On Friday, June 29, an interfaith prayer-walk for immigrants and refugees was held in Painesville, Ohio, a few miles north of where I live. Although I did not attend the event, I spoke with two friends who did. One shared the prayer handouts with me.
First, the prayer-walk was organized by five different local faith communities and their representatives:
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Mentor – Rev. Lisa O’Rear
St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Painesville – Sister Dolores Mikula, SND
St. James Episcopal Church, Painesville – Rev. Vanessa E. B. Clark
Am Shalom Temple, Mentor – Renee Blau, lay leader
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Cleveland – Humera Khan
The walk began at St. Mary’s Church and ended at St. James Church. Brief stops for prayer along the way were made at the Youth Detention Center, the Adult Detention Center, Jobs and Family Services, and City Hall. Here are a few of the prayers used. I thought you might be interested in seeing them and even praying them:
We gather together today as one family under God, to pray for the ancient quest for liberty and freedom for all people. We also pray that we shall become infused with renewed spirit, inspiration, and understanding. May the problems of all the downtrodden be our problems; may the concerns of all who strive for liberty and equality be our struggles. We pray with them and for them, that the coming days and years will bring with it the promise of a better life.
Priestly Benediction: (This was given in both Hebrew and English.) “May the Lord bless you and keep you. May God’s presence be with you and grant you peace.”
Prayer for healing: (This was sung in Hebrew): “May the Source of strength who blessed the ones before us, help us find the courage to make our lives a blessing.”
Interfaith compline: (This prayer at the end was prayed in English, Spanish, Hebrew, and Arabic. A few of the readings were these:)
“There are none worthy of worship besides You. Glorified are You. Surely I am from the wrongdoers.” (Quran 21:87)
“Oh Allah, forgive me all my mistakes and my sins. Oh, Allah, forgive me for what I have done in the past and what will come, for what I have done in secret and in the open, for what you know about better than I.”
Psalm 68 was prayed in Spanish.
A reading from Mt. 2:13-15:
“Now after they had left, and angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.’ Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went into Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.”
A reading from Leviticus 19:33-34:
“When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as a citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself; for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”
Petitions: response: Lord, hear our prayer.
For all those who have been deported or fear deportation, that they may be protected from harm, find strength, courage, and comfort in their ordeal…
For families torn apart by detentions and deportations; and for those whose precious time together is filled with anxiety and apprehension…
In time of too little compassion, too little courage, too little decency, transform our hearts and make us witnesses of Your love, prophets of justice, and warriors for peace…
Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage, we humbly beseech Thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of Thy favor and glad to do Thy will…
Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy name we entrust the authority of government…
In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail… Amen.
What are your thoughts and feelings on this important issue? Do any of the words of this reflection stand out for you?
The song today is “Open My Eyes, Lord.” This version, by Jesse Manibusan, is sung in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese. It seems fitting that we honor three native languages of U.S. immigrants. (Yes, English was the language of some of the earliest European immigrants to this country.)
I welcome your responses below: