Posted in Essay, Photography/Photographer, Spiritual Practice, Terri Stewart

A Prayer to Consider

I originally published this on my blog at I am reposting it here for a couple reasons – prayer is a great spiritual practice, whatever your understanding of prayer is. And I am at a conference called “Church Quake” in the DC area. It is a conference to aid United Methodist folks in helping to bring full inclusion to the church. Our theme has been “intersectionality.” What intersection of our understanding can come to the aid of an oppressed groups? We are related and interdependent as the prayer below says-we can see that when we consider our own woundedness and how we bring it to the altar of healing. Then what do we do? Consider the woundedness of others and help them find their way to healing. And so the pattern continues. Wounded becoming healing.

Henry Nouwen articulated the concept of the wounded healer quite well. Let me just share a quote from this Roman Catholic, PhD Psychologist, Theology teaching at Yale Divinity, depression suffering, book-writing, L’arche community loving, priest.

“When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives mean the most to us, we often find that it is those who, instead of giving advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a warm and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares.”
― Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak: A Spiritual Journey

Here, in this prayer, I find the intersectionality of flowers, interdependence, loving one another, an altar for all, and the healing of woundedness for the inclusion of all who are diverse and unique – precious and beautiful flowers.

A prayer in the Unitarian Universalist tradition by William G. Sinkford

In the presence of these flowers,
These representatives of Creation’s profound beauty:
Diverse and Unique, but Related and Interdependent,
These flowers which come to us as gifts from we know not where
And which we, in turn, choose to bring to our shared and common altar
As gifts to one another

In their presence we turn our thoughts to the mystery beyond mysteries
to the most sacred—which we never understand fully
but which we are granted revelatory glimpses of
in each of these flowers,
in each of your faces,
and through relationships with neighbors near and far

May they remind us of grace we have known in days past:
Forgiveness we have been granted, and provided.
Love, unearned and shared.
Recovery, begun and established.
Generosity, unforeseen and most sacred.

And may they inspire us now, and in days to come:
To seek,
To notice,
To embrace and,
To re-create beauty.
To give unto the world as exuberantly as these flowers.

Go, be exuberant.

Shalom & Amen,


© 2013, post and photos, Terri Stewart, All rights reserved

© 2013, prayer, William Sinkford

terriREV. TERRI STEWART is Into the Bardo’s  Sunday chaplain, senior content editor, and site co-administrator. She comes from an eclectic background and considers herself to be grounded in contemplation and justice. She is the Director and Founder of the Youth Chaplaincy Coalition that serves youth affected by the justice system. As a graduate of Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, she earned her Master’s of Divinity and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Spiritual Direction. She is a contributing author to the Abingdon Worship Annual. (The 2014 issue just released!)

Her online presence is “Cloaked Monk.” This speaks to her grounding in contemplative arts and the need to live it out in the world. The cloak is the disguise of normalcy as she advocates for justice and peace. You can find her at,, and  To reach her for conversation, send a note to


As a chaplain to chaplains, I find myself in the deep listening work of attending to the dreams of hope-filled people whose true calling is to serve and uplift incarcerated youth.

One thought on “A Prayer to Consider

  1. Just reading this over again in the light of day and after coffee – “healing” coffee, LOL! – and am struck by a few things. One is that the Christ of the heart – not of dogma – the compassionate Christ of the heart is the prototypical icon for wounded healer. The other is that an important element in the Neuwen is the idea of being in silence with someone and further being able to rest with ambiguity and without solutions. And lastly, aren’t we all wounded healers? That idea works well for me in the context of my Reiki practice and other energy work. A lovely thought-provoking post, Terri, as multifacited as cut crystal.

    Thank you this, Terri. Happy Sunday . . .


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