I recently came across a blog post which mentioned (unfavorably) the existence of prayers giving thanks for religions other than Christianity in the Book of Common Worship used by the Presbyterian Church USA. Here’s an example (pp.409-410):
For World Religions
We thank you, God of the universe,
that you call all people to worship you
and to serve your purpose in this world.
We praise you for the gift of faith
we have received in Jesus Christ.
We praise you also for diverse faith
among the people of the earth.
For you have bestowed your grace
that Christians, Jews, Muslims,
Buddhists, and others
may celebrate your goodness,
act upon your truth,
and demonstrate your righteousness.
In wonder and awe
we praise you great God. Amen.
Can you give thanks for traditions other than your own? I’ve learned a lot from other religions – Sufism, Taoism, and atheism spring immediately to mind. How would you express your appreciation for what you’ve learned from another tradition in a formal way? Here’s how theologian John Macquarrie did so, by extending Hebrews 11 (which I quoted here some years ago, from his book Jesus Christ in Modern Thought:
By faith Mohammed, when he saw the people of Mecca degraded by idolatries, brought them the message of the one invisible God who is righteous and merciful.
By faith Gautama Buddha, when he had perceived the damage done to human life by undisciplined desires, taught the multitudes of Asia to restrain desire and learn compassion for one another.
By faith Krishna brought the presence of the high God among the hosts so that they might know God cares for them.
By faith Confucius, living among the warring states of China, had a new vision of the blessings of rationality and sought to build up human relationships in accordance with the will of heaven…
And what more shall I say? For the time would not be sufficient to tell of Gideon and of Barak, of Zoroaster and of Lao-tzu and of Nanak, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, quelled agressors.