Read an Excerpt
Affirmations and Invocations
After the final no there comes a yes,
And on that yes the future world depends.
The saying of the great Yes! is the root of all life prayers, and so we begin this book with the prayers of Yes! with affirmation and blessing for the furtherance of life. These prayers represent the most basic and powerful gesture of a heart that has opened to communion with the living world.
The voices in this chapter announce their presence without fear, and they do so by speaking of what they love (affirmations) and by calling this forth from the world (invocations). In these complex and competitive times we may find ourselves feeling that what we say doesn't matter and that what we do has little effect. But as the Czech president and playwright Václav Havel reminds us, "Whether all is really lost or not depends entirely on whether or not I am lost." Marianne Williamson carries the thought further:
We were born to make manifest
the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us;
it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
It seems a simple thing, to affirm what we believe. The act of speaking our truth authentically and unsentimentally is a powerful one. It is a gesture of healingfor both ourselves and the world we love. Similarly, when we invoke a wish or prayer, what is happening but a process of healing? Even when we wish each other "good day," or, upon parting, catch each other's eyes for a moment and say, "take care," these invocations are our everyday attempt to offer healing to the recipient.
The word healing comes from the root "to make whole" to resolve the inner contradictions within a being and thereby to release its full potential. According to psychologist C.G. Jung, wholeness always includes the sacred dimension, the numinous, and it is at the heart of what it means to be healed. "The approach to the numinous," he wrote, "is the real therapy." Consequently as we affirm and invoke the sacred in our world, we are participating in a great healing.
Many of the prayers in this section of Life Prayers are ideally suited to reading aloud with a community or group gathered for a specific purpose. They have the power to align our spirits, inspire us with the deep meaning of our common work, and encourage us to "keep on keeping on" when the going gets rough. Sharing a prayer together in this way touches something in us that other contact and communication rarely does it allows us to feel our common heart and our common home, and to invoke its wholeness.
May the Holy Spirit guide us as we seek to heal and to nurture the earth and all of its creatures, to live in the midst of creation, and to love one another as brothers and sisters with all life.
U.N. Environmental Sabbath