From his retreat at his upstate cabin, legendary actor Mandy Patinkin sings in Hebrew as gets his dog Becky’s food for her. We were surprised to discover that what he is singing is a prayer:

It’s a prayer for her, for me, for you, for the whole world. I figure it’s a perfect time to pray for the whole world twice a day, morning and evening…

We love the idea of singing a prayer to accompany a simple task of daily life.

Prayer, of course, has inexplicably become something of a taboo word. During a friend’s recent open-heart surgery, an Episcopel minister we know wrote “I’ll send healing energy to him”, rather than saying “I’ll pray for him”. When someone tells us “I keep you in my prayers”, we welcome it, that energy and intention circling around on our behalf.

We view prayer as kin to blessings, and there are many to sing or say or send. The late John O’Donohue wrote many blessings for our modern life. He is beloved for showing how they can fortify and hearten, and draw our attention to “the latent sacredness of experience”. Here, he reads “Beannacht / Blessing” from his book, To Bless the Space Between Us. (*A currach is a canvas boat people fish from in Ireland).

On the day when
the weight deadens
on your shoulders
and you stumble,
may the clay dance
to balance you.

And when your eyes
freeze behind
the grey window
and the ghost of loss
gets into you,
may a flock of colours,
indigo, red, green
and azure blue,
come to awaken in you
a meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays
in the currach* of thought
and a stain of ocean
blackens beneath you,
may there come across the waters
a path of yellow moonlight
to bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.

One of our favorite blessings is Bob Dylan’s Forever Young, perfect for singing while walking, washing dishes, doing laundry…

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
May you stay forever young.

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