Interfaith Prayers for the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation
On the heels of his historic encyclical released in June, Pope Francis has declared Tuesday, September 1 the first World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation. In response, faith communities are organizing prayer and practical initiatives that actively address the environmental crisis facing our communities.
Francis says he was inspired by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christians have been praying for the preservation of the natural creation on September 1 since the late 1980s.
“We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective,” he said. “It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.”
The World Day of Prayer for the Care for Creation is meant to be celebrated “with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful,” Pope Francis said, and should “become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles.”
We invite you to join your faith community and/or spend some time in quiet reflection of your own. Below, are a few prayers of inspiration:
Guru Arjan (Sikh):
You are the Ocean of Water, and I am Your fish. Your Name is the drop of water, and I am a thirsty rainbird. You are my hope, and You are my thirst. My mind is absorbed in You. Just as the baby is satisfied by drinking milk, and the poor person is pleased by seeing wealth, and the thirsty person is refreshed by drinking cool water, so is this mind drenched with delight in the Lord. Just as the darkness is lit up by the lamp, and the hopes of the wife are fulfilled by thinking about her husband, and people are filled with bliss upon meeting their beloved, so is my mind imbued with the Lord’s Love. The Saints have set me upon the Lord’s Path. By the Grace of the Holy Saint, I have been attuned to the Lord. The Lord is mine, and I am the slave of the Lord. O Nanak, the Guru has blessed me with the True Word of the Shabad.
Hindu Peace Prayer (Hindu):
I desire neither earthly kingdom, nor even freedom from birth and death. I desire only the deliverance from grief of all those afflicted by misery. Oh Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality. May there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficient beings bring peace to us. May thy wisdom spread peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to all and to me. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace).
Hazrat Inayat Khan (Sufi):
Through the silence of nature,
I attain Thy divine peace.
Oh sublime nature,
in thy stillness let my heart rest.
Thou art patiently awaiting the moment
to manifest through the silence of sublime nature.
Oh nature sublime, speak to me through silence,
for I am awaiting in silence like you the call of God.
Oh nature sublime,
through thy silence I hear Thy cry.
My heart is tuned to the quietness,
that the stillness of nature inspires.
Islamic Peace Prayer (Islam):
We think of Thee, worship Thee, bow to Thee as the Creator of this Universe; we seek refuge in Thee, the Truth, our only support. Thou art the Ruler, the barge in this ocean of endless births and deaths. In the name of Allah, the beneficient, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations. Give us wisdom that we may know each other and not despise all things. We shall abide by thy Peace. And, we shall remember the servants of God are those who walk on this earth in humility and, when we address them, we shall say Peace Unto Us All.
Helen Weaver (from Earth Prayers, p. 209):
O our Mother the Earth, blessed is your name.
Blessed are your fields and forests, your rocks and mountains, your grasses and trees and flowers, and every green and growing thing.
Blessed are your streams and lakes and rivers, the oceans where our life began, and all your waters that sustain our bodies and refresh our souls.
Blessed is the air we breathe, your atmosphere that surrounds us and binds us to every living thing.
Blessed are all creatures who walk along your surface or swim in your waters or fly through your air, for they are all our relatives.
Blessed are all people who share this planet, for we are all one family and the same spirit moves through us all.
Blessed is the sun, our day star, bringer of morning and the heat of summer, giver of light and life.
Blessed is the moon, our night lamp, ruler of the tides, protector of all women, and guardian of our dreams.
Blessed are the stars and planets, the time-keepers, who fill our nights with beauty and our hearts with awe.
O Great Spirit whose voice we hear in the wind and whose face we see in the morning sun, blessed is your name.
Help us to remember that you are everywhere, and teach us the way of peace.
Rabbi Nachman (Jewish):
Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone:
May it be my custom to go outdoors each day, among the trees and grasses, among all growing things, there to be alone and enter into prayer.
There may I express all that is in my heart, talking with You, to Whom I belong.
And may all grasses, trees and plants awake at my coming.
Send the power of their life into my prayer, making whole my heart and my speech through the life and spirit of growing things.
Canticle of the Sun, St. Francis of Assisi (Christian):
Most High, omnipotent, good Lord,
All praise, glory, honor, and blessing are yours.
To you alone, Most High, do they belong,
And no man is worthy to pronounce your name.
Be praised, my Lord, with all your creatures,
Especially Sir Brother Sun,
Who brings the day, and you give light to us through him.
How handsome he is, how radiant, with great splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon and the Stars.
In heaven you have formed them, bright, and precious, and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Wind,
And for Air, for Cloud, and Clear, and all weather,
By which you give your creatures nourishment.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water,
She is very useful, and humble, and precious, and pure.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire,
By whom you light up the night.
How handsome he is, how happy, how powerful and strong!
Be praised, my Lord, for our Sister, Mother Earth.
Who nourishes and governs us,
And produces various fruits with many-colored flowers and herbs.
Praise and bless the Lord,
And give thanks and serve him with great humility.
Prayer (Ute Tradition):
Earth teach us stillness,
As the grasses are stilled with light.
Earth teach us suffering,
As old stones suffer with memory.
Earth teach us humility,
As blossoms are humble with beginning.
Earth teach us caring,
As the mother secures her young.
Earth teach us courage,
As the tree which stands all alone.
Earth teach us limitation,
As the ant which crawls on the ground.
Earth teach us freedom,
As the eagle which soars in the sky.
Earth teach us resignation,
As the leaves which die in the fall.
Earth teach us regeneration,
As the seed which rises in the spring.
Earth teach us to forget ourselves,
As melted snow forgets its life.
Earth teach us to remember kindness,
As dry fields weep with rain. Amen.
Thich Nhat Hahn (Buddhist):
Turning on the Water
Water comes from high mountain sources.
Water runs deep in the Earth.
Miraculously, water comes to us and sustains all life.
My gratitude is filled to the brim.
Washing Your Hands
Water flows over these hands.
May I use them skillfully
to preserve our precious planet.
Watering the Plants
Don’t think you are cut off, dear plant.
This water comes to you from the Earth and sky.
You and I have been together
since beginningless time.
Watering the Garden
The sunshine and the water
have brought about this luxurious vegetation.
The rain of compassion and understanding
can transform the dry desert into a vast fertile plain.
Changing Water in a Vase
Water keeps the flower fresh.
The flower and I are one.
When the flower breathes, I breathe.
When the flower smiles, I smile.
Rabbi Ren Shapiro (Jewish):
My friends, let us give thanks for Wonder. Let us give thanks for the Wonder of Life that infuses all things now and forever.
Blessed is the Source of Life, the Fountain of Being the wellspring of goodness, compassion and kindness from which we draw to make for justice and peace.
From the creative power of Life we derive food and harvest, from the bounty of the earth and the yields of the heavens we are sustained and are able to sustain others.
All Life is holy, sacred, worthy of respect and dignity. Let us give thanks for the power of the heart to sense the holy in the midst of the simple.
We eat not to simply satisfy our own appetites, we eat to sustain ourselves in the task we have been given.
Each of us is unique,
Coming into the world with a gift no other can offer: ourselves.
We eat to nourish the vehicle of giving; we eat to sustain our task of world repair, our quest for harmony, peace and justice.
We eat and we are revived, and we give thanks to the lives that were ended to nourish our own.
May we merit their sacrifice, and honor their sparks of holiness through our deeds of loving kindness.
We give thanks to the Power that makes for Meeting, for our table has been a place of dialogue and friendship.
We give thanks to Life. May we never lose touch with the simple joy and wonder of sharing a meal.
Thou kind Lord! O Thou Who art generous and merciful! We are servants of Thy threshold and are gathered beneath the sheltering shadow of Thy divine unity. The sun of Thy mercy is shining upon all, and the clouds of Thy bounty shower upon all. Thy gifts encompass all, Thy loving providence sustains all, Thy protection overshadows all, and the glances of Thy favor are cast upon all. O Lord! Grant Thine infinite bestowals, and let the light of Thy guidance shine. Illumine the eyes, gladden the hearts with abiding joy. Confer a new spirit upon all people and bestow upon them eternal life. Unlock the gates of true understanding and let the light of faith shine resplendent. Gather all people beneath the shadow of Thy bounty and cause them to unite in harmony, so that they may become as the rays of one sun, as the waves of one ocean, and as the fruit of one tree. May they drink from the same fountain. May they be refreshed by the same breeze. May they receive illumination from the same source of light. Thou art the Giver, the Merciful, the Omnipotent.