Invitation to a global, daily, interfaith
Morning Circle
of Prayer and Meditation
on the Gift of Life

by Dennis Rivers and the Morning Circle -- April 2004

Every morning when you wake up, you are invited to join a morning communion of all hearts, a circle of meditation and prayer on the gift of life. Participants in this activity have agreed with one another to begin each day by giving thanks for the mysterious gift of life that we receive from a living well of life beyond ourselves, and by opening ourselves this day to serve all people and all life as our beloved kin. Please use whatever words, forms and silences that express your deepest sense of gratitude and connectedness. If your spiritual practice and/or religious tradition already includes morning prayers/meditations of gratitude and self-offering, we hope that you will do these practices each day knowing that we join our hearts and minds with yours.

The specific time does not matter. Whenever you wake up is fine. Emerson wrote that for those whose hearts keep pace with the Sun, day is forever dawning. As more people come to participate in this activity, we hope to encircle the world in a perpetual prayer of gratitude.

Morning Circle

In order to find the strength to face
more courageously, what is broken in our world
and in need of mending,
we seek to become more deeply rooted in and healed by
the inner goodness and beauty of life.

As a way of participating in this activity more fully, we recommend that each person read and contemplate the themes developed such books as, Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer, by Brother David Steindl-Rast, and another wonderful book, A Grateful Heart , edited by Mary Jane Ryan, which includes expressions of gratitude from many cultures. This practice is intended to be both personal and communal. We who are now involved in the Morning Circle invite you to make it more personal by building an altar of gratitude, perhaps containing leaves or shells or other gifts from life, pictures of animals with whom you feel a strong connection, pictures of the people life has entrusted into your immediate care, a pictures of adults and children from the far corners of the globe, with whom our ecological fate is now completely joined. You are welcome to spread this practice by individual invitation to friends and family members. On your altar please feel free to include photographs of those with whom you have personally agreed to join in morning prayers and meditations of gratitude.

In engaging in these prayers and meditations as a shared practice we hope to encourage one another to love life more fully and serve life more joyously. We also hope to bring more fully into public awareness the reverence-for-life elements that are present in many spiritual traditions, and the capacity to nurture life that is a deep part of each of us.

Global Prayer and Meditation Invitation Circle:

Maia Dennis Rivers

Marilyn Gaynes David Richo Paloma Pavel

prayers and meditations on the theme of gratitude
from friends near and far

If the only prayer you say in your whole life is "thank you," that would suffice.

~ Meister Eckhart

five-dimensions morning prayer -- Dennis Rivers

I give thanks for the life that lives within me
breath and heartbeat, joy and sorrow, dance and stillness

I give thanks for the life that lives between us
as loving, understanding, creating, embracing and letting go

I give thanks for all the life forms that surround and support us
for the web of life that feeds and protects us and also needs our care

I give thanks for all the life of the future
hidden in the present moment and inviting us
to walk the path of infinite compassion

I give thanks for the source of all life, and the source of my life,
this living universe, of which my life is an expression.

morning -- Vijali

As I greet the rising sun and the rays fall on my body:
May my body, mind and spirit be filled with the rays of the infinite.
During this day may we each be a ray of light
touching life with love and compassion.
May we know our real nature of inner-connectedness with all life.
May every step on this earth be in harmony with all life.

from David Richo...

First thing in the morning, as soon as I can remember to do it, I express thanks. I make it a point to find a different thing each day to be thankful for. Sometimes it is just the day itself. Sometimes it is someone I love or learn from. Sometimes it is for a grace I am receiving. My thanks is sometimes directed to Christ or Mary or Buddha and sometimes to the universe or to a power in me that makes thanking possible. I am aware, and thankful, that I am one of many millions of people all over the world who begin the day in this same way. I find this practice is helping me in at least three ways:

    I find I am more open to graces that come my way

    I am more appreciative of what I am and have

    I am more humble about how I am not the author of my fate
    and that it is in good hands, somehow.

For more information about the history and approach of Turn Toward Life, please read the first essay in our community book of readings, Turning Toward Life