• An Inclusive Approach to Prayer: Eight Interfaith Prayer Books
    by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
    The diversity and unity of religions is evident in devotional books containing a wide variety of old and new prayers. Here are short reviews of eight interfaith prayer books with links to longer reviews and excerpts.

More Diversity Prayers

"May I mindfully appreciate
the diversity
of every being I encounter,
who, like flowers,
brings beauty, variety,
and sustenance
to our world."
— Jean Smith in Now!

"Boundless Sea of Love and Energy,
our future and our God,
may all your dreams for us come true:
your steady and motherlike imaginings,
and your fatherly hopes,
your creative purposes evident everywhere in the world.
Guide us to our truest selves,
co-creators with you of this environment.
Persuade us to be worthy inheritors
of the astonishing evolving reality in which we live:
appreciators of the daytime in all its colors and aromas,
admirers of the heavens at night,
reverent caretakers of our generous green earth,
respectful of everything alive —
especially of our fellow humans
in all their bewildering diversity.
May it be so."
— William Cleary in Prayers to an Evolutionary God

"In that which we share,
let us see the common prayer of humanity.
In that in which we differ,
let us wonder at the freedom of man.
In our unity and our differences,
let us know the uniqueness that is God."
— Assembly of Rabbis of the Reform Synagogues of Great Britain
in Powerful Prayers for Everyday Living by Mark Linden O'Meara

"Eternal God, whose image lies in the hearts of all people,
We live among peoples whose ways are different from ours,
Whose faiths are foreign to us,
Whose tongues are unintelligible to us.
Help us to remember that you love all people with your great love,
That all religion is an attempt to respond to you,
That the yearnings of other hearts are much like
our own and are known to you.
Help us to recognize you in the words of truth, the things of beauty,
The actions of love about us.
We pray through Christ, who is a stranger to no one land more than another,
And to every land no less than to another."
— World Council of Churches, Vancouver Assembly, 1983
in God Has No Religion by Frances Sheridan Goulart

"You, the one
From whom on different paths
All of us have come.
To whom on different paths
All of us are going.
Make strong in our hearts what unites us;
Build bridges across all that divides us;
United make us rejoice in our diversity.
At one in our witness to your peace,
A rainbow of your glory.
David Steindl-Rast
in God Has No Religion by Frances Sheridan Goulart, editor

"Peace upon us all.
We praise you that so many religions have some form of the Golden Rule so there are ethical guidelines for relationships.
Gracious God, we thank you.
We praise you for calling up mystics and teachers of wisdom in the various religions to balance legalism when it arises.
Gracious God, we thank you.
We praise you that religions may be like prisms that refract Divine light into many colors and shapes.
Gracious God, we thank you.
We praise you that most secular humanists and philosophers advocate ethical ways of living.
Gracious God, we thank you.
May these prayers of healing and thanksgiving for the peoples of the world and their many diverse religions, as well as these prayers for those without faith, bring healing and reconciliation where it is needed and build bridges between peoples, regardless of their faith experiences. For we pray in the name of all that is holy.
— Jane Richardson Jensen and Patricia Harris-Watkins in She Who Prays

A Prayer of Queer Thanksgiving

"I sing praises to this little boy, no more than seven or eight,
Who just pranced right up to me and interlaced his own tiny, nail-polished fingers
With my own, and cried out, 'Twins!'
I sing praises to his choice of glittery green,
Which perfectly complements my shimmery purple.
I sing praises to his guts, his gumption, his presumption
That I am a friend, a familiar, a fellow fairy — family —
Even though we’ve never met.
I sing praises to the street that brings us together
And to the fabulous whomever he, she, they will become.
I sing praises to the well-coiffed mother, bubbling over and teary-eyed,
As she exclaims, 'He saw you all the way across the street and just had to say, ‘Hello.’'
I sing praises to the baseball-capped father, looking on with quiet pride,
As he asks, 'Do you paint yourself or do you have them professionally done?'
I sing praises to the grandma and the grandpa, holding hands and smiling wide,
As they look one another in the eye and celebrate what their love has made.
I sing praises to the dozens of witnesses to this family reunion,
The ones who hurry by and the ones who slow down,
The ones who look up from their phones to watch history being made,
The ones who set aside their cynicism for one, brief, shining moment,
So they can join in the smiles,
Join in the connection,
As I squeeze the tiny fingers of this seven-or-eight-year-old unicorn and proclaim: 'Twins!'
And I sing praises to the cloud of invisible witnesses that surrounds us,
And in the singing and the praising, I feel them appear around us.
This is fantasy, but this is real.
This is fantasy, but fantasy is what painted our nails in the first place.
I see Marsha, brick in hand, ready to take no shit,
And Sylvia, microphone primed, ready to take us to task.
I see Christine, done up and glamorous, no hair out of place,
And I hear Marlene and Sylvester and David, crooning as Billy tickles the ivories.
I see Langston and Lorraine and James and Oscar, scribbling away,
As José and Eve and Michel critique and queer and complicate.
I hear Divine and Candy and Jackie and Andy and Hibiscus whispering,
'Don’t be so serious. Let this just be the silly thing it is.'
I feel the breeze as Alvin twirls by,
And I feel the squeeze as Alan computes the logic of it all.
I see Harvey and Audre and Michael and Harry,
And Gordon and Edie and Jane and Dick,
Satisfied and still nudging, content and continuing to fight.
I hear Leonard and Howard composing a hit,
As Michael choreographs a group number,
And Frida lines us all up for what will surely be a kooky portrait for the ages.
I feel the forces, see the faces of the famous and the foreign,
And the cloud opens wider to reveal our mess of martyrs.
I see Matthew and Brandon and Roxana and Joan,
I see faces I’ve never seen before,
I hear names I’ve never known,
I hear voices I’ve never heard before, shouting, 'Twins! Twins! Twins!'
We are nothing alike and we are everything alike,
We are on the street together and we are more than worlds apart.
We are a rainbow and we are a cloud,
Born of color and tears, of triumph and tragedy,
Feeding the arc of a moral universe that has trampled us,
Even as we decorate the damn thing and teach it how to bend.
We are serious and sassy, glittery and grim,
Furious and filled with fear that fools itself into fabulosity.
We are everything I describe and nothing I describe.
We are everything I see and so much I do not see.
We can pick out one another on the street,
And we can be strangers in the same parade.
We are more than fits inside our ever-expanding initials,
And we are only as much as we allow ourselves to be.
We are a rainbow and we are a cloud,
Bending and bursting, beautiful and terrifying.
And I sing praises to the rainbow and I sing praises to the cloud.
I sing praises to the colorful progress,
And I sing praises to the storm that shouts, 'Progress is a myth.
Stop acting so small. You are the Universe in ecstatic motion.'
I sing praises to the Universe that we are,
To the rainbow that we’ve been, to the cloud we will all become,
And I feel that word fizzing up inside me, though it often frightens more than frees:
I sing praises to this family
That claims me for who I am and gently shoves me into who I can become.
I sing praises to the saints who don’t want to be saints,
To the martyrs and the heroes who ask for none of the notoriety.
I sing praises to the bloodless ties that keep us afloat until the blood ties catch up.
I sing praises to the clouds that cry out, 'Families belong together,'
And know that it means so much more than what some want it to mean.
I sing praises to this fleeting moment on the street,
A moment that begins between two nail-polished people,
And then prisms out, extending the rainbow, creating the cloud.
We are twins and we are nothing alike.
We are seeking a tribe and we are extending the tribe.
We have so much to teach and we have so much to learn.
We have eternal praises to sing and we have eternal thanks to give.
Our greatest gift is the light of our color and the salt of our tears,
As we recognize one another like children on the busy street and insist on saying,
'Hello. I see you. I feel this between us and I can’t quite explain it.'
I sing praises to our gift of family recognition,
And until all families bend to the love of difference,
Until this country bends to love of family,
I sing praises to this growing familial cloud,
Rainbow saints painting paths for their yearning children,
And I pray not with my own hands clasped together,
But with my polished fingers interlaced with any other child I can recognize.
Micah Bucey