Paralympics offer hope of world united in mutual respect
Although we might not want to admit it to our neighbours, I guess that all of us, whatever our beliefs, have at various moments in our lives found ourselves uttering a prayer.
An American writer once commented they had two prayers. The first was, "Help me, Help me, Help me". The second? "Thank You, Thank You, Thank You". I can relate to that and I suspect I am not alone.
Prayer is never about bringing our shopping list of requests to God and waiting to get what we want. It is about recognising that there is more to our lives than the physical, material things that we see around us. To pray is to connect with a bigger dimension to our lives. There is no shame in asking for help from God, the Lord, the Higher Power: whatever name we want to use.
The motto of the Paralympic Games is "Spirit in Motion" which in itself hints at an understanding that life is more than we can see or touch. The Games have been provided with their own prayer to use alongside all the other words that will be heard throughout the next few days. Perhaps during these Games you might use the words of this prayer and connect not just with a great sporting event but also the experience of God at work in the world.
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Lord Jesus Christ, your love is more than gold, and the warmth of your welcome is a taste of heaven. We thank you for all involved in the London Paralympic Games; for the skill and bravery of athletes; for the wisdom and care of judges who ensure an equal chance for all; for the support and encouragement of coaches and team-mates; and for the grace and kindness of volunteers who welcome all who come. We ask that as the champions of the world unite in the spirit of Paralympic competition you would grant us a vision of a world united in mutual respect and tolerance united in fairness and encouragement united in harmony and peace. We ask this in your name. Amen.