Recognizing the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity With Indigenous Peoples

National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples is held on December 12. This Day coincides with the Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, who appeared to a humble native peasant named Juan Diego in Mexico in 1531.

Coming Together To Recognize this Day with a Prayer

In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit

Creator God, as your children, we embrace our relationship with all living things. In solidarity, we share our love, respect, gifts, talents and treasures with the human family and nature. We pray that our hearts be open to everyone so that we grow in the wisdom, honesty, courage and respectfulness that is in the example of Jesus your Son, who is radically inclusive. Grant us the vision and honesty to recognize that we are all members of one human family, created and sustained by the Creator God. Give us the courage never to give way to fear and anger, which can divide us.  Inspire us with joy and hope to share the same heart and mind. For this, we are grateful.

Creator God, show us the way to healing, forgiveness, reconciliation, and a renewed sense of community. 

Amen

Individual Reflection in Honour of the National Day of Prayer in Solidarity with Indigenous Peoples

A lot of great learning about Indigenous culture and history happens daily in OCSB schools! Students welcome Knowledge Keepers, Elders and Indigenous artists into their classrooms. They read Indigenous Education books and gather for group discussions. Sharing and learning together is a great way to encourage Truth and Reconciliation, but to start to walk toward reconciliation, we must enter into our individual learning journey.

We invite you to reflect on what you think you know and also start to ask questions about the things you do not know about history, genocide and Indigenous knowledge and cultures in what we now call Canada.

Some questions that you can ask yourself are:

  • Have you read the 94 Calls to Action? If not, this is an excellent start for people to begin to engage with Truth and Reconciliation. Familiarize yourself with the Calls and engage with them to reflect upon what you can do to make reconciliation a priority in your life. You can also read the CBC News Beyond 94, which monitors the 94 Calls to Action progress. 
  • Are you aware of the true history of the legacy of residential schools in Canada?
  • Are you aware of the lives of Indigenous peoples before European contact?

What are your goals for Truth and Reconciliation this year?

Setting goals for ourselves is a great way to measure progress on our journeys toward Truth and Reconciliation. You can set a goal to learn something new about Indigenous history, culture or knowledge every month, or even better, you can read an Indigenous Education text every month. The Indigenous Ally Toolkit and Respectful Term Toolkit is a great starting point. 

Prayer Supports Our Mental Health as We Journey toward Truth and Reconciliation

Praying can reduce feelings of isolation, negative stress and fear, allowing people to connect, thrive and prosper together. Prayer can also foster a connection to what a person finds important in life.

Saying a small prayer to get through a difficult time is not unusual and can be helpful and empowering. This connection to something greater than ourselves offers more than just hope; it can also strengthen our emotional health.

Benefits of Prayer to our Mental Health and Well-Being

There are several ways that prayer and spiritual practice may improve and protect our emotional health. It can:

  • Offer us a greater sense of purpose. Connecting to a greater power or truth can give us a sense of purpose and meaning beyond the day-to-day routine.
  • Provide us with important social support. Through practicing our spirituality, we may become more involved in our community at a greater level.
  • Lift our spirits with Gratitude and Joy. Activities related to your spiritual practice or community involvement, such as singing and music, may also positively affect your emotional health and Well-being.
  • Help us cope with our day-to-day difficulties. Spirituality and/or religion can provide us with a framework for dealing with unexpected or adverse events.

When Prayers Go ‘Unanswered’

Despite a prayer’s positive benefits, there are times when we need to help ourselves. Serious health problems, such as depression, require more professional attention. If you are struggling with any of these concerns, seeking care from a mental health or medical professional is equally important. We must empower our sense of self-care as well. Spirituality and prayer play a key role in coping with difficult times and can empower a wonderful sense of reflection and inner peace.

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