Rituals for our Daily Lives

Thoughtful Moments

Thoughtful Moments

Rituals and prayer that might be useful to you:

Saying grace
These are words you can say just before starting your meal.

I.

Blessed are you, Holy One, Creator of the Universe,
who brings forth bread from the earth.
–based on an ancient Jewish prayer

II. Silly grace

Rub-a-dub-dub,
Thanks for the grub,
Yay, God!
— from Liberal Religious Youth

III.

Cherished family, friends, and guests,
Let this food to us be blessed.
Bless those people who made this food.
May it feed our work for good.
Amen.
— adapted from German Lutheran grace by Craig Schwalenberg

IV.

God is great, God is good,
Let us thank (her) (him) for our food.
–from Emma Mitchell’s family (children get to choose whether to say “her” or “him”)

V. Sharing grace

Hold hands around the table.
Ask everyone at the table to say one thing he or she is thankful for that day.

VI. Silent grace

Hold hands around the table.
Say: “Let us have a moment of silence to give thanks for the food we eat.”
15 – 20 seconds of silence is about right.

Affirmations of faith

The principles of the Unitarian Universalist Association are included here for the reference of adults and teenagers (in my experience, younger children have not found these to be particularly meaningful or comprehensible). I’ve also included some other affirmations of faith used by Unitarian Universalists.

We Are… (an affirmation for younger people)

We are Unitarian Universalists:
(make two U’s with hands)
With minds that think,
(touch head with both hands)Hearts that love,
(put both hands on heart)
And hands that are ready to serve!
(hold out hands, palms up)

Affirmation of First Unitarian in New Bedford

May faith in the spirit of life
And hope in the community of earth
And love of the sacred in ourselves and others
Be ours this day and in all the days to come.

Sung affirmation (First Unitarian doxology)

From all that dwell below the skies
Let songs of hope and faith arise;
Let peace, good will, on earth be sung
Through every land by every tongue.
— adapted from words by Isaac Watts
sung to the tune “Old Hundredth”

Affirmation based on First Unitarian’s “Application for Membership”

I will strive toward high ethical and moral standards in my personal life and in the community.
I will work for the understanding and promotion of a religion of love, assuming a spirit of cooperation and tolerance towards other religious groups.
I will commit myself to keep formulating my own religious beliefs according to my individual needs, my conscience, and my degree of maturity.

Principles from the Bylaws of the Unitarian Universalist Association

We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote:
The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

· Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;

Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion and the transforming power of love;

· Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbors as ourselves;

Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;

· Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Prayers for individuals and families, for all ages.
General prayers

I.

I am only one.
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything.
But still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something
that I can do.
— Rev. Edward E. Hale

II.

If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
— Emily Dickinson

III.

Cloak yourself in a thousand ways, and still I shall know you, my Beloved.
Veil yourself with every enchantment, and yet I shall feel your Presence, most dear, close and intimate.
I shall salute you in the springing of cypresses, and in the sheen of lakes the laughter of fountains.I shall surely see you in tumbling clouds, in brightly embroidered meadows.
O beloved Presence, more beautiful than all the stars together,
I find your face in ivy that climbs, in clusters of grapes, in morning sun on the mountains, in the clear arch of the sky.
You gladden the whole earth and make every heart great.
You are the breathing of the world.
— adapted from Mohammad Hafiz, “Shams Ud-Dun”

IV. A Hindu prayer

Lead us from death to life, from lies to truth.
Lead us from despair to hope, from fear to trust.
Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace.
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.
Peace. Peace. Peace.
— adapted from the Upanishads

V.

God of love,
your name is goodness and holiness.
May your love be present in all the nations of earth,
just as I feel your love in my heart.
Grant us the food we need today,
grant all people the food they need today.
Forgive me when I fail, and
help me forgive those who fail me.
May I not be tempted by evil or wrong-doing —
may your love watch over me, and over us all.
— a traditional Jewish prayer, adapted by early Christian communities, and further adapted by Rev. Dan Harper

VI.

I will be truthful.
I will suffer no injustice.
I will be free from fear.
I will not use force.
I will be of good-will to all people.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Prayers for morning

I. Salutation of the Dawn
Look to this day!
For it is life, the very life of life.
In its brief course lie all the truth
And reality of your existence:
The bliss of growth,
The glory of action,
The splendor of beauty;
For yesterday is already a dream,
And tomorrow is only a vision;
But today well-lived,
Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness
And every tomorrow a vision of hope.
— ancient Sanskrit source, in The Beacon Song and Service Book

II.

Renew yourself completely each day.
Do it again, and again,
and forever again.
— Confucius, The Great Learning

Prayers for evening

I. A bedtime prayer

(for parents/guardians and children together)
— Tonight I am thankful for…
(say some of the good things that happened to
you today)
— And I am sorry for…
(talk about the things you feel sorry for doing
or saying)
— Tomorrow I hope for…
(things you hope for and how you think you can
make them happen)
– idea from Rev. Christopher Raible

II.

May the truth that sets us free,
And the hope that never dies,
And the love that casts out fear
Be with us now
Until the dayspring breaks,
And the shadows flee away.
— adapted from the Christian and Hebrew scriptures

Ten Good Things Rituals Do for Children
• Impart a sense of identity
• Provide comfort and security
• Help to navigate change
• Teach values
• Teach practical skills
• Solve problems
• Keep alive a sense of departed family members
• Pass on ethnic or religious heritage
• Help heal from loss or trauma
• Generate wonderful memories

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Parents: Small Group Ministry | Topic: Prayer and Rituals

Parents SGM
Topic: Prayer and Rituals

Chalice Lighting:
The light of the ages has brought wisdom and truth to all peoples, in all times of human history. We light this flame to remind us to seek wisdom in our own time.– Dan Harper

Opening Reading:

When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang up my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight, and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared, and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I LOOKED….and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw when you thought I wasn’t looking.

Check-in:

Topic:
Ritual is not just for special occasions but also for every day, every meal, every bath, and every bedtime story. In ritual, little is big: Although dress-up holidays with lavish feasts are fun, it’s the everyday traditions that determine how we experience our families and demonstrate hands-on love to our children. Intuitively, we know this is good, and consciously pass down beloved traditions from our own childhoods. But the power of ritual and the need for it are far stronger than we realize.

What rituals do you incorporate into your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly lives with your children that impart values? Why do rituals and prayers? What values are important to you, which you would like to impart to your children? What rituals would you like to include in your families lives, but haven’t yet and why?

Prayer can be for taking time to be present for that gracious spirit and aware of the gifts that come to and through us simply because we are alive. One word for this time of presence is gratitude. Another word is meditation, in which, by observing our breathing, we become ever more aware of creation in process. In addition, prayer is theological reflection and social strategy, alone and in groups. This leads to a return of gifts bestowed, as in the wonderful Universalist affirmation, which we cherish in our communal worship, “Love is our doctrine, the quest for truth is our sacrament and service is our prayer…”.

How do you pray? Why do you pray? What role does prayer play in your life? Do you pray? What do you feel it teaches your children?
How did you acquire the rituals and prayers that you use with your family?

Closing Reading:
Sometimes we’re so concerned about giving our children what we never had growing up, we neglect to give them what we did have growing up. ~ Dr. James Dobson

Closing Ritual:
Stand in a circle holding hands around chalice.
Recite chalice extinguishing.
“We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, the warmth of community or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts until we meet again” Give a gentle squeeze of the hands and release.

 

Education – CHECK!

I finished!

 

Done!

 

….FOR NOW.

 

I have just completed my Associates Degree in Graphic Communications.  I walk on May 18th 2013.  I am very excited!

It has been a very trying time. Between my youngest son, T, being hospitalized, committed, then finally placed in a residential treatment facility(still there, its been over a year). B, my eldest son, entering into his first long term relationship, college exams and applications from hell, traveling to Mexico, graduating from highschool and about to start college this Fall and participating in TaeKwonDo National Championships for a spot on the Olympic Team this summer. My Father-In-Law passing away. My Brother-In-Law moving in with us. My house flooding. It’s been a weeee bit crazy around here.

I don’t feel completely confident in my abilities, but at the same time, I know that if properly trained I could grow very quickly in any design position.

SQUEEEE!!!