Those of us in ministry are often in search of opening prayers for beginning a meeting or event. Here are four recommendations from the Lifelong Learning team. Do you have a favorite opening prayer? Send us an email and we’ll consider adding it to the post!
Four Opening Prayers
Come Into This Place
Come in. Come into this place which we make holy by our presence.
Come in with all your vulnerabilities and strengths, fears and anxieties, loves and hopes. For here you need not hide, nor pretend, nor be anything other than who you are and are called to be.
Come into this place where we can touch and be touched, heal and be healed, forgive and be forgiven.
Come into this place, where the ordinary is sanctified, the human is celebrated, the compassionate is expected.
Come into this place. Together we make it a holy place.
~By Rebecca A Edmiston-Lange, from Unitarian Universalist Association
Editor’s Note: This prayer comes from the Unitarian Universalist tradition and may not be a good fit for all contexts. Specifically, the language around making a place “holy by our presence” may conflict with the theological perspective that God alone sanctifies.
Help Me Listen
O Holy One, I hear and say so many words, yet yours is the word I need. Speak now, and help me listen; and if what I hear is silence, let it quiet me, let it disturb me, let it touch my need, let it break my pride, let it shrink my certainties, let it enlarge my wonder. Amen.
~From Guerrillas of Grace: Prayers for the Battle by Ted Loder
In the Morning
This is another day, O Lord. I know not what it will bring forth, but make me ready, Lord, for whatever it may be. If I am to stand up, help me to stand bravely. If I am to sit still, help me to sit quietly. If I am to lie low, help me to do it patiently. And if I am to do nothing, let me do it gallantly. Make these words more than words, and give me the Spirit of Jesus. Amen.
~From the Book of Common Prayer, p. 461
Our Space Together
There is no such thing as a “safe space” —
We exist in the real world.
We all carry scars and have caused wounds.
seeks to turn down the volume of the world outside,
and amplify voices that have to fight to be heard elsewhere,
This space will not be perfect.
It will not always be what we wish it to be
It will be our space together,
and we will work on it side by side.
~Untitled Poem by Beth Strano
Editor’s Note: Beth Strano, “Untitled,” was posted to Facebook June 25, 2021. There is another version of this poem attributed to Mickey ScottBey Jones. Jones’ version was plagiarized. Please use Strano’s version (above).
Other Sources for Opening Prayers
- An Iona Prayer Book by Peter Millar
- Black Liturgies by Cole Arthur Riley
- Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals by Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro *This prayer book contains a unique liturgy for every day of the calendar year as well as a liturgy for Midday Prayer that could be used to start a meeting. Resources are also available on the website.
- Daily Prayer with the Corrymeela Community by Pádraig Ó Tuama
- “For Work” and “For One Who Holds Power” both found inTo Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings by John O’Donohue
- Guide My Feet: Prayers and Meditations on Loving and Working for Children by Marian Wright Edelman
- Prayers from Terry (Instagram)
- Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day by Macrina Wiederkehr
- Unfolding Light by Steve Garnaas-Holmes *Website offers daily reflections rooted in a contemplative, Creation-centered, justice-oriented spirituality.
- Prayers and Thanksgivings from the Book of Common Prayer online
Praying the Liturgical Seasons
- Mystery Without Rhyme or Reason: Poetic Reflections on the Revised Common Lectionary by Michael Coffey *Brief reflections on the lectionary texts in the form of poetry. Includes most, but not all Sundays and Holy Days.
- The Painted Prayerbook (website) or Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons by Jan Richardson