How to Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer

Are you a Unitarian Universalist (UU) who wants to pray? Or do you know some UUs and find yourself curious about their religious practices? If so, read on.


  1. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 1
    Light a chalice. While a chalice in UU 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. You may speak some words; here's a common example:
  2. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 2
    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.
  3. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 3
    Close your eyes. Some people find it easier to calm themselves and concentrate on what's being said, without distractions, by closing their eyes.
  4. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 4
    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.
  5. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 5
    Say a prayer. There are possibilities from literature as well as sacred texts - Unitarian Universalism draws from many sources. You can find many prayers by Unitarian Universalists at Worship Web.
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    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 UUs. 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.
  7. Image titled Say a Unitarian Universalist Prayer Step 7
    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.


  • You may pray at any time simply by saying positive wishes for yourself or others, either in your mind or aloud. Direct your prayers to whatever God you believe in, or to a beloved symbol from a world religion, such as Jesus, Gaia, or a saint.
  • If more than one person prays together, take turns lighting and extinguishing the candle.
  • Because Unitarian Universalism is a religion without proscribed rituals and beliefs, you may use prayers from any religion that are meaningful to you. You will see a wide variety of prayers, some borrowed from other faith traditions, used respectfully in UU congregations.


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

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Categories: Prayer