Thursday, September 18, 2014

World Day of Prayer for Peace


September 21, 2014

SEVERAL YEARS AGO, the World Council of Churches and then the United Nations eventually designated September 21st every year as the DAY OF PRAYER FOR PEACE around the world.Since then many religious groups have also given support. It’s now a world-wide observance in a variety of ways. May the following thoughts enrich your involvement in “praying for peace” regularly.

For Peace
Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

For our Enemies
O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth: deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[From the Book of Common Prayer]

Rolland W. Schloerb (born 1893)

O God, whose will is life and peace
For all the sons of men,
Let not our human hates release
The sword’s dread power again.
Forgive our narrowness of mind;
Destroy false pride, we plead:
Deliver us and all mankind
From selfishness and greed.

O God, whose ways shall lead to peace,
Enlighten us, we pray;
Dispel our darkness and increase
The light along our way.
Illumine those who lead the lands
That they may make at length
The laws of right to guide the hands
That wield the nations’ strength.

O God, who callest us to peace,
We join with everyone
Who does his part that wars may cease
And justice may be done.
Enable us to take the way
The Prince of Peace hath trod;
Create the will to build each day
The family of God.  Amen.


(Together) Lord, we live in a world in desperate need of your peace and justice, a world in need of your visions and dreams of building peace. On this Peace Sunday we join with congregations across the world as we pray for peace.

(Leader) We pray for
     ...our brothers and sisters in Nigeria who live with violence every day.  We remember especially the 275 girls kidnaped by Boko Haram (pause).
     ...the people of Gaza, Israel, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Congo, South Sudan, Central American countries, and other places where people are living with violence (pause).
     ...people affected by shootings in schools, work places, and
          random shootings (pause).
     ...women and children facing physical and economic violence every day (pause).
     ...all people forced from their homes because of violence (pause).
     ...people and nations who see no ways to solve problems without violence (pause).

(Together) Dear Lord,

As followers of Jesus, we seek to live out his teachings in effective and Spirit-led ways.  We believe that Jesus himself points us toward justice, peace, reconciliation, active nonviolence, and liberation, and we trust that the Holy Spirit accompanies us and empowers us to live as Jesus lived.

Jesus’ presence continues to help us break down walls that divide – if we will accept His help to do so.  May we build the Beloved Community wherever we find ourselves, so that the dignity and well being of all your children are cherished and celebrated.

We pray constantly for your reign on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

[Some materials adapted from On Earth Peace and Linda Fry, Peace Advocate in Mansfield, OH.]

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