• Elizabeth Kelch
  • Everybody Prays A collection for young people and their grownups
Everybody Prays A collection for young people and their grownups



A long time ago, people wanted to talk to God (or whatever they called them), as much as we do now. People felt comfort in knowing there is more out there. People wanted to tell all their worries and ask for help with handling those worries. People wanted to tell about how they were grateful for what they had, in hopes it might continue.

I sometimes feel a bit silly using words talk to God, because I’m sure they are well aware of anything in my thoughts. But I’ve learned prayers are meditative, and I’ve come to think about how the beauty in poetic words slows me down and give me time to appreciate things, time to remember how grateful I am.

And all across the world, in all the different cultures, people have used poems to God to remember their gratitude.

This collection is about how all different people, throughout all different times and places pray for a lot of the same things. It’s about celebrating how different we all are and how alike we all are. The poems and prayers here are the basic ideas and views of the world’s top twenty most practiced religions, in the words of prayers practitioners might say.

Understanding other kids and adults helps us see how alike we all are and be grateful for all of them.


Unitarian Universalist


Mother Nature and Father Sky,

By all the names people call you, Your energy is the root of all.

Without you, we can’t be all we are.

Help me be caring and considerate in all I do and think.

Remind me of how much my caring and consideration for other bring me happiness.

Mother Nature and Father Sky,

Give me strength to care for all you and all you handiwork.

Help me to be grateful for you as I move through my day.

~ Inspiration from Unitarian Universalism



Neo Pagan



The God and Goddess, Horned God and Triple Moon Goddess

Witches we be and the energy of the Divine lives in all things

The creation is manifested by the elements of earth, air, fire and water.


Evil is born of our choice.

Let us choose the right way

The Rede tells us do as ye will, so long as it harm none.

~ Inspiration from Wicca




May everyone find the greatest yearnings of humanity.

The wisdom of nature is beyond what we can insight.

All of us desire to be fully creative in our lives, to commune deeply with the world of Nature, and to gain access to a source of profound wisdom.

Honor the Three Realms; Earth, Sea, and Sky

Call to the Three Kindreds:, Ancestors, Gods, and Nature

Respect the Three Hallows; Fire, Well and Tree

The three goals are wisdom, creativity and love

The differences nature creates in all of us, make all of us strong together

Nature is sacred.

~ Inspiration from Druidry




Odin, Loki, Freya and Thor, guide me to learn the nine noble virtues.

Show me the consequences of lacking virtue, so I may learn and use them in my activities every day.

Through hard stuff, may I learn courage. Even when I’m afraid.

When there are falsehoods, may I use truth. Even when it’s hard.

When I see disrespect, may I learn honor, and honor myself with love.

When friends need me, may I be faithful and loyal. And may I give my fidelity wisely.

May mastery show me what I can do when I’m disciplined.

When someone’s feeling alone or left out, may I show them hospitality. Treat others the way you would like to be treated.

When there’s work to do, may I be industrious. In all I do, may I do it my best.

Resourcefulness will give me self-reliance. I’ll do what you can for yourself.

Determination when I’m struggling will teach me perseverance. Failing is ok, if I learn from it. People who fail and get past their failure are the ones who really succeed in life.

Courage, Truth, Honor, Fidelity, Discipline, Hospitality, Industry, Self-Reliance, and Perseverance are the virtues that will lead me to be my best person.

~ Inspiration from Asatru and Norse ways




May we all teach the Joyous Life, showing the whole world my best self.

May we all promote the Joyous Life, help the whole world to be their best self.

And growing joy through acts of charity and mindfulness.

~ Inspiration from Tenrikyo


The purpose of creation was for humanity to live the Joyous Life, a life where everyone in the world lives in harmonious existence, helping and respecting one another.

God is the “Parent” of all human beings. All human beings are children of Oyasama (Japanese for God the parent). Therefore, all human beings are brothers and sisters.

All of you throughout the world are brothers and sisters. There should be no one called an outsider.

Ofudesaki 13:043–4




Good Thoughts

Good Words

Good Deeds


In the name of Ahura Mazda, giver of all good things, the generous spirited, and loving. Here we revere Ahura Mazda, who created the animals and grains, who created waters and plants, who created the sky and the earth and all the good things.

~ Baj (a prayer recited before meals)


Doing the right thing is our best gift.

That is what brings us bliss and happiness.

Happy and blissful is the person who does what is right, because it is the right thing to do.

~ Ashem Vohu, Zoroastrian


The gift of the good mind leads to Ahura Mazda.

Ahura Mazda gives authority to the one who protects the oppressed.

Yatha ahu vairyo

~Composed by Asho Zarathushtra


Coa Dai


We set the altar with fruit and flowers, arranged as offerings, along with a glass of wine, incense, candles and a light.

One God is of all and all ways share one truth.

We all exist in the world and pass among heaven and earth.

God is forever with us and in all lives of all.

The bond of connection between all things, plants and animals alike, is with us because all things were created by the one God.

Oh Divine Eye, Eye of God, remain with us.


~ Inspiration from Coa Dai




Kami, we dwell with you, not separate from you. We exist within the same world and share its united complexity. The Way Of The Gods are our diverse beliefs and connected through practices passed down from the ancient ones. My ritual ways, carried out attentively, preserve the bond between today and the ancient ways.

Amaterasu, Sun Goddess, Ancestor To The Emperors, Dweller On Fuji, Most High, The Great Divinity Illuminating Heaven; Worship at your shrine, Ise, is the highest honor. You warmth and cycle bring life and the passage of time.

Inari, Producer Of Rice, God Of Rice, The Protector Of Food, And Bringer Of Prosperity; You bring us the food of our ancestors. You are a solver of problems. Your wise ways bring us success.

Watatsumi, Protector, Guardian, And Patron of the Sea; You bring the waters with power to give life or take it.

Kami, spiritual powers in the natural world in all things, rocks, trees, rivers, animals, objects, places, and people. All the old ideas and traditions are in the shrines, devoted to your worship are to honor you.

All Kami, the multitude of spirits, essences and gods are suited each of your purposes and organizations. As I treat the Kami properly, they will bring benefits like health, business success and good exam results.


~ Inspiration from Shinto




May I be nonviolent in all I think, do or say.

Our ancient ancestor Mahavira taught us the universe is without beginning or end and we are part of the cycle of birth and rebirth.

Release from this cycle is moksha, and we achieve it through doing no harm in all we think, do or say.

Those who achieve moksha during their life, jinas (those who overcome),

We call ourselves Jains as we all hope to become jinas.


~ Inspiration from Jainism



O God, guide me, protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá [4]

O Thou peerless Lord! Let this suckling babe be nursed from the breast of Thy loving-kindness, guard it within the cradle of Thy safety and protection and grant that it be reared in the arms of Thy tender affection.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá [5]

O God! Rear this little babe in the bosom of Thy love, and give it milk from the breast of Thy Providence. Cultivate this fresh plant in the rose-garden of Thy love and aid it to grow through the showers of Thy bounty. Make it a child of the Kingdom and lead it to Thy heavenly realm. Thou art powerful and kind, and Thou art the Bestower, the Generous, the Lord of surpassing bounty.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá [6]

O Lord! I am a child; enable me to grow beneath the shadow of Thy loving-kindness. I am a tender plant; cause me to be nurtured through the outpourings of the clouds of Thy bounty. I am a sapling of the garden of love; make me into a fruitful tree.

Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, and Thou art the All-Loving, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá [7]



Be who you are

and may you be blessed

in all that you are.

~Jewish blessing


Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings sleep to my eyes, slumber to my eyelids. May it be Your will. Lord my God and God of my ancestors, that I lie down in peace and that I arise in peace. Let my sleep be undisturbed by troubling thoughts, bad dreams, and wicked schemes. May I have a night of tranquil slumber. May I awaken to the light of a new day, that my eyes may behold the splendor of Your light. Praised are You, Lord whose glory gives light to the entire world.

~Sh’ma, Tradition from the Judaism




The Spirit has communicated with many Prophets, Sages, and Seers throughout history, many whose names we know and many whose names we do not know. We have fostered our own individual ability to learn the law of God. Once we needed help from those who could read the words of the law of God, written by those who it had been revealed to and wrote it down. We have learned to read the word of God and can now read it for ourselves.

We live our many lifetimes, on this planet and others, and read the diverse communications from God to guide our lives. As we complete our activities here in this life, we go to the Astral World to await our next incarnation, whatever form it will take.

Whatever energy we plant, so is the energy we shall harvest. The law of karma is operative upon all things. The intelligent force that is God is throughout the cosmos, and expresses itself with a light and a dark side.

~ Inspiration from Spiritism




North Korea must remain separate and distinct from the world, dependent solely on its own strength and the guidance of Our Dear Leader

At a meal:

Bow toward the portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on every living room wall and public space

We thank the Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jung Un for providing the food we eat today, and we vow to show our gratitude by exerting maximum effort under his wise leadership to build a socialist paradise in this land of ours.

At a funeral:

After bowing toward portraits of the two Kims

His body may be gone, but his revolutionary spirit lives on under the wise guidance of the Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong Un.

At a wedding:

A marriage is registered and the bride and groom go to an outdoor status of Kim Il Sung and, as they bow together that statue

We vow to encourage each other to exert utmost effort to realize the goals of our revolution, following the wise guidance of the Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong Un.

~ Inspiration from Juche




We have grown weary of wandering to the four corners of the earth and in the 10 directions. We have come to your sanctuary, God. Without milk, cow serves no purpose. Without water, the crop weather’s, and it will not bring a good price. If we do not meet the Lord, our friend, how can we find our place of rest? Those who have found God, blessed is they are coming into this world.

~ Barah Maha, composed by the Sikh Gurus and translates as the "Twelve Months"


In this world, earn the prophet of the Lord’s name and thereafter you shall dwell in peace.

This world is engrossing in corruption and cynicism; only those who know God are saved.

Only those who are weakened by the Lord to drink in this Sublime Essence come to know the Unspoken Speech of the Lord.

O Primal Being, Architect Of The Destiny: please fulfill this yearning of my mind; consign me not again to the wheel of reincarnation.

~ Kirtan Sohilaa, translates as The Song Of Praise, Sikh


African Traditionals 


My little peacock

unfold your wings

soar up, my Eagle

get me medicine

get me fruit

little bird, I love you.

~ Traditional Swahili


Oludumare, oh Divine One! I give thanks

to You, the one who is as near as my

heartbeat, and more anticipated than my

next breath. Let Your wisdom become one

with this vessel as I lift my voice in

thanks for Your love.

~Traditional Yoruban


Chukwu, Nyame, Olodumare, Ngai, Roog, and God and Goddess Mawu-Lisa, and all names for the Supreme God.

Spirits and ancestors, arbitrate on our behalf to the Supreme Deity.

Natural wonders, provide the people with their daily needs.

May the Sunshine, thunder, lightning, rain, day, moon, sun, stars, become agreeable.

By the sacred star, Yoonir, may the Saltigue predict good winter months and guide farmers to start planting.

May Ngai speak to me and guide me to be the virtuous person, and do the bidding of God, and not malevolent spirits.

The Jackel, skillful and cunning

The Hyena, sneaky and deceptive

The strength of the lion and the elephant

The turtle, who beats his foes with patience and strong will.

May these animals use each of their best, to teach me wise ways.

~Inspiration from African Traditional Religions


Primal Indigenous


As morning approaches, we face East to welcome the sun and greet the new day.

The cool air and the lightening blue of the sky invite us to pray as the sun warms us with the pink-purple-blue glow of the sun rising from eastern sphere.

Our place, blessed with burning of sage, we call forth in gratitude for a night of sleep and refreshment, then turn our focus to asking The Holy People’s blessing on us and our day ahead.

Shower corn pollen on our heads for wisdom and Scatter it in front of us to guide us on our path.

Quiet time to watch as the sun burst forth over the mountains and fill the earth with its light & warmth.

We ask The Holy People for strength to slow down and be present to in every moment.

Carry the explorer into the existence of the incoming day with open mind and open heart.


~Inspiration from Dine (Navajo) Tradition and Thina Many Goats




May you be filled with loving kindness.

May you be well.

May you be peaceful and at ease.

May you be happy.

~ Traditional Buddhist


May all beings have happiness and the causes of happiness;

May all be free from sorrow and the causes of sorrow;

May all never be separated from the sacred happiness which is sorrowless;

and may all live in equanimity, without too much attainment and too much aversion

and live believing in the equality of all things that live.

~Traditional Buddhist


Chinese Traditional religion


I petition the array of gods and immortals for our health, wealth, and wisdom.

May I know the order of the universe, the polarity of the yin and yang, act and responsiveness, and sustain balance through the relationship of growth and waning. In Ling we know the "intermediate" of the two states and the emerging order of creation.

May I know Tian, Heaven, the sublime source of moral meaning.

May I know Qi, the breath of the world, the energy that animates all.

May I know Jingzu, the respect and honor of ancestors.

May I know Bao ying, the moral balance among fate and meaning: between ming yun, the personal destiny or burgeoning; and yuan fen, "fateful coincidence", between good and bad chances and potential relationships.

Our rituals honor the families, help them in the other world, or seek our help and guidance from the ancestors.

~Inspiration from Shenism of the Han Chinese




Let us together be protected and let us together be nourished by God’s blessings.

Let us together join our mental forces for the benefit of humanity.

Let our efforts at learning be luminous and filled with joy, and endowed with the force of purpose.

Let us never be poisoned with the seeds of hatred for anyone.

Let there be peace and serenity in all the three universes.

~ Sahanavavatu (Peace) Mantra from Hinduism




I welcome the utter immensity and potential of creation and cosmos. I believe life is beyond what science can yet explain, and I am part of that. I find in unity, abundance, and peace in that immensity and potential.

The universe is crazy-giant, as well as thought-provoking and fascinating. I am grateful for limitless possibilities and opportunities that endure in the human experience.

May I let myself be guided by the wisdom of the cosmos’ physics and nature.

May I open my heart and mind in the name of love, beauty, and gratitude.

May I give myself to the grace and artistry of existence.

May the beauty of life manifest through me.

~Inspiration from the nonreligious




God is Great! God is Great! God is Great! God is Great!

I bear witness that there is no god except the One God.

I bear witness that there is no god except the One God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God.

Hurry to the prayer. Hurry to the prayer.

Hurry to salvation. Hurry to salvation.

God is Great! God is Great!

There is no god except the One God.

~ The Adhan: The Islamic Call to Prayer


'Muhammad, tell me about Islam.

Islam is that you witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and you establish the prayer, and you give the alms, and you fast Ramadan, and you perform the pilgrimage to the House if you are able.

~ From the Hadith of Gabriel




Father of Light and Wisdom, thank you for giving me a mind that can know and a heart that can love. Help me to keep learning every day of my life-- no matter what the subject may be.

Encourage me when the studies are difficult and when I am tempted to give up

Enlighten me when my brain is slow and help me to grasp the truth held out to me.

Grant me the grace to put my knowledge to use in building a world of compassion for all.

~ Inspiration from Christion Prayers for Students


Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

~ Traditional Christian


Coming Together

Shakespeare wrote “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet”. God, Ahura Mazda, the Universe, a Higher Power, Allah, Joe, Shiva, Vishnu, Danu, Zeus, Odin, Earth Mother, … any name a person chooses to use; we are using a label of our own making to have something to call the power beyond us.

Respecting other’s faith is not about worrying what they choose to call God, but about understanding why they pray, and what they dream of, and their awareness of all this beyond this life.

These words the people of our world’s twenty most practiced religions might use to talk to God are for us to grow understand, which breeds respect.


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