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Prayers: “Prayer in Response to 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

A Haitian prayer book, entitled God Is No Stranger, includes the following words:

“Father, I have learned that one strong in calculation is called a ‘mathematician.’
You are the greatest mathematician
because You can count all the people yet still see each one of us.”

Those words find new poignancy
in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti on January 12,
in which tens of thousands of people lost their lives, and many others
lost their homes, their families and loved ones.
We who have watched from afar have felt helpless, powerless,
in the face of this tragedy,
forgetting that we do have the capacity to make a difference, one life at a time.

Let us enter that space of silence and honesty known by many names.
Let us pray.

Spirit of Life; Sacred Web of Life, Death, and Renewal:
Our hearts are open to all who suffer as a result of the earthquake.
We see—on our televisions and computer screens and in our newspapers—
the shattered buildings, the hastily erected shanty towns,
survivors struggling to find their kin, or just food or water or medicine; so many lives in ruins.
We know about the country’s staggering poverty that preceded this most recent disaster;
we are keenly aware of our own privilege.
In these times we stand confused before the global forces
that shape our lives, in awe before the mystery.

Spirit of Life and Love,
even as we have witnessed death sweep the landscape,
we know that life renews itself, and renews itself even now,
as human good springs up in the face of disaster,
and people reach out to one another across neighborhoods, across oceans,
serving one another across every difference.

We pray for the people of Haiti,
that they know the people of the world stand with them as they face the challenges ahead.
We pray for those who work with the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
and other relief organizations,
that they may act from ongoing wisdom, and courage, and compassion.
We pray for ourselves and other people living in comfort,
that our hearts might be touched yet again to generously support human beings
facing a terrible tragedy we cannot comprehend, but that they must live through.
May we open our hearts and our wallets to them,
as they work to rebuild what they can.

Spirit of Life; Web of Life, Death, and Renewal,
We pray, too, for our personal struggles,
which matter even though others always face greater challenges than ours.
There are those among us in this community who are sick, those of us who are grieving,
Those of us who have not yet discovered our substantial power to bless the world.
We pray for support amidst our struggles,
that we might find the courage and grace to move closer to healing and the sacred potential of our lives.
We pray for strength, and finally we pray for gratitude:
for all that is not lost, for all that can be rebuilt,
for our chance to play our part, for the ever-renewing powers of life.
And we join in this time of silence, in which we lift up the meditations of our hearts.

Shalom, Salaam, Namaste, Blessed Be, and Amen.

Copyright: The author has given Unitarian Universalist Association member congregations permission to reprint this piece for use in public worship. Any reprints must acknowledge the name of the author.

For more information contact worshipweb@uua.org.

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Last updated on Friday, February 22, 2013.

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