A week ago Sunday I took part in an interfaith prayer service for the women of South Dakota, because a total ban on abortions without exceptions for rape, incent, or the life or health of the woman went before the voters there on election day.Â (The voters chose to defeat the proposed ban.)Â I’m often a litte non-plussed at what to say at interfaith prayer services, since I don’t pray, so below is what I said.Â Whether you agree with my position on this issue, I offer it as one example of non-theistic “prayer.”
“How shall we pray together, from our different beliefs and traditions?
How shall we pray for those living right now under a shadow, for those whose human rights of worth and dignity, of sovereign selfhood, are threatened?
We will pray with our ears,
Listening deeply to women, to their questions, to their relief and their regrets;
We will listen to those who would criminalize women â€™s health decisions, to understand their feelings so that we may try to reach their hearts.
We will pray with our eyes,
Witnessing the ugly messages used to intimidate, witnessing the fear and determination in the eyes of women and health workers.
We will pray with our hands,
Holding the hands of women in the anguish of their decisions,
Holding placards affirming the ethics of their choices;
We will write to persuade others to uphold the rights of women and the right of every child to be wanted.
We will pray with our feet,
Escorting women to their doctors in safety and respect,
Marching for the human rights of women;
We will meet the decision-makers so they will hear our voices.
We will pray with our whole lives, that the lives of women may remain whole.