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Almighty and all merciful God,
whose hand is ever outstretched
to uphold and guide
all who seek thee in sincerity of heart,
do thou in this sacred hour
help us to find our way to thee.
We are gathered here
in the hope that common worship
may prove helpful to us
in our desire to know and to serve thee.
Forgive our shortcomings and offences;
we know they are many and grievous.
But let them not keep us
from communion with thee
without which our life would be
one long discord.
Accept and grant
that our prayers may aid
in fostering a spirit of true devotion among us,
in uniting some at least of the scattered children of Israel,
in binding them in a spiritual harmony
to one another
and to thee.
This prayer for communal prayer first appears in A Selection of Prayers, Psalms, and Other Scriptural Passages, and Hymns for Use at the Services of the Jewish Religious Union (1902), where it is №5 on page 6. (In the revised 1903 edition of the prayerbook, it is №18.) The authorship of the prayer is nowhere indicated, but it seems likely to me that it was made by either Lily Montagu, the founder of the Jewish Religious Union, or Claude Montefiore (its president). Many thanks to Dr. Mel Scult for bringing it to our attention. (A copy of the prayer appeared among the papers of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan.) –Aharon Varady
“Prayer for Communal Prayer, by the Jewish Religious Union of London (1902)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication 1.0 Universal license.
Works of related interest:
Prayer on the Anniversary of Brighton & Hove Liberal Synagogue, by Lilian Helen Montagu (27 May 1956)
Be it ours to shed sunshine — a selection from “A Free Man’s Religious Worship” by Bertrand Russell (1910)