I was at a funeral and encountered the following prayer which I found inspiring.
It was written by Walter Rauschenbusch. He’s been called the ‘Father of the Social Gospel Movement.” He realized that the church must address not only people’s spiritual needs, but also their physical needs. He worked to do this not only by helping suffering individuals, but also by working for social change that would give people the opportunity to escape their poverty. He has been called one of the most influential American religious leaders of the 20th century.
This prayer is from his 1909 book, For God and the People: Prayers of the Social Awakening.
O God, we thank you for this universe, our great home; for its vastness and its riches, and for the abundance of the life which teems upon it and of which we are part.
We praise thee for the arching sky and the blessed winds, for the driving clouds and the stars on high. We praise thee for the salt sea and the running water, for the everlasting hills, for the trees, and for the grass under our feet. We thank you for our senses by which we can see the splendor of the morning, hear the jubilant songs of love, and smell the breath of the springtime.
Grant us, we pray, a heart wide open to all this joy and beauty. Save our souls from being so steeped in care or so darkened by passion that we pass heedless and unseeing when even the thorn bush by the wayside is aflame with the glory of God.