases You, You assign tasks to one and all. All things are Your doing; we can do nothing ourselves.
Meditating on the Naam*, I have found great peace. Singing the glorious praises of the Lord, my mind is cooled and soothed. Through the Perfect Guru, congratulations are pouring in—Nanak is victorious on the arduous battlefield of life!
(5th Guru Nanak, in Majh* measure, p. 103 Guru Granth)

Through the gift of the Naam given to us by Nanak, may we always remain in a state of peace. Within Your will, we pray for the welfare of all humanity.
(Every Sikhs closing prayer)

*Guru—word of a spiritual teacher who has realized God
Guru Nanak—founder of Sikh faith
Guru Granth—Eternal Guru of the Sikhs, Holy Scripture recited by Gurus and Saints
Majh—a style of classical eastern musical measure
Naam—the Name of God

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