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The Good Road and the Road of Difficulties

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Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey! Hey-a-a-hey!

Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth
and lean to hear my feeble voice.
You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer.
All things belong to you – the two-leggeds,
the four-leggeds, the wings of the air
and all green things that live.
You have set the powers of the four quarters
to cross each other.
The good road and road of difficulties
you have made to cross;
and where they cross, the place is holy.
Day in and day out, forever, you are the life of things.

Therefore I am sending a voice, Great Spirit,
my Grandfather, forgetting nothing you have made, the stars of the universe
and the grasses of the earth.

You have said to me,
when I was still young and could hope,
that in difficulty I should send a voice four times,
once for each quarter of the earth,
and you would hear me.

Today I send a voice for a people in despair.

You have given me a sacred pipe,
and through this I should make my offering.
You see it now.

From the west, you have given me the cup
of living water and the sacred bow, the power to make life and to destroy.
You have given me a sacred wind and the herb
from where the white giant lives –
the cleansing power and the healing.
The daybreak star and the pipe,
you have given from the east;
and from the south, the nation’s sacred hoop
and the tree that was to bloom.
To the center of the world you have taken me
and showed the goodness and the beauty
and the strangeness of the greening earth, the only mother –
and there the spirit shapes of things,
as they should be,
you have shown to me and I have seen.
At the center of this sacred hoop you have said
that I should make the tree to bloom.

With tears running, O Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather –
with running tears I must say now that
the tree has never bloomed.
A pitiful old man, you see me here,
and I have fallen away and have done nothing.
Here at the center of the world,
where you took me when I was young and taught me;
here, old, I stand, and the tree is withered,
Grandfather, my Grandfather!

Again, and maybe the last time on this earth,
I recall the great vision you sent me.
It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then, that it may leaf and bloom
and fill with singing birds.
Hear me, not for myself, but for my people; I am old.

Hear me that they may once more go back into the sacred hoop
and find the good red road, the shielding tree!

In sorrow I am sending a feeble voice,
O Six Powers of the World.
Hear me in my sorrow, for I may never call again.
O make my people live!

Black Elk, 1930

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

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Loving Your Enemies

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Oh God, help us in our lives and in all of our attitudes,
to work out this controlling force of love,
this controlling power that can solve
every problem that we confront in all areas.
Oh, we talk about politics;
we talk about the problems facing our atomic civilization.
Grant that all men will come together and discover
that as we solve the crisis and solve these problems,
the international problems,
the problems of atomic energy,
the problems of nuclear energy,
and yes, even the race problem;
let us join together in a great fellowship of love
and bow down at the feet of Jesus.
Give us this strong determination.
In the name and spirit of this Christ, we pray.
Amen.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

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We Are All the Children of God

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Blessed are the poor in spirit: 
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: 
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: 
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: 
for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: 
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: 
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers:

for they will be called the children of God.

The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-9

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.

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Reverence for All Life

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From childhood, I felt a compassion for animals. Even before I started
school, I found it impossible to understand why, in my evening prayers,
I should pray only for human beings. Consequently, after my mother
had prayed with me and had given me a good-night kiss, I secretly
recited another prayer, one I had composed myself. It went like this:

Dear God, protect and bless all living beings.
Keep them from evil and let them sleep in peace.

Dr. Albert Schweitzer, 1964

This post is an excerpt from Prayers for Hard Times by Becca Anderson, which can be found at Amazon and Mango Media.