Spiritual Strength to Move Forward Past Election Day

20 Multifaith Prayers and Meditations for Nov. 9 and Beyond

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  1. In the wake of an often divisive election season, Voices asked leaders of faith and moral courage to offer prayers and meditations of hope and healing. May these words give you encouragement and strength for the critical work of doing justice and loving one another in the days, weeks, months and years to come.
  2. "Our nation has endured a particularly difficult time. And although we now see light before us, let us remember that healing is not instantaneous. Healing is a process that we must all undergo together. We share a collective goal, and therefore, we must go through the healing process together.

    Let us be patient so that we can commit to the long process of justice. Let us have the strength to withstand the forces out there that seek to divide us. And let us have the clarity and wisdom to recognize that coming together is our only way forward."

    -Simran Jeet Singh
  3. "As we ache, bruised and weary from this painful campaign season, may we come to know our need for reconciliation. But, healing is beyond our individual efforts. Let us turn to the Spirit that hovers over the chaos and draws out meaning. Let us turn to the Spirit of insight and wisdom who can deepen our understanding. Let us turn to the Spirit of the fire of love that can purify us. O Spirit, draw us together as one people, one nation. Flame up in us so that we might be able to mend gaps, bridge divides and work together for the common good."

    -Sister Simone Campbell
  4. "In one of the most frightened, constricted periods of my life, the world once again opened up for me when I remembered the line from Rilke’s Letters To a Young Poet: 'You must think that life has not forgotten you.' Life has forgotten none of us — somehow we all belong in the vast, intricate, interconnected space of this moment. My wish, and repeated reflection, is that we seek to recognize ourselves in one another, and even as we fight for our principles and seek to end suffering the best ways we know how, we also seek to end hatred and alienation. The meditation I would offer, which I do everyday, is 'May all find the love in their hearts. May all know peace.’ And when all the exceptions start coming up in my mind, seeing what it’s like to say, 'Ok, maybe them too.'"

    -Sharon Salzberg
  5. "Dear God,

    We are going to have to love. No matter what. Love like you taught us to. Love the stranger as though they are family. Thirty-six times you’ve urged your people. Love the stranger. Because we were once strangers. Rabbi Jesus said to love you with all me have—heart, soul, mind, strength; then love the stranger. Love the strange neighbor, the estranged neighbor. Love them even more than family. Love them like they are who we are , like they are part of us.

    The Rabbi’s say that loving the stranger means that when the stranger’s cow wanders into your yard, you feed it, water it, care for it—until the stranger returns.

    Even if your neighbor is strange; even if you are estranged from your neighbor, you care for their cow. Their livelihood. Their kids. Their old people. Their land. Their life.

    We are going to have to love, God, like the rabbis say. On Wednesday, on Thursday—every day, we are going to have to love our strange neighbors if we are going to survive. And thrive.

    Dear God, help us to love.

    Amen."

    -The Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis
  6. Lord of the whole cosmos:
    Have mercy on this wounded nation.
    Help us heal the wounds that we have inflicted upon one another.
    Let us strive to have our loyalty not to any one party, candidate, nation, race, or creed, but only to justice.
    Justice, and only justice, we are to seek.
    Let your love overflow.
    Let love move into the public spaces until we see it as justice.
    Let us work for a more perfect union, one built on establishing justice.
    May your peace, rooted in love and justice, be at the heart of our fragile nation and wound.

    -Dr. Omid Safi
  7. I have faith but not in politicians, and I voted anyway. I voted cynicism out and love in. This election is not a game. Neither is it life or death. It is, simply, our chance to choose the leaders who will govern, for a while. Generations before us also fought in nasty elections, and afterwards repaired the breaches of society. We will do the same. If voting is our right, active citizenship is our duty: the duty to remind the elected of what kind of society we want, every day. No matter who sits in the capital, we the people are the most powerful force in America.

    -Rabbi Justus Baird
  8. Today the sun will rise from the deepest darkness,
    just as it always has, just as it will tomorrow, and the next day.
    May you, too, rise, no matter if the structure that houses you has fallen,
    no matter the fracture of your heart.
    And when your world is shaken by all it has seen,
    may peace come like an old friend that has not forgotten you.
    May love come like a flood to protect you, wash you, keep you.
    May you rise and dance, sweet friend. Rise and lift one weary hand to the sky.
    The wind outside is waiting for your dear heart to meet it.

    -Sabrina Hayeem-Ladani
  9. In Buddhist teachings, metta, loving-kindness or friendliness, is an indispensable quality of heart/mind. In these troubling times, we can develop metta—cherishing all beings, without discrimination, radiating kindness over the entire world. This arises from the wisdom and compassion that every human being is subject to the vicissitudes of being alive in a tender physical body on this small rock of a planet on which we are interdependent. Despite political, religious or philosophical differences, kind connection with each other is crucial to our communal well being and healing. It is possible to cultivate a patient, generous and compassionate heart.

    -Gina Sharpe
  10. I have often heard it said that our commitments to justice and the integrity of all people — love — should never hinge on our decision as to who occupies the White House. Instead, such commitments are dependent upon the willingness and commitment of all people to be engaged and live our lives in ways that hold fast to the core value of love. Core to that is our unwavering belief that living our lives shaped by fear does not help anyone, only love allows us all the be free.

    -Rev. John Vaughn
  11. Water cleanses, refreshes, renews. It also floods, overwhelms, submerges. The substance on which life itself is based can itself end life. So too is it with politics in our society. It is our lifeblood as a democracy. It is emblematic of our collective strength. It is the summation and interweaving of hopes, visions, and dreams — or, as it felt this year, the clash of brutally competing narratives. May the inner strength of our humanity and the ordering Force of our world enable us to reemerge from the depths to which politics has taken us. May they inspire us to rejuvenate the democratic system that, when cultivated, unleashes our sacred human potential in torrents of good.

    -Rabbi Joshua Stanton
  12. This election season has been dark — but today let us turn the darkness of the tomb into the darkness of the womb. Let us end a season of relentless pain and violence. Let us harness love to birth forth new possibilities. And let us believe again in one another, in America, in the dream that has yet to be — for the poor white worker, the black mother, the Muslim father, the Sikh daughter, the trans son; for our ancestors and the next generation, let us renew our oath to fight for a more just world with #RevolutionaryLove.

    -Valarie Kaur
  13. As we approach November 8th and the days following we pray for calm, for trust in our democratic process and principles and for reknitting the peoples of our nation.

    We live in two Americas – one that functions and one that does not; one that benefits from the economy and one that does not; one where opportunity and hope sustain young and old and one where closed doors and despair is the experience of whole communities.

    As we seek to listen, to understand and to heal may we reclaim the right to the pursuit of happiness for all people, which is the vision of a just and free society and marks us at our best.

    -Rev. Thomas H. Yorty
  14. Because diversity is not just about the differences we like, I pray that in the coming years Americans recognize that they can disagree on some fundamental things while working together on others.

    -Dr. Eboo Patel
  15. As I cast my vote, I am grateful for the opportunity to add my voice to the collective conversation that will determine the direction of our country. I stand today holding great concerns. I am concerned for myself, my family, our future, for our freedom, our sustenance, our security.

    Holy One, please help me widen my gaze. Help me remember that the strength of our society is rooted in our ability to live beyond the narrowness of our individual concerns; that we must ensure the dignity and rights of our rich and complex citizenry, with its vastly diverse needs;that we are called in particular to stand with and for those who are demeaned or threatened on the basis of gender, religion, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, economic status or ability; that each of us is responsible for all of us.

    Holy One, please help me lift my gaze. Help me remember that hope is the greatest act of defiance to a politics of pessimism and a culture of despair; that change only happens when we look beyond what is and dream of what could be; that we as a nation are better than we have been throughout this election;that we can heal, but only if we lead with love.

    MAY IT BE YOUR WILL, as I cast my vote, that I am found worthy of this privilege and this sacred responsibility.

    -Rabbi Sharon Brous & Rabbi Ronit Tsadok
  16. In the Confessions, Augustine pleads with God, "The house of my soul is too small for you to come to it. May it be enlarged by you. It is in ruins: Restore it."

    This is my prayer post this traumatic election. May our collective souls be enlarged so that God may come in and restore us. We have fallen into ruin. We have denied each other's humanity. We have been willing to contemplate walls to separate us from each other. We have forgotten what it means to love our neighbor. We have caused unspeakable harm.

    May we in the months ahead turn to God to enlarge our hearts and restore us from the ruins of this election.

    -Dr. Sharon Groves
  17. God, I know that I don’t have to get angry. I don’t have to get depressed. And I don't have to throw anything at the TV. I just have to use my conscience and vote. So help me remember the least among us, and help me see clearly how to vote for the good of all. God, I know that no candidate is perfect. So free me of the burden of having to vote for someone who satisfies all my desires for a candidate. My candidate will be imperfect, just like me. Most of all, help me, and our country, come to a wise decision.

    Amen.

    -Rev. James Martin, SJ
  18. Help me Lord, in these crucial days for our nation, to hold close both a prophetic witness to what is right and just and worthy; with a suspicion of my own righteousness and pious Forgive me, Lord, for my distrust and disgust for those who disagree with me that pollutes my soul and distorts my wagging tongue. Place me Lord, in solidarity with those who have suffered and continue to suffer and make me a servant for the deep work of equality and dignity of all your people. Make me whole, repentant and redeemed, so that I might empty myself enough to be filled with your spirit to do the work of healing and justice in your world. Amen.

    Our neighbor Fred Rogers, Presbyterian minister, on three ways to ultimate success:
    The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.
    In these days after the most turbulent election in most of our memories, what is ultimate success for you? Where and when will come your chance to be kind? Whether your candidate won or lost, how can you be kind to others and yourself? Whether our candidate won or lost, it is likely we all fear for the future.
    The future depends upon our being kind.

    -Rev. Janet Edwards, Ph.D.
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