If you should ever find yourself in a position where you have to give the prayer, or invocation, or some such thing in a public forum, and you also find yourself to be clearly at the atheistic/agnostic end of the spectrum, here is a *prayer* that might serve:
May our sense of fairness enable us to deal openly and evenhandedly with whatever comes before us.
May our consciences remind us to respect each other, both here and elsewhere.
May we be open-minded enough to recognize that an idea may be a good one even if it is different than our own.
May we remember that we are here to serve others, not our own vanity or self-interest.
May we remember that those others may be yet unborn.
May we remember that we are stewards of our public resources.
May a saving sense of humor liberate us from arrogance, pompousness, and from thinking ourselves more important than we are.
May we grow our own integrity though these actions.
May we be as good in our hearts and actions as we have always wanted to be.
This month it was my turn to give the prayer at the beginning of the county board meeting. While I can respect the tradition of asking for wisdom in such a circumstance, there was no way I was going to invoke God-Jesus-Buddha-Allah myself. So I googled "prayer -god" and eventually found something -- I think it was a Unitarian prayer -- that I could use. (I tweaked it considerably.) That prayer seems to have been based on a prayer (#496 in the Unitarian hymnal by the Rev. Dr. Harry Meserve:
"From arrogance, pompousness, and from thinking ourselves more important than we are, may some saving sense of humor liberate us. For allowing ourselves to ridicule the faith of others, may we be forgiven. . . ."
Apparently my *prayer* was heard because I got several compliments on it. Today I ran into a friend who had come to the meeting to hear what would transpire on a certain issue of local import; he asked for the prayer because he finds himself in a similar situation.
That made me think there may be others like us. If so, here ya go -- use it, change it, personalize it with my blessing.