A friend asked me about my Thanksgiving Prayer – and asked if was of Native American descent. My name might suggest that I am, but my looks are decidedly Nordic. My name was made up almost 20 years ago and I had it legally changed back then.
Even though I am not Native American, I find Native American prayers and their reverence for the land very appealing and spiritual for me.
For Christmas six years ago, my chosen parents gave me a wonderful book of prayers of all different faith traditions called: “God Makes the Rivers to Flow”; Eknath Easwaran; Nilgiri Press; 1991. My favorite is a Native American Prayer. I have tried to find it printed out on the Internet to send to folks, but found only abbreviated versions. Below I have typed out the entire prayer as found in this book. As I assume it to be a very old prayer (some versions credit a translation in 1887 to Chief Yellow Lark), I figure it is safe to reprint it here.
Oh Great Spirit,
Whose voice I hear in the winds
and whose breath gives life to all the world,
I am small and weak.
I need your strength and wisdom.
Let me walk in beauty
and let my eyes ever behold the red and purple sunset.
Make my hands respect the things you have made
and my ears sharp to hear your voice.
Make me wise, so that I may understand the things
you have taught my people.
Let me learn the lesson you have hidden
in every leaf and rock.
I seek strength not to be greater than my brother or sister
but to be able to fight my greatest enemy – myself.
Make me always ready
to come to you with clean hands and straight eyes
So when life fades as a fading sunset
my spirit may come to you without shame.
Great Spirit of love,
come to me with the power of the North.
Make me courageous when the cold winds of life
fall upon me.
Give me strength and endurance for everything
that is harsh,
everything that hurts,
everything that makes me squint.
Make me move through life ready to take what comes
from the North.
Spirit who comes out of the East,
come to me with the power of the rising sun.
Let there be light in my word.
Let there be light on the path that I walk.
Let me remember always that you give the gift of a
Never let me be burdened with sorrow by not
Great Spirit of creation,
send me the warm and soothing winds
from the South.
Comfort me and caress me when I am tired and cold.
Enfold me as your gentle breezes enfold your leaves
on the trees.
And as you give to all the earth your warm,
Give to me so that I may grow close to you in warmth.
Great life-giving Spirit,
I face the West,
the direction of the sundown.
Let me remember every day that the moment will come
when my sun will go down.
Never let me forget that I must fade into you.
Give me a beautiful color.
Give me a great sky for setting,
and when it is time to meet you,
I come with glory.
And Giver of all life,
I pray to you from the earth,
help me to remember as I touch the earth
that I am little and need your pity.
Help me to be thankful for the gift of the earth
and never to walk hurtfully on the world.
Bless to love what comes from mother earth
and teach me how to love your gifts.
Great Spirit of the heavens,
lift me up to you
that my heart may worship you
and come to you in glory.
Hold in my memory that you are my Creator,
greater than I,
eager for my good life.
Let everything that is in the world
lift my mind,
and my heart,
and my life to you
so that we may come always to you
in truth and in heart.