Prayer to the Four Powers of Creation

separate images of flame ground sky and water

March 19, 2020
Raymond Reyes, Ph.D., Assoc. Provost and Chief Diversity Officer


In some tribal languages the word “prayer” translates into English to mean “listen to the goodness” or “practice relatedness.” When we pray, we speak or communicate, and in many native languages, those words translated in English mean “something holy passes between us.” So let us listen to the goodness with one another as something holy comes into our midst.


Loving God, you are known by many names in many cultures. You are the One that dwells in every part of creation, vibrantly, actively working on our behalf so we may master the lessons of your grace as habits of the heart. The world is saturated with your active presence. You have gifted us with the Earth Mother’s four powers of creation: fire, earth, water, and air, which we acknowledge now. 

separate images of fire, earth, sky and water

(Facing East)

Thank you for the gift of fire from the east with daybreak star. Bless our women and the unborn and teach us to learn the lessons of fire: insight and knowledge. After all, as Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel said, “Learning is holy, an indispensable form of purification as well as ennoblement.” 


(Facing South)

Thank you for the gift of the earth from the south. Teach us to learn the lessons of the earth: generosity, giving, service. We know from blessed women like Mother Theresa and Dorothy Day that our service to others is evidence of our gratitude for the gift of life.


(Facing West)

Thank you for the gift of water from the west. Teach us the lessons of water: courage to do what is right, and ethical, to make justice. We hear the charge of Anthony Demello, “to respond to hate with love, to include the excluded, and to admit when we are wrong.”


(Facing North)

Thank you for the gift of air from the north. Teach us the lessons of air, hope and humor. Thank you for those reminders from Maya Angelou and a 19th century gospel song: “When it looked like the sun wasn’t gonna shine no more, God put a rainbow in the clouds; in the worst of times, there’s a possibility of seeing hope.”


Even during times of confusion and fear, as we contemplate the wellbeing of our families and communities, we give you thanks for these four gifts of creation and of life.

In the spirit of our ancestors, may the blessings be!

Raymond Reyes, Associate Provost & Chief Diversity Officer