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Secular Paths - Atheist, Agnostic, Ecelectic

The Beauty of This Path:

For me, the beauty of the Secular path is best summed up by Elizabeth Cady Stanton: "The great lesson that nature seems to teach everyone of us at all ages is self-dependence, self-protection, self-support. Alike mid the greatest triumphs and darkest tragedies of life we walk alone. In hours like these we realize the awful solitude of individual life, its pains, its penalties, its responsibilities." On the secular path - atheist, agnostic, ecelectic, etc - we rely on no one but ourselves so we can become truly independent beings.

Prayer Index: Secular Paths - Atheist (Non-Believer), Agnostic (Uncommitted), Ecelectic (Inclusionary) Prayers

Only Breath
Opening Prayer
Civil War Soldier Prayer
Cadets Prayer
Prayer for Assistance

Prayer for Abundance
On the Good Use of Sickness
Made Perfect Through Suffering
Prayer for Guidance
Prayer for Strength

Only Breath (Rumi)

Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu, Buddhist, Sufi, or Zen - Not any religion or cultural system - I am not from the East or the West, not out of the ocean or up from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not composed of elements at all. I do not exist, am not an entity in this world or the next, did not descend from Adam and Eve or any origin story.

My place is placeless, a trace of the traceless. Neither body or soul. I belong to the beloved, have seen the two worlds as one and that one call to and know, first, last, outer, inner, only that breath breathing human being.

There is a way between voice and presence where information flows. In disciplined silence it opens. With wandering talk it closes.

Opening Prayer (for the Cao Dai faith)

An ocean of suffering floods the horizon,
Whence beams yet the sun, But thankfully,
Lao Tse guides us in service to humanity,
As the three great religions have also taught,
Mainly to be benevolent of both character and deed.

Confucius has illuminated morality;
From The Buddha we've learned compassion;
The Way of Immortals urges us toward spirituality.
From one root spring three counterpart stems.
Once it is well-comprehended, We shall purify self and pray!

Prayer Attributed to a Civil War Soldier

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve,
    I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health, that I might do great things,
    I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy,
    I was given poverty, that I might be wise.
I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men,
    I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life,
    I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for-but everything I had hoped for.
    Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Prayer Attributed to Cadets

O God, our Father, Thou Searcher of menís hearts,
help us to draw near to thee,
Make us choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong,
and never be content with half a truth when a whole can be won.

Endow us with courage that scorns to compromise with vice and injustice,
and knows no fear when truth and right are in jeopardy.
Kindle our hearts in fellowship with those of a cheerful countenance,
and soften our hearts with sympathy for those who sorrow and suffer.

Help us, in our work and in our play,
to keep ourselves physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight,
that we may realize our ideals and our duty
All of which we ask in the name of the Great Friend and Master of men. Amen.

Prayer for Assistance (John Quincy Adams)

Help us, O Lord, with patient love to bear,
Each other's faults; to suffer with true meekness,
Help us each other's joys and griefs to share,
But let us turn to Thee alone in weakness.

Prayer for Abundance

My home is not so great,
But open heart I keep;
The sorrows come to me,
That they may sleep.

The little bread I have,
I share, and gladly pray:
Tomorrow may give more,
to give away.

Yet, in the dark sometimes,
The childish fear will haunt:
How long, how long:
before I die of want?

But all the bread I have,
I share, and ever say:
Tomorrow shall bring more,
to give away.

On the Good Use of Sickness (Blaise Pascal)

You gave me health that I might serve you; and so often I failed to use my good health in your service. Now you send me sickness in order to correct me.

My health was full of pride and selfish ambition when I was healthy. Now please let sickness destroy that pride and ambition.

Render me incapable of enjoying any worldly pleasures that I may take delight in you alone. Grant that I may adore you in the lonely silence of my sick bed.

And grant that, having ignored the things of the spirit when my body was vigorous, I may now enjoy spiritual sweetness as my body groans with pain.

Made Perfect Through Suffering (Samuel Johnson)

I bless thee, Lord, for sorrows sent,
To break my dream of human power;
For now my shallow cistern's spent,
I find thy founts, and thirst no more.

I take thy hand and fears grow still,
Behold thy face and doubts remove;
Who would not yield his wavering will,
To perfect Truth and boundless Love?

That Love this restless soul doth teach,
The strength of thine eternal calm;
And tune its sad and broken speech,
To join, on Earth, the angels' psalm.

Oh, be it patient in my hands,
And drawn, through each mysterious hour,
To service of thy pure commands,
The narrow way to Love and Power.

Prayer for Guidance (Attributed to John Greenleaf Whittier)

If there be some weaker one,
God give me strength to help him on;
If a blinder soul there be,
Let me guide him Nearer Thee.

Make my mortal dreams come true,
With work I fain would do;
Clothe with life the weak intent,
Let me be the thing I meant.

Let me find in Thy employ,
Peace that dearer is than joy;
Out of self to love be led,

And to heaven acclaimed;
Until all things sweet and good,
Seem my natureís habitude.

Prayer for Strength (John Greenleaf Whittier)

I know not what the future hath,
of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death,
His mercy underlies,

If my heart and flesh are weak,
To bare an untried pain,
The reed he will not break,
But strengthen and sustain,

No offering of my own I have,
Nor works my faith to prove,
I can but give the gifts I have,
And plead for love,

And so beside the silent sea,
I wait the muffled oar,
No harm from him can come to me,
On ocean or on shore,

I know not where his islands lift,
Their fronded palms in air,
I only know I cannot drift,
Beyond his love and care.



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