Interfaith Prayers for Environmental Peace

Native American – Chief Seattle
Teach your children what we have taught our children – that the earth is our mother.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
This we know.
The earth does not belong to us, we belong to the earth.
This we know.
All things are connected like the blood which unites one family.
All things are connected.
Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons and daughters of the earth.
We did not weave the web of life, We are merely a strand in it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.

Hindu – Atharva Veda XIX
Peace be to earth and to airy space!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
Peace to the plant and peace to the trees!
May all the powers grant to me peace!
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I now appease,
With this peace the cruel I now appease,
With this peace all evil I now appease,
So that peace may prevail, happiness prevail!
May everything for us be peaceful!

Buddhist – Thich Nhat Hanh
Waking up this morning, I see the blue sky
I join my hands in thanks for the many wonders of life; For having twenty-four brand new hours.
The sun is rising on the forest and so is my awareness
I walk across the field of sunflowers.
Tens of thousands of flowers waving at me,
My awareness is like the sunflower,
My hands are sowing seeds for the next harvest
My ear is hearing the sound of the rising tide on the magnificent sky
I see clouds approaching with joy from many directions.
I can see the fragrant lotus ponds of my homeland,
I can see the coconut trees along the rivers,
I can see rice fields stretch their shoulders laughing at the sun and the rain.
Mother Earth gives me coriander, basilisum, and celery
Tomorrow, the hills and mountains of the country will be green again.
Tomorrow, the buds of life will grow quickly, the folk poetry will be as sweet as the songs of children
The whole family of humans will sing together with me in my work.

How wonderful, O Lord, are the works of your hands!
The heavens declare Your glory,
the arch of sky displays Your handiwork
In Your love You have given us the power.
to behold the beauty of Your world
robed in all its splendor.
The son and the stars, the valleys and hills,
the rivers and lakes all disclose Your presence.
The roaring breakers of the sea tell of Your awesome might,
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
bespeak Your wondrous will.
In Your goodness You have made us able to hear
the music of the world. The voices of loved ones
reveal to us that You are in our midst.
A divine voice sings through all creation.

Christian – Pope Francis
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists. Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creature as we journey towards your infinite light. We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace. Amen.

In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God, most gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say “PEACE.”

God adjudges us according to our deeds,
not the coat that we wear:
that truth is above everything,
but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attain God when we love,
and only that victory endures
with consequences where no one is defeated.

These prayers were read at the Interfaith Service for Environmental Peace on September 12, 2019 at Scarritt Bennett Center. This service is co-sponsored by United Religions Initiative Nashville Cooperation Circle.

Joyce D. Sohl, Laywoman-in-Residence


Joyce D. Sohl has been Laywoman-in-Residence since 2009 as a full-time volunteer. She retired as CEO of United Methodist Women in 2004. She is the author of 4 books, a teacher, retreat leader, writer and non-professional musician. Here at the Center her work is in the area of Spirituality & the Arts with such programs as Tuesdays in the Chapel, Vespers & All That Jazz, Poet’s Corner, quarterly retreats, and art exhibits.

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