Are you a Unitarian Universalist who wants to pray? Or do you know some Unitarian Universalists and find yourself curious about their religious practices? If so, check out this gallery on how to say a Unitarian Universalist prayer.

Light a Chalice

While a chalice in the Unitarian Universalist tradition is a candle in some kind of cup or holder, it doesn't need to be fancy. Simply place a little tea candle in a candle holder and light it. Blow out the match, and look at the flame for a few seconds to bring yourself to the present moment. This step is optional, but it's highly recommended.

Close Your Eyes

Some people find it easier to calm themselves and concentrate on what's being said, without distractions, by closing their eyes.

Warning: If you pray or meditate with your eyes closed, make sure the candle is safe from dripping, tipping over, or combustible materials such as paper or fluttering curtains.

Center Yourself

Take a few moments to become centered within yourself. Imagine your soul or life spirit being active in all parts of your body, and then slowly calming and coming together at your heart. Some Unitarian Universalists may hit a gong and raise their hands. As the sound slowly drifts, they lower their hands. Consider doing this especially if you have trouble feeling centered.

Say a Prayer

There are many possibilities; here's a common example:

We light this chalice,
for the light of truth,
the warmth of love,
and the fire of commitment.
We light this symbol of our faith,
as we gather together.

Personalize the Prayer

Add whatever wishes or concerns are on your heart and mind, either silently or aloud, for example, "I send my positive thoughts to Uncle Joe during his surgery and ask for a quick and full recovery."

If you don't know who you're praying to, don't fret, you're in the same boat as many Unitarian Universalists. If the prayer is heard and answered by an external power, that is good. If the prayer just makes you feel more peaceful and connected to the life spirit of the universe, that's good too.

Extinguish the Chalice

Unitarian Universalists often will not blow out a ritual candle, but rather will use a candle-extinguisher -- a bell-shaped, inverse metal cup that hangs down from a handle to cover the flame. But nobody's going to "get" you if you blow it out with a puff of breath! If someone recited the prayer with you, you may choose to blow out the candle together. Enjoy watching the drifting smoke.

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