Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 16, 2018

May 15, 2018 was the 70th anniversary of Yawm an-Nakba, which translates from Arabic as "Day of the Catastrophe." It commemorates the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians from their homeland when the state of Israel was established during the 1948 Palestine war.

Seventy years later, Yawm an-Nakba has taken on new sorrow and significance after violence at the border fence between Gaza and Israel on Monday left 60 Palestinian protesters dead and doctors struggling to keep up with the tide of Palestinians suffering gunshot wounds. Tensions had been building for many days leading up to the official relocation of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which had a celebratory air in ghastly contrast with deadly events along the border.

Although the U.S. staunchly defended the actions of Israeli troops, international condemnation was strong and swift. UN Secretary-General António Guterres was "profoundly alarmed" by the killings. The International non-profit organization Doctors without Borders stated that the violence was "unacceptable and inhuman," and that "it is unbearable to witness such a massive number of unarmed people being shot in such a short time." Queen Rania of Jordan, a close U.S. ally, tweeted that it was "a dark and sad day in history, marked with more Palestinian sacrifices. When will the world's conscience mobilize to give Palestinians the rights so many of us take for granted? May God have mercy on those who lost their lives defending Jerusalem's proud Arab identity."

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on May 15, 2018

Visions for a more just and compassionate world can take decades to come to fruition. We now have the soul-stirring opportunity to be part of Dr. Martin Luther King's Poor People's Campaign, inaugurated in 1968, as it takes on new life in 2018. “We don’t need a commemoration, we need a reconsecration,” proclaims Reverend Dr. William Barber, a pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, in Goldsboro, North Carolina, an articulate and charismatic leader in the contemporary civil-rights movement. (You can learn more about Barber's role in the campaign, together with Reverend Liz Theoharis from New York's Union Theological Seminary, in the May 14th issue of The New Yorker.)

Started on Mother's Day 2018 and continuing 40 days until June 23 — the last day of the 1968 effort — the revived Poor People's Campaign calls people to protest policies that perpetuate poverty, systemic racism, war, and ecological devastation. Across the United States, concerned citizens grounded in an ethic of love are mobilizing others, engaging in civil disobedience, and using social media to spread the word.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on March 14, 2018

When a school shooting happens, there is usually one lone shooter. By contrast, the steady response to school shootings — recently given yet another boost of fervent energy by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida — has been a chorus of many thousands, united in grief, concern, and outrage.

Today, March 14, 2018, marks the one-month anniversary of the shooting that took 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and students all over the United States marched out of their schools to honor those who died. At the same time, activists have placed 7,000 empty pairs of shoes on the Capitol lawn, an impossible-to-ignore symbol of the children lost to gun violence.

Moved by the powerful voices of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students, we offer some of their words here as a prayer: not one of beseeching, but one of courage and commitment. These are young people who care passionately about the well-being and safety not only of their own community but of communities everywhere, and their words imbue us with strength.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on September 20, 2017

On Friday, September 15, 2017, more than 110 Buddhist teachers from more than a dozen countries united to call upon Buddhist leaders in Myanmar to help stop "systematic violence and abuse directed against hundreds of thousands of our Muslim sisters and brothers in Myanmar’s Rakhine state."

Letter: Lion's Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time has brought to our attention a letter from Buddhist teachers and practitioners who are "greatly disturbed by what many in the world see as slander and distortion of the Buddha’s teachings." We are moved by and grateful for their powerful message. They draw a stark contrast betweeen compassionate Buddhist teachings and the murder, beatings, starvation, rape, and now exile being inflicted upon the Rohingya, whose homes are being systematically torched behind them as they flee.

And so we pray this news ...

Posted by Mary Ann Brussat on September 8, 2017

In late August and early September 2017, we have seen an unprecedented series of category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic. Harvey and Irma created massive damage when they made landfall, and as of this writing, Jose is following in their wake. We have prayed about the people, animals, plants, and even the buildings that have been affected. But what about the hurricanes themselves?

Dr. Jerry Epstein is a physician, a pioneer in mental imagery, and an authority on the Western spiritual tradition and its application to healing and therapeutics; his work is available at In The Encyclopedia of Mental Imagery, he compiled a collection of some 2,100 exercises from his teacher, the late Colette Aboulker-Muscat of Jerusalem, who understood that the images we have in our minds can be used to heal and transform our lives. He has contributed an imagery exercise for taming Hurricane Irma, which can be used with any hurricane or extreme weather event.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on September 1, 2017

"No one ever understood disaster until it came," wrote Josephine Herbst in Nothing Is Sacred. Sadly, people who are now facing hurricane inundations, wildfires, and earthquakes know that feeling of having what you cherish ripped away. Whether it's a loved one, your property, or your sense of security that's gone, the loss is real and searing.

People in times gone by could chalk up natural disasters to the stars: The word comes from the Latin dis- (negation) + astrum ("star") — an ill-fated star. But we do not have that luxury, given the science of climate change. We cannot say exactly to what extent global warming is contributing to current disasters, but we can say for sure that continuing on our current path is perilous.

Our response to the disasters needs to be two-fold: compassionately and wisely addressing the immediate crisis — as the "Cajun Navy," the Red Cross, and others of good heart have been doing — and taking a freshly sober look at the big picture. We are not lacking for knowledge about how to live in greater harmony with the earth, but we are pinned in place by old habits.

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on August 14, 2017

Bestower of Peace, it is hard to know how to pray as respect and civility in the United States unravel at the seams. It's even harder to know how to pray when incivility turns murderous.

Source: On Saturday August 12, at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, for white nationalists and other right-wing groups, a man drove a car into counter-protestors, killing Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, and injuring many others. Fuller Theological Seminarian Lauren Grubaugh was there as a counter-protester and shared her perspective on the website of All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. She said that she struggled to pray "to the God whom we have forgotten, and whom we had best remember." But — "exhausted by the hate and the fear and the violence and the death" — she wrote a prayer "because I needed to remember God after what I saw today."

And so we pray this news . . .

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on April 4, 2017

On Monday, April 3, 2017, Lion's Roar: Buddhist Wisdom for Our Time posted "Stand Against Suffering: An Unprecedented Call to Action by Buddhist Teachers," a call for Buddhists and all people of faith to hear the cries of a suffering world and respond with wisdom and love. This powerful document was signed by 13 leading Buddhist teachers from a range of traditions joined by more than 100 additional signatories.

So many strong hearts, voices, and minds joined in unison ...

Posted by Patricia Campbell Carlson on March 8, 2017

Bestower of Authenticity, thank you for people courageous enough to stand on principle even when it means risking the loss of needed funds. Our team at Spirituality & Practice is grateful and honored to be affiliated with the Claremont School of Theology. CST's partner school Claremont Bayan just turned down a $800,000 grant from the Trump administration.

Article: According to NBC News, Islamic theology school Bayan Claremont was all set ...

Posted by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat on January 4, 2017

"God of all creation, you created animals to roam the earth and fish to fill the seas. We pray for creatures on the verge of extinction, specifically that those responsible for poaching and polluting will be held responsible. Help us to live in a way that does not endanger life, but cherishes and nourishes the life in and around us. Amen." (Prayer for Endangered Species from the Editors of Sojourners)

Study: A new study released by the Zoological Society in London, Panthera, and the Wildlife Conservation Society reveals that cheetahs may be at greater risk of extinction than previously thought. Today, there are just 7,100 cheetahs left in the world, down from an estimated 14,000 in 1975. They have been driven out of 91% of their historic range as humans have converted wilderness areas to managed land for agriculture or livestock. Poaching of cheetahs and the killing of their prey for "bushmeat" are other causes of the population decline.

Built for speed, cheetahs are the world's fastest land animal. They have been clocked running at 70 miles per hour. Unlike other wild animals who find safety in numbers, these swift creatures are loners who learn to fend for themselves.

And so we pray this news . . .

"God, the list of extinct species grows.
What would you have us do?
I run toward You, Friend.
I trust that You hear me.
For the hubris of our ancestors that said, THIS IS MINE
Forgive us.
Of our hubris, here and now, cure us.
Teach us how to be a friend
to feathered and unfeathered
Teach me to remember THIS IS YOURS.
I pray there is still time."
— Carol J. Adams in Prayers for Animals


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