Prayers based on words by Joseph Priestley

Words for lighting a candle or chalice

We light a fire
to dispel the clouds of ignorance and superstition,
to consume all spiritual tyranny,
and to bring liberty’s torch to all who are oppressed.

Living and true God, Divine Unity, bless this our assembly
and all our brothers and sisters of mankind.
Requite the kindness of all who have contributed to the advantage of
our minds, bodies and outward estates, and done us good of any sort.
And if any have designed and done us evil, in return for it we beg thy
pardon and thy blessings. Correct the evil disposition of all such minds,
and lead them all to charity and love.
And may we not abuse thy goodness, but express our gratitude to thee, the
giver of all good, by the temperate and generous use of all our blessings.

O God,
strengthen and assist all who suffer anywhere for the love of truth,
or the testimony of a good conscience. Hear the groans of all who
are oppressed and barbarously treated by the tyrants of this world,
and grant a release from all their miseries.
Attend to the sights and tears of such as are in captivity and slavery,
and open a way to their future liberty and security. Give peace in our
times, O Lord, or grant success to our arms in every just and necessary
Restore light and comfort to the dark melancholy and distracted minds
of those who have lost the use of their reason. Pity the destitute condition
of those who are in want. Relieve, by thy good providence, the wants
of the poor and needy, and regard the unhappy estate of all who mourn.
We pray for all good things to the whole race of humankind.

With thanks to Dr. Joseph Priestley

O loving Spirit of all good,
we give thanks for the teachers and the sages, the preachers and the poets,
for all who have witnessed in word and deed, in life and death, to your
compassionate love.
To them we owe a faith that fears not freedom of mind and spirit,
a faith that reaches out to all and knows nothing of damnation for
the many and salvation for the few.
To them we owe a tradition with scope to search, to question and to doubt
on the path to honest faith; a tradition that breaks the shackles of unreason
and ‘base, mischievous superstition’.
‘Thy tender mercies are over all thy works’ and ‘thou art good to all.’
May we be humble reflections of your nature and your righteousness.

: (CMR300104)

Bless all the assemblies of thy worshipping people.
May thy word have its free course and be justified.
And do thou extend thy compassion to all our sisters
and brothers in all the families of the earth.

Drawn and adapted by Reverend Cliff Reed from, Forms of Prayer, and other offices, for the use of Unitarian Societies, by Joseph Priestley (1783).

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