An Interfaith Prayer Service
and Essays on Ecumenism
by Susan Helene Kramer
Introduction -Some Definitions of Ecumenical
1. Religion and Spirituality
3. Part of the One; One of the Parts
4. An Ecumenical Prayer Service
Some Definitions of Ecumenical
Accepting diversity without adversity in spiritual life, practices, beliefs.
Cooperation between religions for the common good of all.
Respecting others' right to religious freedom.
Practicing one's own religion while learning about other religions.
people can be practicing 10 different religions
yet share the same spiritual experiences and understandings
Religion, with its guidelines and rituals, provides form and format for living a spiritual life; the practices act as aids to reach the goal of living a spiritual life spontaneously.
What is spirituality? An underlying basis of pure unconditional love, arising in format of caring acts.
Pure unconditional love is the spiritual basis of religion. It is when we act with caring love - unconditional love at all times - that we feel joy and peace. Symptoms of joy and peace are an energized body and harmonious thinking.
Religious tools are the means by which we dig into the depths of our mind and soul through devotional and service-full practices, nurturing our character into a full-blown flower of wisdom.
A spiritual life is a most practical life. A practical life, because acting from an energized body with harmonious thinking reaps results for our good and the common good most efficiently, most easily. And isn't what is done for the highest good, the most efficiently, the most practical approach?
Religions may seem to have many differences at first glance but the common goal is spiritual enlightenment. Our upbringing, culture, personal tendencies may draw those 10 people in a room to 10 different religions but the goal of each person is joy in living by the easiest route.
Spiritual practices common to many religions:
1. A form of supplication, prayer for intercession;
2. A time of listening quietly for the answer in reflection, meditation;
3. An interval for giving thanks, appreciation for new insight;
4. A time for action; action in the world based on new insight.
The church or temple or mosque or hut or cave or quiet corner of a room or stillness alone at night provide a setting for soul searching. And action on insight is accomplished for all, universally, in daily living.
Religion in its meaning of re-alignment leads
us to realign with our beautiful, radiant and spiritual selves, that we may
most happily and harmoniously lead fulfilling daily lives - spiritual lives.
practices awaken a sleeping heart
when energized with dedication
Life itself becoming a prayer
when lived lovingly
Giving thanks, being devotional, becomes a life-long habit when begun early.
Giving thanks can be in the form of prayers or devotions from religion, leading to uplifting thoughts arising spontaneously at any time.
Prayers and devotions can generate feelings of appreciation.
When we are devoted to our religious practices the rewards show in our daily life as increased clarity of mind springing from the awakening of a pure heart of love - love developing from dedication and self-giving of our time and energy to even thoughts of love preceding acts of love.
When we feel appreciative we are feeling happy and peaceful in that moment. In times of stress, taking time to remember one thing we do have, with appreciation, helps us see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Daily life has moments of ups and downs; the downs more easily transformed into sweetness by an appreciation, uplifting verse or thankful thought.
to religious practices of our choice
a way to open our heart, our lives
to love's inception, reception
creating an easy mind
to most easily act for the highest resolve
of the issues in our lives
of the One; one of the parts
While living a practical life in this world
I participate in the world making daily decisions and doing my own activities.
All the while I know that on the unseen levels I am part of all, part of the One, and all and the One are part of me.
How does this idea take form?
While conscious that I am an integral part of the web of existence, I use my thinking mind to carry out my daily existence and do the activities that give me the most joy; choosing to act for the greatest good of each situation and taking responsibility for my actions.
I enjoy feeling interconnected with each aspect of creation in the world, feeling on the unseen levels actually part of all. Spiritually I do not feel separate from any aspect of creation, though my physical body and thinking mind seem separate.
While I have a separate body and thinking mind I use it to share my acquired insights and knowledge; living a practical useful life. Even a person living on the planet in an enlightened state of consciousness is still carrying a physical body and has a thinking mind to be used in the highest service at all times and takes responsibility for actions even more than before enlightenment, as now there is not the excuse of being a learner, only. In an ecumenical light the examples of recognized enlightened beings from history can be our examples: Jesus Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, Master Sivananda of Rishikesh to name just a few.
Yes, we are part of the One and the One is part of each of us. While living in our body we honor the pervading Spirit by being a comfort to all; by being good, doing good, being responsible citizens of the world.
the many paths that lead
To the same joyful goal
As part of the One; one of the parts
Living a practical life in this world
the light of wisdom
Enlighten us all
Clergy of various faiths participate with the focus on the 'spiritual light' that enlightens all; promoting peace within each, and by caring, loving thoughts and acts, a growing world peace.
The meaning of the word enlighten is to be spiritually 'in light'.
With this in mind, a central symbol of worship could be a candle that is placed at the center of a table at the front; lit before the ceremony.
A moderator presides at the side front that lets the congregation know what is coming next and to introduce the participants.
Distribute the program of events to the congregation. Include the text of prayers offered by each clergy, and words to the songs to be sung by all. Congregation to take their copy home.
The congregation first take their seats. Moderator stands at side front.
The representatives of each faith enter from the back in a procession while uplifting music is played or sung, each holding an unlit candle, and one at a time approach the central lit candle lighting their own candle, and then placing it in a holder next to the main candle. Each clergy remains standing in front of their candle facing the congregation.
In turn, clergy offer a prayer from their own religious tradition that is universal in nature. When all clergy have concluded their opening prayer, the clergy are seated along the front row.
The moderator announces that a minute of silence will begin.
Next, offerings are made at the front of the room, of inspiring song or dance from each faith, or in honor of each faith.
After the offerings of singing or dancing, each clergy in turn comes forward, facing the congregation, and offers a short homily (time allotment preset) along universal lines, and returns to their seat.
At the end of the short homilies, the entire congregation, led by the moderator, recites a universal prayer for peace. An uplifting song is sung by all as the clergy leave in a recessional.
Example of a prayer for peace:
A Prayer of St. Francis
make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred... let me sow love.
Where there is injury... pardon.
Where there is discord... unity.
Where there is doubt... faith.
Where there is error...truth.
Where there is despair... hope.
Where there is sadness... joy.
Where there is darkness.. light.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek.
To be consoled...as to console.
To be understood.. as to understand.
To be loved... as to love.
It is in giving... that we receive.
It is in pardoning... that we are pardoned.
It is in dying... that we are born to eternal life.
Recessional song idea:
Let There Be Peace on Earth
There Be Peace on Earth and let it begin with me.
Let There Be Peace on Earth, the peace that was meant to be!
With God as our Father, brothers all are we.
Let me walk with my brother in perfect harmony.
peace begin with me. Let this be the moment now.
With ev'ry breath I take, let this be my solemn vow;
To take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally!
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me!"
-- Written by Sy Miller and Bill Jackson
Modify the basic ceremony format to suit the situation.
One modification could be that each member of
the congregation receives a small candle with a paper shield near the base along
with their program. At the end of the homilies, the person seated nearest the
center isle goes up and lights their candle from the main candle and returns to
their seat and passes their light, candle to candle, down the row. When all
candles in the congregation are lit this way the recessional takes place
singing the uplifting song.
Susan Helene Kramer is an international
author of more than fifty collections and thousands of articles on philosophy,
yoga, rhythmic dance, ballet, music, social issues, relationships, practical
spirituality, and meditation for children, teens, adults and those challenged,
with some Dutch, French, German, Greek, and Spanish translations, and with her
husband, Stan Schaap- http://www.powertoshare.com lives in
North Holland, The Netherlands.
text copyright 2002-2013 Susan Helene Kramer
photo by Stan Schaap
Santa Barbara, California USA
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Book by Susan Helene Kramer:
Forge a strong union with the Holy Spirit through the reflective meditation instruction given to use with the more than 100 spiritual topics and subtopics. The topics include personal development, relationship issues, and finding the joy of our Creator Sustainer through direct communion with the Voice of God, the Holy Spirit. Read the topics sequentially or at random. The book is an ecumenical approach to be inspiring and uplifting to everyone. This is a read that can be approached on your search for unspoken communion with God by using the meditation format laid out, or as a course of lessons in personal development on the pathway to self-realization. Table of Contents
God Speaks Through the Holy Spirit - Reflective Meditations by Susan
198 pages; 6 by 9 inch perfect bound paperback; or ebooks as listed
Links to Buy: PDF Ebook | EPUB | Paperback | B&N NOOK eBook | Mac Users
1. Autobiography of a Yogi by
Paramahansa Yogananda: book online
2. Christian Classics Ethereal Library: literature
4. Deepak Chopra: inspirations, workshops
5. Ecumenical Peace Prayers
6. Integral Yoga Teachers: worldwide directory
7. The Path by J. Donald Walters, Swami Kriyananda: book online
8. Satchidananda Ashram: interfaith philosophy - LOTUS, classes and programs
9. Self Realization Fellowship: programs
10. Master Sivananda of Rishikesh: books online
11. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: translations by various people in many languages
12. Swami Ramananda: links to articles online
page first published July 14,
2002; updated October 25, 2013