A Prayer about Heaven

Frederic Brussat April 15, 2014

God of Heaven and Earth, we give thanks for all the ways in which you reveal yourself to us in both ordinary and extraordinary ways.

Polls: A Harris Poll finds that while a strong majority (74 %) of U.S. adults do believe in God, this belief is in decline when compared to previous years when over four in five (82%) expressed a belief in God. A belief in Heaven also declined from 75% to 68%. A Pew Research Center Poll reveals that 65%
who claim a religious affiliation think many religions, not just their own religion, can lead to eternal life. Or to put it another way, heaven is not a gated community. (Harris Interactive)

Miracle Worker, open our hearts, minds, and souls to people of all religions. Teach us tolerance of all beliefs about God and Heaven. If heaven is not a gated, neither should our hearts be closed.


A Prayer about Climate Change

Frederic Brussat April 7, 2014

Great God, a new U.N. Report on the reality of climate change sounds an alarm about the devastating impact of global warming on all dimensions of our lives and lifestyle.

Report & Polls: This week a United Nations panel released a three-volume report on climate change based on 12,000 peer-reviewed scientific studies. Global warming is already having dire effects on food supplies, plants, and animals. Mass extinctions are already underway. Wars over resources are on the horizon. In 2013, only 34% of Americans felt climate change should be a priority of the U.S. Congress. Even more shocking from the same study found that 26% of Americans think there is no solid evidence that the Earth has gotten warmer over the past two decades. (Pew Research Center)

Dear Ageless One, please touch our minds and hearts with the facts about climate change. Encourage us to act before we destroy the Earth you created. Help us to change our ways so that poor people, animals, and plants may not become collateral damage of climatic changes.


A Prayer of Gratitude for Internet Creators and Curators

Frederic Brussat April 1, 2014

Lover of Creativity, we are so thankful for all the creative and curating skills of so many bloggers and social network users. They enrich our lives immensely.

Survey: A Pew Research Center survey discovered some interesting things about Internet users.
· 54% of adult Internet users post photos or videos online that they themselves have created. We call them creators.
· 47% of adult Internet users take photos or videos that they have found online and repost them on sites designed for sharing images. We call them curators.
· Overall, 62% of Internet users do at least one of the creating or curating activities, and 40% of internet users are both creators and curators. (Pew Research Center)

Wellspring of Innovation and Sharing, encourage us in our creating and curating projects. Inspire us to make them not only ways we share our personal interests but also contributions to making our world a better and more just place.


A Prayer for Strength, Patience, Courage and Hope for the Catholic Protestors Who Broke into the Nuclear Sanctum

Frederic Brussat March 26, 2014

Companion of the Sorrowing, we give thanks for the three Catholic activists whose witness calls us to join in the protest against the continuing military madness of keeping so many deadly nuclear weapons in our country.

Fact: Three antiwar activists were recently sentenced to long prison terms and heavy fines for their nonviolent action at the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Greg Boerje-Obed, 58, of Duluth, and Michael Walli, 65, of Washington, D.C. were sentenced to 62 months in prison. Sister Megan Rice, 84, of New York City, received a 35-month sentence in prison. (The Peaceworker.org)

Keeper of Souls, we send you our prayers for these crusaders and ask that you give them courage, patience, strength, and hope as they bear the indignity and unjust confinement of prison for their acts of conscience.


A Prayer for Discernment by Wealthy Baby Boomers

Frederic Brussat March 17, 2014

Wise and Faithful Guide, wealthy Baby Boomers are beginning to make choices about what to do with their money: pass it on to their children, spend it now, or give it away to charity, as some of the superrich like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and Mark Zuckerberg have said they will do through the "giving pledge."

Fact: In the United States, the top 1% of households owns about 35% of the wealth, more than the entire bottom 90% does. Now the Baby Boomers are retiring and an inheritance boom is underway, entrusting the immense earnings of an already stratified economy to a new generation. As income and wealth have become distributed less evenly, the inherited spoils will be distributed unevenly, too. No wonder American mobility seems so stuck: odds of escaping poverty are half of what they are in countries such as Denmark. (The New York Times)

O Restorer of Balance, we are troubled by the upward trend of income inequality, and we are aware that conscious giving can reduce it. Guide rich Baby Boomers in their discernment about what to do with their money. Help them see the broad good they can do through charitable gifts and private foundations. And help us all appreciate the impact of generosity.


A Prayer of Gratitude for All People Who Have Good Values

Frederic Brussat March 14, 2014

Perpetual Becoming, help us not to look down our noses at those who do not believe as we do and keep us both mindful and grateful for all who seek to do good in the world.

Poll: Many people think it is necessary to believe in God to be moral and have good values. This position is highly prevalent, if not universal, in Africa and the Middle East. In North America and Europe, more people agree that it is possible to be non-religious and still be an upright person. A Pew Research Center survey concludes that publics in richer nations tend to place less emphasis on the need to believe in God to have good values than people in poorer countries do. (Pew Research Center)

O Holy Unifier, help adherents of all the world's religions and those who are non-religious to unite in our efforts to express our good values by repairing the broken places in our world.


A Prayer for Those Whose Jobs Are Disappearing

Frederic Brussat March 7, 2014

Fountain of Mercy, the human touch is increasingly being replaced by machines. Deliver us from the worship of speed and efficiency and help us to see that the self-checkout trend is ending jobs and putting people out of work.

Fact: What do librarians, travel agents, video store clerks, supermarket cashiers, and newspaper deliverers have in common? They are among 12 Jobs that are vanishing. The self-checkout phenomenon is also common in grocery stores and pharmacies. (Salary.com)

Vigilant One, encourage those who are losing their jobs to machines so that they can find another kind of work. And be with those who are trying to save jobs by refusing to use self-checkout machines and by adding their voices to the chorus of those who prefer human beings to machines, especially in businesses they use frequently.


A Prayer for the Fish of the World in Peril

Frederic Brussat March 3, 2014

Giver of All, we are saddened by the news that the world's fish are in danger from overfishing by large commercial fleets. We know that when fish die off, all of marine life is threatened.

Fact: A 2003 scientific report estimated that industrial fishing had reduced the number of large ocean fish to just 10 percent of their pre-industrial population. A study of catch data published in 2006 in the journal Science predicts that if fishing rates continue apace, all the world's fisheries will have collapsed by the year 2048. (The Ocean - NationalGeographic.com)

Dweller in the Rainbow, millions of people depend upon fishing for their livelihoods and for nutrition. Inspire the nations of the world to work together to set rules for catching fish to ensure a future for marine life and all those beings, human and animal, who rely on this food source.


A Prayer of Thanks for Landmine Removers

Frederic Brussat February 26, 2014

Force of Life, we give you thanks for those working to remove dangerous landmines in Cambodia and other countries, including APOPO's HeroRATS, African Giant Pouched rats who are trained to detect mines buried in the ground.

Fact: Reports shows that landmine deaths and injuries over the past decades now total in the hundreds of thousands. In Cambodia, a country of almost 15 million people, there are estimates of 10 million landmines. The toll on citizens has been catastrophic: 40,000 live as amputees, one of the highest rates in the world. The good news is that mines are now a problem only in certain parts of Cambodia. (The Huffington Post)

Lord of All Calm, open the eyes of more people to the dangers and the destructiveness of landmines which injure innocent civilians, restrict movement, displace families, and ruin farming and all other productive activities. May those trying to eliminate this scourge get the support they need.




A Prayer for Those Facing a Retirement Crisis

Frederic Brussat February 19, 2014

Wise and Faithful Guide, we are worried about the future. Many of us will face money problems when we retire from work, if we are even able to retire from work.

Facts: A stunning 45 percent of all American households with people still in their working years have nothing at all saved for retirement. Among those aged 50 to 64, 75 percent have less than $28,000 put away. Even among the most prepared Baby Boomer households, savings average just $140,000, far too little to fund a 20-plus-year retirement. (National Institute on Retirement Security)

Fountain of Wisdom, send your comforting spirit to those facing a retirement crisis, so that they are not immobilized by fear. Give them hope and strength to find ways to spend less and save more.


A Prayer of Thanks for the Music of the Legendary Beatles

Frederic Brussat February 13, 2014

Lord of the Dance, we are so grateful for the enduring melodic rock and pop music by the legendary Beatles.

Poll: In a recent poll, 69% say the Beatles' music has held up well and still sounds current and fresh today; just 25% disagree and think it's out of date. Two-thirds of Americans say the Beatles have had a great deal of influence on music and popular culture. Those surveyed named "Hey Jude" as their favorite song, followed by "Yellow Submarine." (CBS News Poll on Twitter)

Joy of Our Desiring, let us continue to savor, enjoy, and find great pleasure in the delightful music of the Beatles.


A Prayer for Those Returning Home from Prison

Frederic Brussat February 11, 2014

Morning Star, we ask you to relieve the plight of men and women just released from prison who are having trouble finding places to live, work, and receive health care.

Facts: In an article on www.newclearvision.com Victoria Law writes about the difficulties of men and women coming home after serving time in prison. In this piece reprinted from The New York Times, we learn that 670,000 people are released from prison each year. Many of them have very little money and no family or friends to help them out; if they do land a job, it is a menial one with low pay. To top it all off, when they leave prison, they lack access to affordable health care.

Refuge from the Storm, gird us with patience and persistence as we fight against the discrimination that people endure each day because of an arrest or conviction history. Help those organizations who are building a movement to restore the human and civil rights of ex-prisoners.


A Prayer to Quit Protecting Handguns Before Protecting Children

Frederic Brussat February 5, 2014

Great Heart of Love, help us to do everything possible to stop the senseless deaths of children who often have easy access to guns in the home.

Fact: Every day, an average of 20 American children are hospitalized from injuries caused by firearms. Another 3,000 die every year before they get to the emergency room. For people 15 to 19, firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death, behind motor vehicle crashes. (USA Today)

Friend of Children, help us find the ways, through public awareness and legislation, to give priority to protecting the lives of children over protecting the rights of gun owners. Let us heed the call of pediatricians urging parents to remove guns from the home or store them securely, locked and unloaded.


A Prayer for Those Who Are Sleep Deprived

Frederic Brussat February 3, 2014

O Beautiful Presence, we are saddened by reports that many of our brothers and sisters are not getting enough sleep every night. Many people are working too hard or entertaining themselves too long and not getting the essential rest they need to truly take care of themselves.

Surveys: One recent survey found that the number of "short sleepers" (those who got fewer than six hours of sleep at night) rose 22% from 1975 to 2006, a trend that was most pronounced and significant among full-time workers. A survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 25 people admitted to having fallen asleep while driving during the previous month. Another survey showed that 29% of workers had fallen asleep or had been very sleepy at work. (nytimes.com)

Miracle Worker, help us all to get more sleep at night so that we can do our work well, not be a danger to others, and may know the peace of mind that comes from nurturing our bodies, minds, and spirits.


A Prayer for Those Deported in 2012

Frederic Brussat January 29, 2014

O Dweller in the Heart, we pray for the 11.7 million undocumented immigrants in the United States who live in constant fear of being deported.

Fact: A record number of 419,384 deportations took place in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Between 2009 - 2012, the Obama administration deported 1.6 million immigrants. (The Pew Research Center) Most Hispanics think that being able to live and work in the United States legally without the threat of deportation is more important than having a pathway to citizenship. (The Pew Research Center)

Soul Liberator, comfort those who worry that they themselves, a family member, or a close friend could be deported from the United States.


A Prayer of Gratitude for Those Looking After Rivers

Frederic Brussat January 27, 2014

Creator God, we give you hearty thanks for the work of Living Lands & Waters (livinglandsandwaters.org), the only industrial-scale river cleanup organization in the world.

Fact: The crew of LL&W spent nine months a year conducting dozens of river cleanup projects with the help of volunteers. In 2012, they relieved American riverbeds of some 84,000 bags of garbage, 68,000 tires, 1,300 propane tanks, 950 refrigerators, along with portable toilets, lawn mowers, couches, TVs, and cars. (The Week)

Earth Designer, help us to find ways to support this organization or others that are involved in looking after the precious and life-sustaining Earth who is both our Mother and our Sister.


A Prayer for All Readers

Frederic Brussat January 20, 2014

Master of the Universe, we are so grateful for the chance to read books that fire our imaginations, stir our soul, and expand our circle of compassion.

Poll: For all the talk of print books being replaced by digital ones, the vast majority of readers in the U.S. still like print books. Some 28% of Americans read at least one e-book in 2013, up from 23% the year earlier. But the percentage of people who read print books increased as well: 69% said they read at least one print book, up from 65% the year before.

Creator God, keep us reading and sharing what we have read with others. Both print and e-books are good for our souls and we thank you for all the choices we have. (The Pew Research Center)


A Prayer for Children Being Used as Suicide Bombers

Frederic Brussat January 17, 2014

O Keeper of Justice in the Universe, we are troubled by the use of children as
suicide bombers by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Fact: Recently a 10-year-old sister of a Taliban commander was given a suicide vest and sent to destroy a police check point. She was pulled from a river and rescued. Afghan police report that last year they intercepted 41 children between the ages of 6 and 11 years old being trained and outfitted as suicide bombers. (The Week)

O God of Mercy, let us try harder to save children from participation and exposure to the murder and mayhem of war.


A Prayer for Those Who Are Unconcerned About Economic Inequality

Frederic Brussat January 15, 2014

Compassionate One, we pray that you will guide, sustain, and take care of those who are suffering as a result of economic inequality around the world. In the United States, there is the greatest gap between the rich and the poor since 1928.

Poll: Americans in the upper fifth of the income distribution earn 16.7 times as much as those in the lower fifth – by far the widest gap among the 10 advanced countries in a global attitudes survey. Yet barely half (47 %) of Americans think the rich-poor gap is a very big problem. (PewResearch.org)

Liberator God, open our hearts and minds to see and support all measures (such as raising the minimum wage law) which will end this ethically abhorrent nightmare of economic inequality.


A Prayer for All Those Affected by the Suicides of War Veterans

Frederic Brussat January 13, 2014

Companion of the Sorrowful, our hearts ache for all the young war veterans who have committed suicide; may they rest in peace. Be with their loved ones; may they experience the healing balm you offer in response to all our troubles.

Fact: The Number of young veterans committing suicide jumped dramatically from 2009 to 2011. According to Veterans Affairs officials, 22 male veterans a day under 30 years of age take their own lives. There was an increase of 11% in the suicide rate of female veterans over the same time span. Overall, suicide rates for all veterans remain significantly above their civilian counterparts. (Stars and Stripes)

Fountain of Mercy, guide and direct those working with soldiers who having trouble readjusting to civilian life or who are dealing with combat injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. May they be conduits of your healing balm.


A Prayer for Mindful and Kind Uses of New Tech Devices

Frederic Brussat January 7, 2014

O Wise and Faithful Guide, we see that Internet connected devices are growing in popularity. They are supposed to make our connections with others more timely and meaningful. Unfortunately, in many situations, they have become excuses for rudeness and make us prone to be easily distracted in our relationships.

Poll: The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week puts on display the latest gadgets that may become must-haves for many Americans. A recent poll showed that the devices Americans own have changed over the past decade, with ownership of laptops (64%) and iPods/MP3 players (45%) up most dramatically from 2005. Meanwhile, far smaller numbers of Americans now own VCRs and basic cellphones, which were a staple to many in the past. (Gallup)

O God of Our Ancestors, help us to be more mindful in our use of new tech devices, so that we bring no harm to others through them and put them to the best uses.


A Prayer of Thanks for Online Information for Those with Chronic Diseases

Frederic Brussat January 2, 2014

Miracle Worker, we pray that you will continue to help those with chronic diseases to find the supplemental resources they need for coping with their illnesses.

Fact: 45% of U.S. adults report that they live with one or more chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, but also less common conditions like lupus and cancer. They are more likely than other online adults to : 1) Gather information about medical problems, treatments, and drugs; 2) Consult online reviews about drugs and other treatments, and 3) Read or watch something online about someone else's personal health experience. (Pew Research Center)

Breath of Life, we are grateful that those with chronic conditions are able to find useful information online and a community with whom to share their own experiences. Strengthen them with patience and resilience to carry on with hope and courage.


A Prayer of Gratitude for the Pleasure of Sharing Photos Online

Frederic Brussat December 31, 2013

Singer in My Soul, we are so thankful for the millions of people who derive so much delight and satisfaction from sharing photos online.

Fact: About 4,000 photos are taken every second in the U.S., four times as many as a decade ago. (The Wall Street Journal on Twitter)

Giver of All, help us put a positive spin on this trend and see it as a passport into a deeper appreciation of the ordinary, a chance to have fun and be playful, and another way of being generous.


A Prayer for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones on Account of Hospital Mistakes

Frederic Brussat December 27, 2013

Great Heart of Love, we pray that all those who work in hospitals may be attentive to their work and aware of how little mistakes can lead to catastrophic consequences.

Fact: About 440,000 people die as a result of preventable error in U.S. hospitals every year, a new study in the Journal of Patient Safety found. That means one in six deaths can be attributed to mistakes in hospitals, making them the third leading cause of death. (NYTimes.com)

Compassionate One, lavish your love and care upon those grieving the sudden loss of loved ones and be with those who are tormented by guilt over their costly mistakes.


A Prayer of Thanks for Libraries and Librarians

Frederic Brussat December 23, 2013

Fountain of Wisdom, we, along those who responded to this poll, give thanks for and strongly value the public libraries in our communities for promoting literacy and improving the overall quality of life.

Poll: Some 90% of Americans ages 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an impact on their community, with 63% saying it would have a major impact. Asked about the personal impact of a public library closing, two-thirds (67%) of Americans said it would affect them and their families. (Pew Research Center)

Most High, help us to make the most of the plentiful resources of our public libraries and to support them in as many ways as we can.


A Prayer for the Victims of Domestic Violence

Frederic Brussat December 18, 2013

Shekinah, we ask for your guidance and direction to protect wives assaulted in their own homes by husbands and partners.

Fact: Serbia is in the grips of a domestic violence crisis: official figures compiled by a network of social care centers showed 9,325 reported cases in 2012 compared to 3,441 in 2006. Women are increasingly dying at the hands of their husbands and partners in a culture where the justice system treats wife beaters with kid gloves. (abcnews.go.com)

Dear Miracle Worker, give victims of domestic violence everywhere the courage to leave home and come forward and report crimes committed there.


A Prayer for Being More Careful with E-Waste

Frederic Brussat December 16, 2013

Dear Source of Life, the amount of e-waste is growing every day, and the nations of the world are not dealing safely or efficiently with it.

Fact: By 2017, the global volume of discarded refrigerators, TVs, cellphones, computers, monitors and other electronic waste will weigh almost as much as 200 Empire State Buildings. It will swell by a third in the next five years, led by the United States and China (UN Report: Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative).

Wise and Faithful Guide, we pray that you will guide and direct policymakers in this arena to create solutions for this dealing with e-waste, including establishing more recycling programs, and, at the very least, to quit dumping toxic materials in poor neighborhoods and countries.


A Prayer on Thinking Wisely about Radical Life Extension

Frederic Brussat December 13, 2013

Dear Ancient of Days, guide, direct and sustain us as we spend more money on medical and scientific research. Help us raise the right moral questions regarding "radical life extension."

Poll: 56% of Americans say they would personally not want treatments that would allow them to live dramatically long lives and 51% believe such long lifespans would be bad for society. (Pew Research Center)

Wise and Faithful God, give us the wisdom and the courage to accept our human limitations and to not make living longer the main mission of our lives.


A Prayer about the Death Penalty

Frederic Brussat December 11, 2013

God of Justice, in the United States, the death penalty is used as the ultimate form of punishment for heinous crimes. This barbaric practice is rejected in most other countries of the world.

Survey: Support for the death penalty [in the U.S.] is at its lowest point in 40 years — at 60 percent, down from a high of 80 percent in 1994. (Gallup Poll)

Fountain of Mercy, help us to find ways to bring compassion, forgiveness, and restorative justice into the criminal justice system so that changed lives, not death, are offered to offenders.


A Prayer for Fulfillment at Work

Frederic Brussat December 9, 2013

God of All Situations, we grow up believing that having a job is not only what we are supposed to do, but that it will be good for us.

Survey: Only 38.5 percent of Americans feel fulfilled by their jobs. Low pay, curtailed benefits, and disengagement from their labor are some of the reasons given for this workplace malaise. (Salary.com)

Fountain of Wisdom, guide, direct and sustain these unhappy workers so they may see their labor as part of the Great Work of our times. Inspire us all to put Spirit, service, and enthusiasm into our work that our lives may have more meaning.


A Prayer in Support of Immigration Reform

Frederic Brussat December 6, 2013

Voice of Freedom, many immigrants living in the United States have expressed the desire to become citizens. We understand and applaud their aspirations.

Survey: 63% of Americans say they support legislation to create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally.
18% want these immigrants to be identified and deported. (Public Religion Research Institute)

Voice of Freedom, give us the strength and courage to do what we can to bring about swift immigration reform for the sake of these brothers and sisters.


A Prayer for Mentally Ill People

Frederic Brussat December 4, 2013

Compassionate One, in the United States and elsewhere around the world, mentally ill people and their families are not getting the help they need.

Fact: American states cut $4.3 billion in mental  health services between 2009 and 2012, even though 10 percent more people sought care during that period. The U.S. per capita psychiatric bed population is now the same as it was in 1850 when the need to take care of mentally ill people was first recognized in the country. (The Daily Beast)

Forgiving One, pardon our callous and inhumane treatment of these vulnerable people. Help us find ways to provide them with both care and compassion.


A Prayer for Syrian Refugees

Frederic Brussat December 2, 2013

Protector of Refugees, after three years of civil war in Syria, this refugee crisis is bigger than the one caused by the Rwandan genocide. Look after these people who have lost their homes and livelihoods.

Fact: Numbering 300,000 last year, Syrian refugees now total 2.1 million and the United Nations predicts their numbers could swell to 3.5 million by the end of the year. (New York Times)

Balm to the Weary, may the world send help to these who are suffering in this unrelenting crisis.


A Prayer for Those Who Live Alone

Frederic Brussat November 27, 2013

Companion of the Lonely, tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, a time when many will gather with family and friends for a feast. Others will be alone and feeling lonely on this day.

Study: 27% of Americans lived alone last year, In contrast, in 1970, only 17% lived in single person households. (Wall Street Journal)

Companion of Those Who Live Alone, help us to learn how to enjoy doing things alone, no matter what our living situation. Guide us to tell ourselves a new and positive story about living alone.


A Prayer to Not Water the Seeds of Violence

Frederic Brussat November 25, 2013

O Peaceful God, help us keep our children away from the attractions of violence and revenge.

Study: The amount of gun violence in movies rated PG-13 has more than tripled since 1985, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. The average American sees seven movies in theatres every year and those with this rating are often the highest grossing. (CNN.com)

O Lover of Nonviolence. We acknowledge that we all have seeds of violence within us. Help us not to water them. Let peace and nonviolence grow in us instead.


Gratitude for Nuts

Frederic Brussat November 22, 2013

O Great Nourisher, we give thanks for nuts from trees.

Study: Eating nuts can reduce your risk of dying from cancer, heart disease, and several other ailments, according to Harvard research published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. Over the three-decade study, people who regularly ate nuts were 20 percent less likely than non-nut-eaters to die of any cause — even if they didn't exercise. (Boston Globe)

May we make the most of these life preservers.


A Prayer for Those Sentenced to Die Behind Bars

Frederic Brussat November 20, 2013

O Merciful One, we ask that you send your tender mercies to men and women suffering unjustly in prisons for minor offenses.

Report: As of 2012, there were 3,278 prisoners serving sentences of life without parole for nonviolent crimes such as stealing a $159 jacket, trying to cash a stolen check or shoplifting. Many of them were struggling with mental illness, drug dependency, or financial desperation when they committed these crimes. (ACLU)

O God of Justice, animate us to action and help us to end cruel mandatory sentencing laws.



A Prayer for Those Suffering as a Result of the Cuts in the Food Stamp Program

Frederic Brussat November 18, 2013

Food StampsCompassionate One, our hearts go out this day to the one in seven Americans – 47 million people – who are buying and eating less because of cuts in the food stamp program.

Fact: The largest cuts in the history of America's food stamp program have gone into effect when the increase ordained by the 2009 economic stimulus package expired. The reductions total $5 billion. (Slate.com)*

Generous One, help us all to give more to Food Banks and programs delivering food to those in need to make up for this cruel and inhuman treatment of the nation's poorest people.

*See also an interview with a food stamps recipient and how she is faring in an article by Katy Waldman titled "Meat Is the First Thing to Go."


A Prayer for Cargo Ship Crews

Frederic Brussat November 15, 2013

All Seeing One, we are so grateful for the largely ignored and unheralded services of millions of people who work aboard the cargo ships that bring us our food, clothes, and other goods we use every day.

Review: In his review of Rose George's book Ninety Percent of Everything: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry That Puts Clothes on Your Back, Gas in Your Car, and Food on Your Plate, Dwight Garner writes about the large container ships that are staffed mainly by Filipinos who speak good English and are paid low wages. Global shipping doesn't often make the news but we are given a glimpse of this world in three recent movies: Captain Phillips, A Hijacking, and All is Lost. Two thousand seafarers die each year, and they also face the dangers of hijacking by sea pirates. (The New York Times)

O Gracious Captain, may cargo ship crews find fulfillment in their work and be safe on their voyages.


A Prayer for Victims of Air Pollution in China

Frederic Brussat November 13, 2013

Creator God, we have learned that 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China.

Observation: Beijing is filled with people wearing masks over their nose and mouth to protect against the dirty air. Commentators have referred to this pollution as an "airpocalypse" and many long-term health problems have been traced to it. (onearth.org)

Protector of Gaia, let all countries live with love and respect for the environment, including the air that surrounds us and fills our lungs with the breath of life. Help us find ways to prevent air pollution.


A Prayer for Canners

Frederic Brussat November 11, 2013

Mother of Mercy, we have learned about people known as canners and their struggle for survival.

Documentary Film: Canners are people who survive by redeeming bottles and cans they collect from curbs, garbage cans, and apartment complexes. Many of these women and men are the working poor who earn five cents per can. (HBO Oscar-nominated documentary Redemption about canners in New York City)

O Protector of the Poor, watch over and sustain this army of people who remain invisible to far too many of us.


Prayer for the People of the Philippines

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat November 10, 2013

Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, November 8, 2013, is the strongest typhoon of the year and one of the strongest storms on record. It also appears to be the deadliest storm — and natural disaster — on record to hit the Philippines, with officials saying that as many as 10,000 people are believed dead. On Sunday, the storm appeared to be moving on to Vietnam threatening lives and property there as well.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Orcas

Frederic Brussat November 8, 2013

Lord of Life and Protector of Animals, watch over and take care of all whales in captivity whose ancestors roamed freely in thousands of miles of ocean.

Fact: 52 Orcas are now living in captivity and many of them are exploited in marine park shows for the public and then confined at night to dark concrete pens. (Orcas in Captivity Web Site)

Open our eyes to see the harm we are doing to these intelligent, highly social, and caring creatures in marine parks around the world. May we find ways to ease their plight.


A Prayer for Elders Postponing Retirement

Frederic Brussat November 6, 2013

O Hope through the Ages, look after those who are going to have to work longer than they had planned.

Survey: 37 percent of middle-income Americans earning between $25,000 and $100,000 say they expect to stay on the job until they die. 34 percent say they expect to work until they are at least 80, up from 25 % two years ago. (Wells Fargo)

O Our Sustainer, guide, direct, and comfort these people – and others like them in other countries around the world – as they struggle to change their expectations for their elder years due to economic pressures beyond their control.


A Prayer for Political Parties

Frederic Brussat November 4, 2013

O God of Diversity, we turn to you with the question: Is it time, as Ralph Nader and others have said many times, for a third political party in the United States to keep the two major parties honest and responsive to the people?

Survey: 60% of Americans say the Democrats and Republicans do such a poor job of representing the people's interests that the country needs a third political party. That's the highest percentage in the 10 years Gallup has asked that question. (Gallup)

O God of the People, guide us to find ways to fix the U.S. government in Washington so that it serves the people rather than special interests.



A Prayer for the Oceans

Frederic Brussat October 30, 2013

O Guardian of the Earth, we recognize that we must deal seriously with the ramifications of climate change before it is too late for the oceans.

Report: In a report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the deadly trio of global warming, declining oxygen levels, and acidification is seriously affecting how productive and effective the ocean is. This, in turn, is raising the risk of extinction for some marine species. (Reuters)

Help us to find ways to preserve and protect our sacred and life-affirming oceans and all the beings that live in these waters.

* Read an excerpt from 50 Ways to Save the Ocean by David Helvarg


Gratitude for a Decrease in AIDS-related Deaths

Frederic Brussat October 28, 2013

O Healer, who watches over all living with the HIV virus around the world, we give thanks for the researchers and the scientists who have given us effective drugs that have decreased the number of AIDS-related deaths.

Statistic: The number of AIDS-related deaths worldwide has decreased by 30 percent since reaching its peak back in 2005, and this trend is only expected to continue. (Medical Daily)

We pray that AIDS education and prevention programs, as well as treatment programs, will be effective in combatting this dread disease, which has already taken too many lives.


A Prayer about Our Use of Cars

Frederic Brussat October 25, 2013

Lord of Life, we confess that we are in the habit of using our cars too much and this has had a bad effect on the environment and on our health.

Study: A University of Michigan study published in July of 2013 reports that by several measures, light-duty vehicle driving miles peaked in the United States in 2004, before the economic downturn. This is a major milestone in the history of the American automobile. (The New York Times)

O Patient One, thanks be to those car users who have tried to reduce road miles as part of an overall greenhouse gas reduction campaign. Their children's children will thank them years from now for doing such a good and noble thing.


A Prayer for Slaves

Frederic Brussat October 23, 2013

O Liberator God, we are ashamed of the persistence of slavery in our world. Help us to cherish our freedom and fight for the freedom of others.

Fact: There are at least 27 million slaves in 161 countries around the world today, including the U.S.
(End It: Shine a Light on Slavery)

We pray for the unquiet souls of those who are enslaved around the world. Grant them the liberty that we so often take for granted.


Lovingkindness for All Children

Frederic Brussat October 21, 2013

O Compassionate One, help us to have the same love and concern for all children - especially the poor and the homeless - as we have for our own children and grandchildren.

Worldwide Ranking: Rank of the United States, out of 29 developed countries, in overall child well-being: 26 (United Nations Children's Fund, 2013)

May all children be free of suffering. May all children be well. May all children live with ease, assured of the necessities of life. May all children know peace and joy.


Rejoicing in More Positive Views of Homosexual Relationships

Frederic Brussat October 18, 2013

We rejoice in small triumphs that signal positive changes in human relationships.

Polls: Percentage of U.S. adults who considered homosexual relations morally acceptable in 2002: 38. Percentage who considered homosexual relations morally acceptable in 2012: 59 (Gallup, May 2012)

O Voice of Freedom, help us to expand our acceptance to other groups in our society, including members of minority religions and immigrants.


A Lament Over the Growing Gap Between the Rich and the Poor

Frederic Brussat October 16, 2013

O Keeper of Justice in the universe, we are troubled about the inequality which is so rampant in the United States.

Statistic: The top 10 percent of earners last year collected more than half the nation's total income, including market income and capital gains. That's the highest proportion since the government began recording income data more than a century ago.
(The New York Times)

Help us to demand that those who represent us in Washington, D.C., find ways to bring relief to poor and middle-class people who are losing ground financially while depleting their precious spiritual resource of hope.


Gratitude for Trips Down Memory Lane

Frederic Brussat October 15, 2013

We are grateful that we can derive such pleasure from nostalgic trips down memory lane.

Research: Feeling nostalgic is often seen as a sign of depression, but a growing body of research suggests that it actually wards off loneliness and anxiety. (The New York Times)

Help us, O Holy One, to harvest our finest memories that lift our spirits and bring joy to our hearts.


A Prayer about Time Spent on the Internet

Frederic Brussat October 11, 2013

 


We give thanks for the convenience and the many ways the Internet enriches our lives and connects us with other people.

New Report: Americans are spending nearly twice as much time online this year as they did in 2010, thanks to an increase in mobile devices and more ubiquitous Wi-Fi. (HuffingtonPost.com, 08/2013)

O Great Creator, help us not to overdo our time online and neglect those who are near and dear to us.



Prayers for Peace in Syria

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat September 6, 2013

Dove of Peace

The Obama Administration has asked the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution authorizing military strikes against Syria. The administration claims that in the ongoing civil war in Syria, the government fired rockets loaded with chemical weapons into rebel strongholds on August 21, reportedly killing more than 1,400 people including some 400 children. The strikes are intended to be punishment for the use of chemical weapons and a warning that such actions will not be tolerated in the future. Many religious leaders are urging Obama not to use violence to punish violence and instead to put diplomatic and economic pressure on all sides in Syria in order to secure peace for the people.

There will be vigils and prayer meetings this weekend for peace in Syria. We offer these resources for individual and group use. Below is a prayer written by Brian McLaren, one of the Living Spiritual Teachers profiled at S&P. Here, too, are links to collections of quotations and prayers we put together at the start of the Iraq War. Alas, they are still needed.

Peace Is the Way: A Collection of Inspirational Quotations for Peacemakers

Wartime Prayers and Meditations: a collection of 37 prayers for peace from all traditions. 

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer to Celebrate Same-Sex Marriage

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat June 27, 2013

On June 26, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the core provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a federal law enacted in 1996, are unconstitutional. DOMA allowed states to refuse to recognize marriage rights to same sex partners married in other states and also denied same-sex married couples federal benefits. The Supreme Court's ruling upholds the states' rights to legalize gay marriage but gives gay couples access to federal marriage benefits, such as couples being able to file joint tax returns, survivors being able to claim social security benefits, foreigners in a gay relationship being able to apply for green cards, and more. Some of the federal benefits still depend upon where marriages take place and where couples live, but nonetheless, this decision is being widely hailed as a victory for those seeking the legalization of same-sex marriage.

As people of God, who believe that all people are created in God's image, and all love reflects God's love, we rejoice with our gay brothers and sisters in the United States

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Family and Friends of Those Who Have Committed Suicide

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat May 7, 2013

More Americans now die of suicide than in car accidents and from 1999 to 2010 the suicide rate among those ages 35 to 64 rose by nearly 30 percent. The most pronounced increases were seen among men in their 50s, a group in which suicide rated jumped by nearly 50%. According to an article in The New York Times, explanations for this increase are financial stress and the availability of drugs which can be deadly in large doses. Many of the suicides are members of the Baby Boom generation who have been disappointed with how their lives have turned out given all the high expectations for them. Many have additional stress because they are caring for aging parents and still providing support to adult children.

And so we pray this news . . .


Prayer for Mexicans Who Have Died in the American Desert

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat April 30, 2013

A powerful documentary in the PBS series "Independent Lens" titled The Undocumented, directed by Marco Williams, focuses on efforts to identify the 200 Mexicans each year who die while making the crossing through the Arizona desert into America in search of work to provide for their families. Victims of heat stroke and the lack of food, water, and medical care, they pay the highest price for the dream of a better life.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer Giving Thanks for the Pioneers of Multifaith Practice

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat April 15, 2013

We are reading more and more articles about people creating their own religions by taking what they find of value from different wisdom traditions. It has been reported that almost half of all Americans under 30 believe that the best religion is one that borrows from different religions. Many spiritual teachers, deeply rooted in their own tradition, have crossed borders and paved the way to this auspicious moment of openness, hospitality, and genuine respect for all. We are grateful to these pioneers of the multifaith movement. 

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Monarch Butterflies

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat March 18, 2013

In an article in The New York Times, Lincoln Brower and Homero Aridjis note the winter monarch colonies near Mexico City have shrunk considerably. Between 1993 and 2003, they covered an average of 22 acres; this year's area hit a record low of 2.3 acres. Like the loss of bees, the decline of the monarch butterflies has many causes, including the destruction of breeding habitats in the United States from toxic herbicides and genetically engineered crops and illegal logging in Mexico's fir forests. Other factors are ecotourism, extreme weather, and diversion of water. What this means is that the very future of these beauties of the sky is in danger.

An so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Exploited Working Children in India

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat February 26, 2013

In an article in The New York Times, Gardiner Harris reveals that 28 million children between the ages of 6 and 14 are working in mines, factories, construction sites, shops, and farms in India. This is happening despite laws banning child labor and unsafe working conditions. As a result many kids are getting sick and even dying.

These pictures testify to the suffering.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Baby Boomers in Distress

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat February 11, 2013

The continuing recession in the United States has been especially hard on Baby Boomers, those in their 50s and 60s raised with high hopes of a happy and fulfilling retirement filled with travel and the pleasures of a life of leisure. Instead the Labor Department's latest report on jobs identifies this age cohort as the greatest victims of the economic down swing.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer of Respect for All Women

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat January 21, 2013

The disgusting gang rape on a bus in India of a woman student, who later died of her injuries, has set off a firestorm of protest against gender violence. Nicholas Kristof cites other shocking incidents and notes that women worldwide ages 15 through 44 are more likely to die or be maimed because of male violence than because of cancer, malaria, war, and traffic accidents combined. The World Health Organization has found that domestic and sexual violence affects 30 to 60 percent of women in most countries.

We protest this violence, and we also counter it with prayerful respect and affirmations of the fundamental worth and potential of all women everywhere.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Prayer for Forgiveness of Our Daily Pollutions

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat January 14, 2013

Global warming, notes this article by Jon Queally on CommonDreams.org, is making the world hot and dry and also cold and wet. It snowed last week in Jerusalem. China is enduring its coldest winter in nearly 30 years. Brazil is in the grip of a heat spell. There have been bush fires in Australia and floods in Pakistan and the United Kingdom. "Such events are increasing in intensity as well as frequency," said Omar Baddour of the World Meteorological Organization in Geneva.

And so we pray this news . . .


A Poem for the Helpers in Newtown, Connecticut

Mary Ann Brussat December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012. A heavily armed young man opened fire at a Connecticut elementary school, killing 26 people, including 20 children in the second deadliest mass shooting at a U.S. school in history. Immediately, police, parents, and others rushed to the scene joining the teachers and school officials comforting the remaining children. We are reminded of the good people who respond in times of tragedy, even risking their own lives. They, along with the victims, are in our prayers. This poem by Rumi says it for us.

And so we pray this news...


Prayer for Perishing Trees

Frederic Brussat December 10, 2012

A new study in the journal Science reports that some of the largest and oldest trees of the world are dying. There are many causes and among them are the selfish and short-sighted habits of human beings.  

And so we pray this news...


A Prayer for Holiday Shoppers

Frederic Brussat November 26, 2012

The December holidays mean that millions of people all over the world will head out to malls, department stores, and shops to purchase gifts. In the United States, the shopping frenzy started on "Black Friday," the day after Thanksgiving, followed by "Small Business Saturday" for those choosing to buy only from independent businesses, and "Cyber Monday" for shopping online.

And so we pray this news...


Prayers for Thanksgiving

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat November 20, 2012

Today's news is troubling. Bombs are falling in Gaza and Israel. People are still suffering from the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy. Yet once again in the United States, we are asked to open our hearts and give thanks on the national holiday of Thanksgiving.

And so we pray this news. . .

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for an End to Hunger

Frederic Brussat October 22, 2012

The World Bank and several United Nations agencies have reported that world hunger is gaining ground once again. Experts point to many causes for this, including droughts, high food costs, climate change, and the precarious state of global agriculture.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Malala Yousafzai and Pakistani Girls

Mary Ann Brussat October 11, 2012

Malala YousafzaiOn Tuesday, October 9, 2012, Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Pakistan, was shot in the head by Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, who claimed she had become a "symbol of Western culture in the area." She is, in truth, an activist for girls' education in Pakistan. At age 11 she began writing a blog about life under Taliban rule, chronicling the suffering when they closed girls' schools.

There have been widespread protests throughout Pakistan against the shooting, which took place on a school bus. Two others girls were also injured. Malala remains in critical condition; she has been moved to the Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology critical care unit in Rawalpindi

And so we pray this news. . . .


A Prayer for Africa's Elephants

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat September 5, 2012

In an article in The New York Times, Jeffrey Gettleman reported on the recent shooting of 22 elephants including several very young ones in the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The killers shot them from the air, then landed so they could cut off the ivory tusks worth one million dollars. The park guards suspect that the perpetrators were members of the Ugandan military shooting from a helicopter and using ivory poaching to fund military activities. Other notorious armed groups – the Lord's Resistance Army, the Shabab, and Darfur's Janjaweed – are hunting elephants and using the tusks to buy weapons.

Gettleman writes: "Africa is in the midst of an epic elephant slaughter. Conservation groups say that poachers are wiping out tens of thousands of elephants a year, more than any time in the previous two decades, with the underground ivory trade becoming increasingly militarized."

Elephant mother and babyElephants are the largest territorial mammals living on earth. Gigantic and strong, they are able to move with agility and perform many different functions with their trunks such as smelling, feeling, greeting, and bathing. Three other qualities make them outstanding creatures: their intelligence, their extraordinary memory, and their delight in living in herds with other elephants. They have life spans of 60 years or more.

In Peace to All Beings, Judy Carman notes how many of us are deeply shocked and moved after reading about incidents of human cruelty to animals. We are often moved to take action and to send our prayers to them.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Suicide Victims

Frederic Brussat August 29, 2012

Women's eyeNewspapers, magazines, and television reports deliver the story of another suicide: a famous filmmaker leaps to his death off a bridge, a college student exposed by classmates as being gay takes his own life, a young girl mercilessly bullied by her peers hangs herself at home. Soldiers and Native Americans are two groups with high suicide rates.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 36,909 individuals in the United States committed suicide in 2009. This figure makes it the tenth leading cause of death. Sadly, the rate of suicide has been increasing since 2000; this is the highest rate in 15 years.

And suicide becomes more visible, anxiety increases about the possibility of copycat suicides among vulnerable groups. Already, nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Victims and Families of Earthquakes in Iran

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat August 13, 2012

Rescue teams search for victims in the earthquake-stricken village of Varzaghan in East Azarbaijan.Two earthquakes in northwest Iran on Saturday, August 11, 2012, have killed 300 people and injured 2,600 more, according to reports from Reuters and other news agencies.

The first quake registered at a 6.4 magnitude. It struck 60 kilometers northeast of the city of Tabriz, a trading hub and the home centuries ago of Shams of Tabriz, the spiritual teacher of Rumi. The second quake measured 6.3.

More than 1000 villages were affected; 130 villages suffered more than 70 percent damage, and 20 were completely destroyed. About 16,000 people in the areas hit by the quakes have been given emergency shelter by the Red Crescent.
Ruins of a houses are seen after an earthquake in the city of Varzaqan in northwestern Iran

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Safety as We Gather Together

Mary Ann Brussat August 6, 2012

On Sunday, August 5, as Sikh Americans gathered for communal prayers in their temple south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a gunman entered the building, opened fire, and killed six people and wounded three others. For Sikh Americans, this event was a sad reminder of the many times in their history when they have been the victims of hate violence. Coming just two weeks after another gunman killed 12 people at a midnight screening of a Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado, it was also a grim example of the prevalence of guns in America and our vulnerability to random and/or premeditated gun violence.


Mourners gather at a candlelight vigil for the victims of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin shooting, Aug. 5, 2012, at Cathedral Square in Milwaukee

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for When the Unthinkable Happens

Frederic Brussat July 23, 2012

On July 20, 2012, a few minutes into the midnight screening of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colorado, a gunman entered the theater, set off tear gas grenades, and then shot into the crowd, using several firearms and many rounds of ammunition. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured. The shooter was apprehended in the theater's parking lot.

Tom Sullivan, center, embracing family membersAs people around the world reacted to this tragedy, questions emerged again about gun violence in America (each year more than 30,000 Americans die from guns) and the even deeper question of why bad things happen to good people. It is not the first time, nor will it be the last time, when we find ourselves grappling with the unthinkable.

After 9/11, Maggie Oman Shannon, leader of the S&P e-course on Ways to Pray from Around the World and editor of the collection Prayers for Healing, reflected upon these questions and responded in prayer. She offers a version of that prayer now after the Aurora shootings.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Health Care for All

Frederic Brussat July 2, 2012

The United States Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a signature piece of legislation for the Obama Administration. Many are grateful for the positive changes in the nation's health care system this act has allowed. (The video below summarizes the problem and the solutions in the ACA.) Others would still prefer a "single payer" program providing universal health care for everyone; they note that 26 million Americans remain uninsured under ACA.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer in Response to the Screams

Frederic Brussat May 7, 2012

The Scream by Edvard MunchEdvard Munch, the artist who painted "The Scream" in 1893, could not have imagined that his most famous work of art would fetch $119.9 million at Sotheby's in 2012. Although this is an interesting news story, we are more taken with Munch's confession that the idea for the painting came to him while on a walk at sunset with friends. He wandered behind them "shiverring with fear" and then "I heard the enormous, infinite scream of nature." In these perilous times we are assaulted by many different screams that demand our attention and spiritual action.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer to Honor American Nuns

Frederic Brussat May 1, 2012

National Board of The Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the association of the leaders of congregations of Catholic women religious in the United StatesIn an article in The New York Times, columnist Nicholas Kristof reported on Pope Benedict's reprimand and criticism of American nuns and the organization that represents 80% of them. The Vatican lambasted their emphasis on working for the poor rather than spending their time fighting abortion and gay marriage. Kristof praises the nuns' pathbreaking work: "They were the first feminists, earning doctorates or working as surgeons long before it was fashionable for women to hold jobs. As managers of hospitals, schools, and complex bureaucracies, they were the first female CEOs."

We ask you to join him and us in supporting these incredible women who have been the heart and soul of Catholicism for centuries.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Safety and Well-Being of Rhinos

Frederic Brussat March 29, 2012

Rhino with horn removedThe rhino is being hunted into extinction and could disappear forever unless we act now. Statistics show 440 rhinos were brutally killed last year in South Africa by poachers seeking their horns, and more than 100 have already been killed this year. Fueling this devastation is a spike in demand for rhino horns, used for bogus cancer cures, hangover remedies, and good luck charms in China and Vietnam.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Fearless Protesters in Tibet

Frederic Brussat March 27, 2012

Tibetan exiles attend to injured comrade Jampa YeshiOver the past year, 30 young Tibetans have committed self-immolation as a form of self-sacrifice to draw attention to the relentless oppression by the Chinese in their homeland. On March 26, 2012, a Tibetan in exile in India set himself on fire and ran through the streets of New Delhi. In Tibet these events have led to a crack-down on monasteries and monks along with the detention of those who persist in having pictures of the Dalai Lama. The New York Times reports that "the Dalai Lama and his subordinates have expressed shock and sadness at the immolations but have called them a reflection of desperation by Tibetans living under a system that represses their religion and culture."

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Beached Dolphins

Frederic Brussat January 25, 2012

February 2012. We read in the news about a tragedy. From New England to Peru, an unprecedented number of dolphins are beaching themselves: 124 have died on Cape Cod and 200 in Chiclayo, Peru. Experts have weighed in with the possible reasons for these strandings: this year's unusual warm weather, movement of prey, decompression, and disease. We wish those scientists well who are trying to find an answer to this ongoing tragedy.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Those Living in PovertyUSA

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat January 20, 2012

The largest "state" in the United States is PovertyUSA. Nearly one in six Americans (46 million people), and one in four children, live there. The government's official poverty threshold for a family of four is $22,314. Trying to live on this number are people working at minimum wage (often with more than one job), seniors on fixed incomes, unemployed people, those suffering from illnesses, and others. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development has designated January as Poverty Awareness Month.

And so we pray this news. . .


Our First Year of "Praying the News" and a Prayer for Humankind

Frederic Brussat January 1, 2012

Here we are at the end of our first year of "Praying the News." As we look back at the 28 prayers, we would characterize 2011 as a turbulent year for weather and disasters, the rebellions around the world against the power and greed of dictators, the suffering of animals, the tragedy of widespread poverty, and the continued violence against women and gay people. We continue to hold all those affected by these events in our prayers as we near the start of a New Year, and we offer a new prayer for all the peoples of the world.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Victims of Sexual Abuse

Frederic Brussat November 18, 2011

November 2011. The former Defensive Coordinator for the Penn State University football team, Jerry Sandusky, was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting 8 young boys over a 15-year period. Much of the news has revolved around the subsequent firing of the legendary football coach Joe Paterno and a TV interview with Sandusky. But we believe that the focus should be on the victims of sexual abuse.

According to a 1998 Boston University School of Medicine report:

• One in four girls is sexually abused before the age of fourteen.
• One in six boys is sexually abused before the age of sixteen.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Nonviolent Protesters

Frederic Brussat November 17, 2011

November 17, 2011, marks the two-month anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement, and demonstrations are planned in many locations. Faith leaders and Occupy Wall Street protesters have insisted that nonviolent civil disobedience is the way to go, and to date, what violence has occurred seems to have been initiated by the police trying to break up occupy encampments. Our prayer is that both protesters and police practice nonviolence so that all will be safe and the issues of economic disparity and injury behind the movement will get the attention they deserve.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the 7 Billion People of the Earth

Frederic Brussat October 25, 2011

As of October 31, 2011, according to the U.N. Population Fund, there will be 7 billion people on the planet. China and India are the two most populous nations. Large challenges face the peoples of the Earth as a result of this population explosion — poverty and the ever-growing global gap between the haves and the have-nots, food and water shortages, homelessness and an increase in refugees wandering from one place to another, urban problems stemming from people unable to work or provide for their families elsewhere.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Litany for Economic and Social Justice

Frederic Brussat October 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing demonstration in New York City to protest economic and social injustices. Participants have moved into a park in lower Manhattan near Wall Street and have marched through the city; on October 1, 700 protesters were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. The protests have spread to other cities, including Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Denver, and many smaller communities. On October 1, the NYC General Assembly issued a "Declaration of the Occupation of New York City," stating:

"As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

"As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known."

"We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone. To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal. Join us and make your voices heard!"

And sp we pray this news. . .


Prayers for Americans Living in Poverty

Frederic Brussat September 14, 2011

September 14, 2011. Today's news included the U.S. Census Bureau report that 46.2 million Americans — 1 in 6 — are living in poverty. That is the highest number in the 52 years that the Census Bureau has been tracking poverty in America.



And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Children Returning to School

Frederic Brussat August 30, 2011

Going back to schoolIt is that time of year as children leave behind their summer pleasures to return to school. The routines of getting up on time, putting things in order, doing homework, and keeping distractions to a minimum: these are the rhythms of fall for students of all ages. Parents have important roles to play at this time of year as lovers and cheerleaders of their children. Many of the feature stories in the news these days focus on children going back to school.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for those in the Path of Hurricane Irene

Frederic Brussat August 27, 2011

August 27, 2011. Hurricane Irene made landfall this morning on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and continued making its way up the Eastern seaboard of the United States where hurricane warnings were in effect all the way to Massachusetts. President Barack Obama declared an emergency for New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. More than 2.3 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes. In New York City, where the storm is expected to hit Sunday as a Category I hurricane, the entire subway and bus system was shut down.

Satelitte picture of Hurricane Irene"This is probably the largest number of people that have been threatened by a single hurricane in the United States," said Jay Baker, a geography professor at Florida State University. It has been estimated that as many as 60 million people are in the path of this giant storm. For them and their loved ones, we offer this Prayer for Protection originally written by Unity minister James Dillet Freeman for soldiers during World War II. It was carried to the moon by astronaut Col. James Aldrin on Apollo 11 and by Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin on the first manned moon landing.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for those Suffering in East Africa's Famine

Frederic Brussat August 1, 2011

An article on TheWeek.com summarizes the worst food crisis in half a century now happening in the Horn of Africa: Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and parts of Uganda, Eritrea, and Djibouti. More than 11 million men, women, and children are suffering and dying in squalid refugee camps. Thousands more are already dead from starvation and malnutrition-related diseases. The situation is being caused by a prolonged drought in the area aggravated by political instability and war, particularly in southern Somalia. There is no end of the drought or the suffering in sight.

Somali refugees arriving in KenyaAt the camps, international aid organizations are working hard to serve the suffering. Care staff members claim that 1,500 displaced refugees are arriving every day to live in terrible conditions often without medical aid, sanitation, or water. Among the new arrivals, 80 percent of them are children. International aid groups are calling this the worst food crisis since the Great Chinese Famine of the late 1950s. This slideshow is a small window into the crisis.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Drought-Stricken Places

Frederic Brussat July 19, 2011

Texas farmer surveying droughtJuly 2011. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows that 29 percent of the country is in drought. Texas and other southern states in the U.S. are suffering from an exceptionally extreme drought, which has dried up farm fields, ponds, and small rivers and increased the threat of wildfires. The situation is similar to some of the world's driest deserts.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Change-Makers in America

Frederic Brussat July 1, 2011

July 4 is Independence Day in the United States. As our friends at the Network of Spiritual Progressives remind us, Americans have mixed feelings about this day:

The Declaration of Independence"Faced with July 4th celebrations that are focused on militarism, ultra-nationalism, and 'bombs bursting in air,' many American families who do not share those values turn July 4th into another summer holiday focused on picnics, sports, and fireworks, while doing their best to avoid the dominant rhetoric and bombast.

"This year that kind of celebration is particularly difficult when many of us are in mourning as we watch our government commit to keep fighting the trillion dollar a year war in Afghanistan while cutting social programs for the poor, the elderly, schools, environment, and other pressing human needs."

Yet, NSP continues, there is much that is good in American history to celebrate — remarkable advancements brought about by our leaders but also by "ordinary and extraordinary Americans whose struggles brought about those changes." The following prayer remembers those contributions we can all celebrate on July 4th. To see the entire "Interdependence Day Celebration for July 4" by Rabbi Michael Lerner, visit Tikkun.org.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Homeless in Minot, North Dakota

Frederic Brussat June 30, 2011

Houses flooded by the Souris River in Minot, North DakaotaThousands of people have lost their homes to flooding in Minot, North Dakota, as the Souris River has spilled over dikes and levees. Photographs show the widespread devastation caused by this natural disaster, but we can only at this time imagine the extent of the losses inside the homes. Our hearts go out to those whose homes are now submerged under water.



And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer to Celebrate the Legalization of Same-Sex Marriage in New York State

Frederic Brussat June 25, 2011

On June 24, 2011, New York, home to 42,000 same-sex couples, became the sixth and by far the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. This means the number of same-sex couples living in states allowing same-sex marriage has more than doubled overnight. In a Reuters release, Columbia Law School professor Suzanne Goldberg noted: "New Yorkers tend to move about the country quite a lot. High numbers of same-sex couples likely to marry here will increase pressure on other states to treat those couples fairly."

We rejoice in this legal breakthrough for loving couples in New York.

Rainbow Empire State Building

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Tornado Victims in Joplin, Missouri

Frederic Brussat May 25, 2011

People survey damaged by tornado in Joplin, MissouriMay 23, 2011: Over 116 people and counting were killed when a devastating tornado struck Joplin, Missouri. Pictures convey the terrible destructiveness of this natural disaster.

And so we pray this news. . .


Prayers for Graduates

Frederic Brussat May 20, 2011

Graduation cap and diplomaGraduation is in the news — announced in grade school, high school, college, graduate school, and community newspapers. For families and friends, it's time to congratulate our loved ones. For graduates, it marks a major transition and a new beginning. It is a perfect time for prayers.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Tornado Victims in Southern United States

Frederic Brussat April 29, 2011

Couple comfort each other after tornado devastationApril, 2011. The U.S. South has felt the brunt of a catastrophic series of tornadoes which have taken the lives of 300 people and counting. Meteorologists have reported over 900 tornadoes since the beginning of the month. Pictures indicate the widespread destruction caused by this severe weather.



And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for and with the Wolves

Frederic Brussat March 30, 2011

On April 14, 2011, something unprecedented happened in the U.S. Congress. A budget deal to fund the government, negotiated by Republicans and Democrats and approved by the Obama Administration, included a non-budget related provision to strip federal protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies. The budget rider, attached to the must-past bill by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), requires the Secretary of the Interior to reinstate the same 2009 delisting of wolves that was declared unlawful by a federal district court, while insulating the provision from any legal challenge.

Mother wolf and her pupWhat does this mean for wolves? It leaves their "management" in the hands of politicians in the states, many of whom have already expressed their desire to see this species eliminated. Widespread hunts of the wolves are likely to happen, with as many as 1000 of them targeted, making the species genetically unsustainable. Less rabid wolf opponents say they simply want to protect livestock from wolves, although non-lethal means of wolf management are available.


Of equal concern is what this anti-wolf campaign means for the Endangered Species Act. If wolves can be delisted because some politicians don't like them, and not for reasons of science or due to decisions by the courts based on that science, then the same thing could happen to salmon, polar bears, grizzly bears, panthers, manatees, and other threatened species. Here is a statement from Defenders of Wildlife on this issue.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Women Raped in War Zones

Frederic Brussat March 28, 2011

A Libyan woman, who gave her name as Eman al-Obeidy, burst into a restaurant in Tripoli where Western journalists were eating on March 26 to tell them that she had been taken from her hometown, confined, beaten, and raped by 15 men from Muammar el-Qaddafi's militia. Although some of the journalists tried to interview and protect her, she was quickly restrained and taken away.

This is not an isolated incident. In all wars, some soldiers see women as objects for their own use and use rape as a way to exercise power and vent their rage. In the clip here, a medical team at a morgue report finding Viagra and condoms in the pockets of Qaddafi soldiers. 

 

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Victims of the Japanese Earthquake and the Pacific Tsunami

Frederic Brussat March 12, 2011

A massive 8.9 magnitude earthquake hit the Pacific Ocean nearby Northeastern Japan at around 2:46 pm on March 11 (JST) causing damage with blackouts, fires, building collapses, and much more. The nuclear power plant at Fukushima Dai-ichi was damaged, raising concerns about leaking radiation. The earthquake triggered an enormous tsunami that roared over Japanese harbors, towns, and fields, destroying much in its path. The tsunami waves crossed the Pacific region as far as California in the United States. The death toll in human and animal life is still being determined.

Photo from The New Zealand Hymnbook TrustThrough searches for "Japanese earthquake" on Google Images and YouTube, we see so many scenes of the destruction. We find ourselves empathizing with those affected by this tragedy. We have compassion for the suffering.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Bees

Frederic Brussat March 5, 2011

Bee in a SunflowerDiscovery.com reports that the United Nations is urging international efforts to save bee colonies which are in serious decline, especially in the industrialized northern hemisphere. Among the reasons for this scary situation are pesticides, air pollution, mismanagement of the countryside, and the loss of flowering plants. UNEP director Achim Steiner notes that of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world's food, over 70 percent are pollinated by bees.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Libyan Refugees

Frederic Brussat February 28, 2011

The United Nations refugee agency says almost 100,000 people have fled the fighting in Libya and gone to Tunisia and Egypt. The situation is now seen as a "humanitarian emergency." Many of these people are poor contract workers carrying what they could grab as they left.

Libyan refugees fleeing the violence and seeking refuge in Tunisia

And so we pray this news. . .


Prayers For Gaddafi and Protesters in Libya

Frederic Brussat February 25, 2011

Protesters in LibyaLibyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is killing his own people. There are estimates that as many as 2000 protesters on the streets have lost their lives. Mercenaries with machine guns are shooting down people at random.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Protesters in Wisconsin

Frederic Brussat February 21, 2011

In response to efforts by Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, to cut the bargaining rights and benefits of public workers, protesters have gathered in Madison to challenge this blatant attempt to cut the power of unions. Teachers, nurses, and other public employees see this as an attack on their rights to organize for better pay, benefits, and working conditions. Here's a gallery of images of what's been happening.

Protests in Madison, Wisconsin

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the People of Egypt

Frederic Brussat February 1, 2011

February 1, 2011. After a week of street demonstrations against the regime of Hosni Mubarak regime, the people of Egypt are calling for a change of government and an end to the inequalities which have created a tremendous gap between the rich and the poor. Underlying all the chaos is the yearning of a repressed people for a taste of freedom.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Mudslide Victims in Brazil

Frederic Brussat January 23, 2011

The Boston Globe reports on the devastation in Brazil in mid-January 2011: "Last week, a series of flash floods and mudslides struck the Serrana mountain region near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, destroying buildings roads and more. Nearly 14,000 people are now homeless, 759 are reported to have been killed and another 400 remain missing in this, Brazil's worst-ever natural disaster. As soldiers make their way to remote towns with aid and transportation, Brazil's government has said it would accelerate efforts to build up a nationwide disaster-prevention and early-warning system. Collected here are photos from the mountainous regions near Rio that were so hard-hit by these landslides."

Landslides in Brazil just outside Rio

Click on image to see a slideshow.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Flood Victims in Australia

Frederic Brussat January 14, 2011

January, 2011. Australia is experiencing the worst flooding in decades, affecting an area of the state of Queensland the size of Germany and France. Towns have been turned into islands amidst muddy lakes that were once farmlands. The state's coal industry has been shut down. On January 11, the flood waters reached Brisbane, the third largest city in the country, affecting thousands of homes and yards. As the video from Toowoomba shows, rivers of water carried cars away, eventually depositing them in piles.


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer in Response to the Arizona Shootings

Frederic Brussat January 10, 2011

Congresswoman Gabrielle GiffordsOn January 8, 2011, Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the U.S. Congress, was shot in the head outside a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, while holding a public event. Six other people at the gathering, including a judge and a nine-year-old girl, were killed by the shooter.

And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for Our Sufi Brothers and Sisters in Pakistan

Frederic Brussat January 4, 2011

In an article in The New York Times, Huma Imtiaz and Charlotte Cuchen describe the heated-up war against Sufism, the mystical expression of Islam, in Pakistan. Sufism is popular in that country, attracting millions to festivals through the year and thousands for daily visits to shrines dedicated to Sufi saints. Hard-line Islamic militants are targeting the shrines, taking responsibility for five shrine attacks in 2010 that killed 64 worshippers.

Despite the dangers, the people continue to visit the shrines. In a video accompanying the article, a popular devotional singer joins the crowds of singing and dancing Sufis at a shrine in Lahore, and then learns later of a deadly attack on a shrine in Karachi. 


And so we pray this news. . .


A Prayer for the Birds

Frederic Brussat January 1, 2011

Poet and Rumi translator Coleman Barks has observed that all the mystical traditions revere birds and their songs. They represent our yearnings for purity, freedom, play, and deliver "messages of ineffable joy." In addition, we can appreciate them as fellow pilgrims on earth, guides to the meaning of place, soul singers, and ambassadors from other worlds. As nature enthusiast Barry Lopez notes: "Birds tug at the mind and heart with a strange intensity."  Red Wing Balck Bird

Perhaps because we share these sentiments, we were sad to hear the news on January 1, 2011, that more than 5,000 red-winged blackbirds had fallen from the sky in Beebe, Arkansas, covering roofs, streets, and lawns for more than a mile. Then a few days later, 500 more birds fell in Louisiana. What caused this bizarre happening? There are a few theories but nothing definitive.

The deaths of the red-winged blackbirds tugs at our souls, and we include them in our prayers. These birds are early spring migrants and often quite vociferous about their needs. We commend these 5,500 creatures to the God of all feathered beings.

And so we pray this news. . .


Praying the News Blog

Frederic Brussat January 1, 2010

Years ago, we stumbled across "Pray the News," a website run by a group of Carmelite nuns in Indianapolis, Indiana. Three or four sisters regularly offered prayers, litanies, and spiritual commentaries on the news. When the order moved, they closed down the website, although they assured their regular visitors, like us, that they would continue their personal practice of lifting to God the news of the day. We trust that the good sisters will not object to our taking up this prayer practice now at Spirituality & Practice.

"Everything that one turns in the direction of God is prayer," said Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus. Richard Foster, a Quaker who has written wisely on different kinds of prayer, calls one type "Praying the Ordinary"; it is seeing God in the ordinary experiences of life. We will keep these broad definitions in mind as we read the news for people, situations, and events that call for prayers, but most of the prayers offered here will be intercessory prayers. We will be asking for God's help and healing presence for our world. We will pray especially for those parts of the creation in crisis that they may experience our compassion and know God's love.

We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. It is as Jane Vennard writes in Praying for Friends and Enemies:

"True compassion brings us into solidarity with all of God's people. Solidarity not only connects us to others, it makes us one with all our sisters and brothers, including those on the opposite side of the battlefield. Compassion and solidarity are not easy. They are awakened in us slowly. As we pray for others, our prayers are gradually transformed, our hearts are softened, and our eyes are opened. Once opened we can never close our eyes again. We begin to see the world through God's eyes of love."

May this blog awaken our compassion for all people and all of God's creation.




About This Blog

The daily news summons us to prayer. The people, situations, and events of our times call out for our compassion and God's healing presence. In this blog we will pray in a variety of forms as we lift up the needs of the world. We hope that by praying the news in this way we will also expand both our spirituality and our practice. More. . .

Blog Authors

  • Mary Ann Brussat
  • Frederic Brussat
  • Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat