I've heard some talk in the news lately about whether or not Unitarian Universalists pray. Well, I'm a Unitarian Universalist and I pray, so I guess there's at least one of us!
Oh, lots of you do, too? OK, then yes, I guess some of us do pray. You know kids, we're lucky. I grew up UU and you're growing up UU so for us that word "pray" isn't weighed down with stones like it is for some people who were taught who to pray to and exactly how to pray.
There is this place deep inside, you could never see it on an x-ray. Your doctor couldn't find it. It's in your soul. It's the most quiet and peaceful place ever. For me prayer is like a key to open the door to that place. There are other ways to get there, but this is a way for me to get there right away.
Now there are lots of ways to pray. I'll show you a couple and if you choose to join me, you can but you really don't have to.
First, we'll try silent prayer. I like to make a cup with my hands and either hold them together in my lap or out and up on the sides. This helps me catch the energy from the beautiful universe and from you and from the trees and the ocean and the sky and the whole planet. Then I do "peace-love" breathe in peace, breathe out love. And I close my eyes, and I just sit. Let's try it together. (hands*peace-love*close eyes*sit)
Wow. I don't want to stop! But there are more ways to pray.
Sometimes words get in the way, because we're praying a "please" prayer or a "thank you" prayer or a "wish" prayer. So, sometimes it's nice to have the words written by someone else, so you can pay attention to the feelings. Here's a birthday blessing: (from "A Child's Book of Blessings and Prayers, Collected by Eliza Blanchard, Illustrated by Rocco Baviera)
On your birthday we pray
Green be the grass you walk on,
Blue be the skies above you,
Pure be the joys that surround you,
True be the hearts that love you
That's nice isn't it?
And sometimes we pray with our bodies. We just said it this morning in our unison affirmation "Service is our prayer" some people here care so much about our church community and have such a wish that we have a wonderful Sunday that they got here early to offer their service. Like the greeter who smiled at you and made sure you had the right hymnal, that was their prayer. And the people who did the "ministry of the chairs" and got here to set up all these chairs we're sitting in, you could say that was their prayer.
And sometimes, if maybe you've eaten too much chocolate and didn't really get enough sleep the night before and maybe something exciting is about to happen and your body just is feeling all wild, well then you can do a body prayer and find that little place inside again. Here's one we can all try together:
The beautiful sky (hold hands like you're feeling the rain)
The clean fresh air (reach up to the sky)
The people near by (reach out and touch the hands of the people near you)
The world we share (make a big circle in front of you)
I'm lucky to be the real me (hug yourself)
Yeah, that feels good! You can do it without the out loud words just about anytime you want to, it can really help.
And finally, we all know how much I love to sing. and sometimes we can pray with a song. This song is a "thank you" song. I'll sing a line and you be my echo. (1010 in Singing the Journey)
Oh we give thanks
For this precious day
For those gathered here
And those far away
For the time we share
With love and care
Oh we give thanks
For this precious day!
Thanks for praying with me everyone! Maybe this can help you open the door to your special quiet place in you soul whever you want to. Let's go now in peace!