Secular ‘Prayers’



A Secular Grace:

For what we are about to receive
let us be truly thankful
to those who planted the crops
to those who cultivated the fields
to those who gathered the harvest.

For what we are about to receive
let us be truly thankful
to those who prepared it and those who served it.

In this festivity let us remember too
those who have no festivity
those who cannot share this plenty
those whose lives are more affected than our own
by war, oppression and exploitation
those who are hungry, sick and cold

In sharing in this meal
let us be truly thankful
for the good things we have
for the warm hospitality
and for this good company.


With Gratitude to All

We receive this food in gratitude to all beings
Who have helped to bring it to our table,
And vow to respond in turn to those in need
With wisdom and compassion.


May I find the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

“…good company, good wine, good welcome, can make good people”
Sir Henry Guildford: Henry VIII



Corn and grain, meat and milk
Upon our table width and length
With loving thought and careful craft
Through so many hands have passed
Essence of life, fruits of our labors
Bringing sustenance and strength
To ours and all our neighbors
May we all be grateful for all we have
And compassion for those without.

— Douglas Van Curren
Humanist Celebrant and President of Humanists of Idaho


We pause on this Thanksgiving Day to consider all we have to be grateful for:
For the wonders of the natural world and the beauty of each season in turn.
For the resources of this world, to be valued and used wisely.
For the people around the globe with whom we share a common humanity and desire for a better, more peaceful world.
For the connection with family and friends who nurture and support us each day, especially those gathered with us today.
For the food we are about to share and for all who brought it to us.
For the future and all the opportunities that are before us.
We acknowledge all these things today with appreciation and gratitude.

— Kathy Diedrich,
Humanist Celebrant from MN


Secular reflections
and remembrances for a funeral service:

“In sorrow we gather, to say our farewell to John.
He touched our lives in so many ways. we will miss him. We gather also, to support John’s family and friends, to be with them, and to draw support from them in this time of shared grief. And finally, we gather this day to take our first step on the path to healing, knowing that John will live on in our hearts and in the impact he had in our world.

As we look at the depth of the night sky, as we feel the sun’s warmth, as we hear the power of the ocean’s waves, as we touch the softness of a rabbit’s fur, and as we experience the tenderness of a parent’s smile we are reminded of the vastness of our world, and know that it was changed for the better by John’s presence here.

—Kathy Diedrich,
Humanist Celebrant from MN



“At this greatest time of joy, we are reminded of those we wish could be here to share in our happiness. While we often feel these loved ones are with us in our hearts, they are greatly missed especially at the milestones in our lives. [NAME] ask that we all take a moment to remember those who are not able to be with us today. In particular, at this time, we would like to honor both of their fathers – [NAME] and [NAME]. [NAME OF COUPLE] would surely be joyous to know that [NAME] have found each other and have found true love and happiness together. Please share in a moment of silence to honor the men who loved them, and helped to make them who they are today, as well as recognize our love and appreciation for all those we miss most on this day.

— Donna Forsythe,
Humanist Celebrant from PA



“Life continues after loss, though it is never the same.
We face a new world, but we face it with the love and support of our family and friends. They celebrate the joyous times, and they give us strength in the difficult moments.

“Loss is a part of life. Our lives revolve through joy and sorrow, plenty and lack, loneliness and companionship. At times we determine the course we travel, and at times we find ourselves swept along by the waves.

“Let us pause for a moment of silent reflection on the memory of ___. Loving memory is our greatest tribute.”

— Adam Chalom,
Humanist Celebrant from MI


by a Humanist for a Town Meeting

“Thank you for this opportunity to “invoke” a minority point of view.

“Each of us is a minority, with respect to something. It might be race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality, or any other way we may be regarded as different. Each of us is also part of some majority. It is when we wear our majority hats that we need to be most mindful of how we treat others. We must pledge our best efforts to help one another, and to defend the rights of all of our citizens and residents.

“What divides us is not so much our religious differences in this diverse country, but the degree of commitment we have to equal freedom of conscience for all people. We are gathered today, both religious and secular members of our community, with the shared belief that we must treat our fellow human beings with respect and dignity.

“I don’t ask you to close your eyes, but to keep your eyes constantly open to the serious issues that city government can and should solve or improve. I don’t ask you to bow your heads, but to look up at what you can accomplish by applying your considerable talents and experience to the problems that confront us.

“As you work together on behalf of all who live in this city, may you gain strength and sustenance from one another through reason and compassion.

“I’d like to close in a bipartisan manner by quoting from two presidents I greatly admire-one a Republican and the other a Democrat.

First, the Republican:
When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That is my religion.
— Abraham Lincoln

And then, the Democrat:
It’s remarkable how much you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.
— Harry S. Truman

Herb Silverman


A Short Agnostic Prayer

“We give whatever thanks are due to Invisible, Hypothetical Deities that might exist but probably don’t for whatever they could have done but probably didn’t.”

The Anatomist’s Prayer
in Latin

“Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi.”

– Dr. LeGros Clark
This Latin invocation is, in fact, the name of a small muscle on the side of the nose.


One Response to Secular ‘Prayers’

  1. Pingback: The 262cnd question asked Why is it that historically atheists never accomplish anything for the country or mankind? – kennethandrebrownsr

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