"We must no longer see prayer as preparation for action. Prayer must be understood as action itself, a way of responding. . . . Prayer is not undertaken instead of other actions, but as a foundation for all the rest of the actions we take.
— Jim Wallis

"Several years ago, I received an unusual Christmas card from Mary, one of my mentors. Every year her card contains a prayer/poem/consciousness-raiser, and that year it was a prayer by Ann Weems, a poet from St. Louis, Missouri. It was a beautiful reminder that we were celebrating the one who taught us that loving the invisible means taking care of the visible.

"People such as us, who live in plenty — who have to go out of our way to see anyone who is without the physical necessities of life; who decide what we shall eat, not whether we can eat; who complain about the price of gas as we drive alone in vehicles that were meant to carry four or five others; who throw away two to three large bags of trash every week; who buy water in plastic bottles when our tap water is perfectly safe — need reminders such as this prayer by Weems.

We Pray This Day

"O God, we pray this day:
for all who have a song they cannot sing,
for all who have a burden they cannot bear,
for all who live in chains they cannot break,
for all who wander homeless and cannot return,
for those who are sick and for those who tend them,
for those who wait for loved ones
and wait in vain,
for those who live in hunger
and for those who will not share their bread,
for those who are misunderstood
and for those who misunderstand,
for those who are captives and for those who are captors,
for those whose words of love are locked within their hearts
and for those who yearn to hear those words.

"Have mercy upon these, O God,
Have mercy upon us all."

"This prayer leads right into another. St. Francis of Assisi looked at a church that was consumed with wealth and power, and he offered another way to be in this world. St. Francis challenged the status quo and prayed that the comfortable would be made uncomfortable.

" 'May you be blessed with discomfort at easy answers,
half truths and superficial relationships,
so that you may live deep within your heart.
May you be blessed with anger at injustice,
oppression and exploitation of people,
so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May you be blessed with tears to shed
for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war,
so that you may reach out your hand
to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.
And may you be blessed with enough foolishness
to believe that you can make a difference in this world,
so that you can do what others claim cannot be done!'

"This kind of prayer catalyzes 'stand there' into action."