Prayer for 2024

Although prayer is often thought of as the making of a request, it’s much more than that. A deeper practice enters prayer as a conversation, a way of being in relationship.

Prayer deepens our relationship with our inner world. It allows us to assemble our vague, unstated gratitudes and longings into a coherent expression, revealing hidden meaning about what is important or troubling to us.

Prayer deepens our relationship with our outer world. It brings focus to the state of our relations with people and events, showing where and how we are connected or disconnected.

And prayer deepens our relationship with the field of consciousness that houses our individual awareness. It reminds us we are more than separate beings trying to live and thrive among other separate beings; we are the tips of the waves of an ocean, small eddies of individuality swimming in a giant sea.

Each of our prayers is vitally important because it is a unique expression of universal themes. No other voice has our singular nature, quirks, insights, life history, or personal slant on the cosmos. Stating our prayers out loud collects our separate identities and joins them into a greater body.

And so here is mine, a prayer for 2024, in hopes that my voice will join with yours and a sea of others in the grand fellowship to which we all belong.

Prayer for 2024

Spirit, I invite you to me.
Let me open to you and feel the power of your presence. 

Ground me in my body, here and now,
In this space and time, fully available in this moment.
Fill me with your energy and potential.

Expand my senses, uplift my heart, reveal my higher self to me.
Let me sense the community of souls who share my longings,
Who strengthen me, who connect me to the whole.

I am grateful for the blessings in my life, for the material comforts
I enjoy in a world where so many go without, for the kindnesses
I receive, for the ability to feel joy, and for the boundless capacity
To give and receive love.

I acknowledge that the world can feel chaotic and dangerous.
I am troubled by the current of the times, with war, destruction,
Discord, fragmentation, and the senseless suffering of innocents. 
I am often left confused, searching for clarity and relief.

Strengthen me. Help me know that I am capable of meeting
Life as it unfolds. Be with me when I am fearful, when my desire for
Certainty makes me forget that the future is unknowable.

Show me where I have a part to play. Let me be moved to act in
Ways that nudge the coming changes to the good. Not action
Formed in anger, for there is already too much anger and poison
In the world, but action that is antidote.

Guide me to the stillpoint, the calm amidst the motion, the quiet
Peace where I can find my breath and see more clearly the
Trajectory of my decisions. Center me in silence where a
Softer and more generous wisdom will inform my better actions.

And give me hope.
Open me to trust that the roadway of this human project,
Though strewn with the devastating litter of our mistakes,
Is advancing toward something worthy of our efforts. 

In service to our common good,
In surrender to what comes,
By the grace of all that is,


What gratitudes and longings do you have? What prayer would you voice for the coming year? The roadway continues, a patchwork of stones laid out before you, ready to be walked upon. 

I invite you to offer your voice in the comments below. Our thoughts are more potent when declared and shared.

Photo by Jacob Bentzinger on Unsplash

Why Spirituality?

Why do we pursue a spiritual path? What is the spiritual impulse that fuels our seeking? What are we trying to achieve?

Spirituality is personal. It touches everyone differently according to their understanding, nature and season, so we each engage these questions in our own way. Let me offer my response with the following possibilities.

I want guidance in walking this impossible human life, a paradox both extravagantly abundant, delicious and fulfilling, and supremely challenging, grievous and painful.

I want to grow. I know there is a vast potential beyond my current boundaries that wants to emerge. I want to discover and express the core of who I am.

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Wise Words – A World in Chaos, or the Birth of a New Consciousness?

Just before [an airplane] cracks the sonic barrier, there’s increased vibration and greater resistance . . . In our present state of evolutionary development, you might say we are flying just beneath the sound barrier of consciousness . . . On the other side of the sonic boom, we discover heightened connection, transparency, integration and resonance – more unity. 

People all over the world are experiencing decidedly tumultuous times.  Perhaps this is a sign that we’re moving closer to the “speed of sound” – closer to new consciousness. Of course, the faster we travel, the more volatility we meet – until we have breached the membrane and exceeded previous evolutionary limitations. What a beautiful boom that will make.

Thomas Hübl, from his book, Attuned

We live our lives in the day-to-day, so it’s easy to miss the longer view. In the day-to-day, we attend to the details of living life. The coffee pot, the kid’s breakfast, the list of appointments, errands, deadlines, and obligations, these all have their rightful place and deserve our attention.

We usually view the news while in the day-to-day mode of attention. Each item appears on the screen as a separate event and taken together, they sometimes paint a distressing picture. Extreme weather events, shootings, scenes of war, political gridlock, social unrest, hateful displays – we absorb the parade of disturbing headlines and react to each, feeling our emotions and grappling to make sense of it. 

And it seems to be getting worse, each day more extreme, the suffering amplified, our bodies more fatigued, and our emotions more numb. The speed of it is disorienting. We want it to slow down, for the madness to stop, for things to go back to normal.

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What Is the Spiritual Response to Gaza?

The war that ignited last week in the Middle East has left me deeply distressed and confused. Distressed that heinous acts and the rageful reactions they provoke are feeding a murderous cycle; confused as I struggle to find a meaningful spiritual response.

I see the wheel of violence and revenge rolling forward, ages old, and I desperately want something to change, to make this time different, to free us from the macabre theater that will play itself out over months or years until our capacity for carnage is exhausted.

I am confronted with the bloodshed and atrocities of war and the prospects for a widening conflict destabilizing the region.

I am staggered by the devastation of cities and homes, the sickening loss of life, the oceans of grief, and the trauma that will last for generations.

I am paralyzed by the cultural and geopolitical complexities that fog our collective vision as we seek a path out of the bramble bush.

I am consumed with a desire to distinguish right from wrong, to understand what drives people to commit slaughter and to fathom a reply that does not match its depravity. I long for a clean line that separates good from evil, that labels which acts of violence are justified, even as I realize that the maelstrom of war eventually blurs and breaks those lines.

And I yearn for guidance. I cry out for answers in a landscape where answers don’t make sense.

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Reasons for Hope

Without hope, life is pretty dark. 

Hope is the faith we hold for a better future and the confidence we have in our ability to help bring it about. Hope motivates us to meet the challenges we face, even in tough and uncertain times. It’s an attitude we carry that we can make it through and make it better.

Our capacity for hope is influenced by external factors we can’t control. Given what I see in the news, it’s easy to lose hope that the world can right itself. But the most significant factors maintaining hope are internal – our ability to direct our attention to what’s going right and our faith that we can take action to create positive change.

Let me give you two examples I recently learned about that make me hopeful. 

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Wise Words – The Argument Against Foxholes

“The phrase, ‘There are no atheists in foxholes,’ is not an argument against atheism, it’s an argument against foxholes.”

James Morrow

We sometimes get distracted by the wrong spiritual questions. The flashy ones can take us away from the real inquiry.

“Do you believe in God?” is not a useful question. It leads to an exercise in rhetoric around the words “believe” and “God.” Linguistic precision is rarely the best road to spiritual insight. Too often, atheism is a reaction to a cartoon version of God, an action-figure straw man who bears little resemblance to the deeper well most serious spiritual people want to drink from.

The interesting question posed by Morrow’s quote is not, “Is there a God?” but, “Why are there foxholes?” a question that implicates us all.  

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Wise Words – The Worth of Our Wounds

“God will not look you over for medals, degrees or diplomas, but for scars.”

Elbert Hubbard

Medals make sense to me.

School and work teach us to set goals and reach them. Success, and even survival, require us to become good at procuring the things we need. I’ve spent much of my time pursuing and displaying them. It’s easy to view achievement as the primary purpose of life.

But scars? That grabs my attention. 

When I think of scars, I first think of wounds, the places we have been cut or pierced. It’s more than a bruise. A scar results when the skin rips and we bleed. 

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Wise Words – Everything Will Be Okay in the End

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”

John Lennon

How does it feel to hear John Lennon’s reassuring words? To think that no matter what is happening around us, whatever chaos or calamity we are facing, things will be okay? I have to admit, when I see the news, I can become quite discouraged. Threats to our safety abound:  war, nuclear threat, authoritarianism, political divisiveness, breakdown in social norms, current and future pandemics, extreme climate events, and governments that seem incapable of intelligent action. The world feels unstable and perhaps even frightening.

And yet John’s words ring true. When I hear them, something in me relaxes and I find myself agreeing, yes, things will be okay in the end. I feel that I can be at peace regardless of what the world throws at me.

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Prayer for 2023

Audio of Prayer for 2023

When a new year opens, the future can feel ripe with possibility. In our current times, life seems especially challenging, even frightening. No doubt 2023 will bring difficulties, trials, opportunities, joys and surprises.

Whatever unfolds will be part of the next layer of our growth. Our approach to change and challenge will dictate how we respond to what shows up. Let’s meet the year with the intention that events will evoke the best in us – opportunities to show compassion, to pause before we judge, to see the bigger picture, to meet life as it is while never losing our desire to nudge it to good.

Prayer is a personal matter. We each have our own conceptions of the Divine Mystery. For me, prayer opens me to deeper ways of relating to that Mystery. Here is my prayer for 2023 – an offering, a request, a question, a commitment and a conversation with Spirit.

Prayer for 2023

Spirit, I am here. I invite you to me.
Let me open to you and feel the power of your presence.
Awaken me to be present as the witness of my life.

Strengthen me to listen when I hear the hurting of the world,
To not shrink back but to step forward,
To bring forth my talents to a world that needs me now and
To recognize my fears and triggers as illuminations on the path.

If I could have an answer, show me here –
How can I serve?
Where are my gifts needed most?
How can my small piece be used for good?

Let me also feel the joy, hear the laughter and see
The brilliance all around me and within me.
Open my heart to the trouble and the beauty of the world together,
Embedded in the pattern of creation, a template that is perfect and whole.

Help me to remember that waking up is hard and takes hardship,
That my waking and my healing are called for now,
That I am up for this and that I am not alone.

Be with me as I incarnate your two great powers: to be aware and to love.
I pray that I accept this world, this life and this challenge.

Grateful for the blessings of my life,
By the grace of all that is,


(Audio of Prayer for 2023)

Photo by Dingzeyu Li on Unsplash

Wise Words – Three Keys to a Rich Spiritual Journey from Ken Kesey

Uncertainty, belonging and hope on the spiritual journey.

“Since we don’t know where we’re going, we have to stick together in case someone gets there.”

Ken Kesey

This quote from the original merry prankster is more than a quip.  It calls out important signposts on the spiritual journey.  The quote is funny because of the illogical twist of ending up in a place we didn’t know about.  But underneath its whimsy, this short sentence points to three psychological structures we all struggle with.

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