A Favorite Prayer

Joan Chittister was one of nearly a hundred prominent men and women from every religious tradition and region to share a favorite prayer and reflect on its meaning for the recently published “A World of Prayer.”
Prayer for Dialogue with Greater Religions

I bow to the one who signs the cross.
I bow to the one who sits with the Buddha.
I bow to the one who wails at the wall.
I bow to the OM flowing in the Ganges.
I bow to the one who faces Mecca,
whose forehead touches holy ground.
I bow to dervishes whirling in mystical wind.
I bow to the north,
   to the south,
   to the east,
   to the west.
I bow to the God within each heart.
I bow to epiphany,
   to God’s face revealed.
I bow. I bow. I bow. 
I chose this prayer because it points us all to the awareness that it is an enlightening excursion, this wandering into the spiritual insights of other whole cultures, other whole institutions of the spiritual life, and other whole traditions of holy ones. It depends for its fruitfulness on openness of heart and awareness of mind. But the journey is well worth the exertion it takes to see old ideas in new ways because it can bring us to the very height and depth of ourselves. It can even bring fresh hearing and new meaning to the stories that come down to us through our own tradition.

My prayer is that those who make the journey become aware of our God and our world in whole new ways, for that is the one great task of life. May the effect of saying such a prayer be an enlightening one. May it awaken in you that which is far deeper than fact, truer than thought, and full of faith. May it remind us all that in every human event and culture and history and revelation is a particle of the Divine to which we turn for meaning in this life, to which we tend for fullness of life hereafter.

–From A World of Prayer: Spiritual Leaders, Activists, and Humanitarians Share their Favorite Prayers, Rosalind Bradley, ed. (Orbis) 


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