“Low at his feet lay they burden of carefulness:
high on his heart he will bear it for thee,
comfort thy sorrows, and answer they prayerfulness,
guiding thy steps as may best for thee be.”
[J S B Monsell]
be the encourager and sustainer
of those who strive for human reconciliation now.
Through all doubts and difficulties
keep alive in them
the vision of your better way.
Help us see in each other a family likeness
Lord of hope and compassion, Friend of Abraham,
Who called our father in faith to journey to a new future,
We remember before you the country of Iraq from which he was summoned,
Ancient land of the Middle East, realm of the two rivers,
Birthplace of great cities and of civilization.
May we who name ourselves children of Abraham,
Call to mind all the peoples of the Middle East who honor him as father.
Those who guard and celebrate the Torah,
Those for whom the Word has walked on earth and lived among us
Those who follow their prophet, who listened for the word in the desert
And shaped a community after what he heard.
Lord of reconciliation, God of the painful sacrifice uniting humankind,
We long for the day when you will provide for all nations of the earth your blessing of peace.
But now when strife and war are at hand, help us to see in each other a family likeness, our inheritance from our one father Abraham.
Keep hatred from the threshold of our hearts, and preserve within us a generous spirit which recognizes in both foe and friend a common humanity.
This we ask in the name of the one who came to offer us the costly gift of abundant life.
(In Arabic Abraham is often called ‘El Khalil’ which means ‘the Friend [of God]’. Ur and Haran , the cities from which, according to Genesis, Abraham was summoned by God both lie within the territory of modern Iraq.)
“A candle is a protest at midnight.
It is a non-conformist.
It says to the darkness,
I beg to differ.”
A better way
God of peace, overturn our warring;
God of mercy, awaken our forgiveness;
God of healing, guide us to a better way.
For the peoples of Iraq
Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq
facing the horror of a full-scale war,
and for those people who may be called upon to fight.
Help us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations.
Help all of us: individuals, nations, governments and world leaders to remember –
the unnecessary loss of life for millions of innocent people,
the scale of human suffering that war brings,
the right of Iraqi people to determine their own future,
the gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity that are committed in the name of war,
nobody has total power over any country or its people but God alone.
Let us be open to God’s words in our forthcoming decisions and try not to be God ourselves.
[Fleur Dorrell, Mothers’ Union]
A Call to Peace
Lord, help us to lead our world in the ways of justice and peace.
Help us to be at peace with ourselves,
our families, friends and neighbours.
May peace not conflict arise from our hearts wherever we go.
Help us to be active peacemakers –
to bring peace into the world by whatever means we are able.
Help us never to stand back and watch people suffer,
but to look for solutions in the smallest and the largest situations.
May our peace be a sign of strength and not of weakness,
that others may follow peace with peace. Amen.
[Fleur Dorrell, Mothers’ Union]
“We must strive:
To bring the light of the Gospel to those living in darkness,
To bring the hope of the Gospel to those living in despair,
To bring the healing of the Gospel to the lonely,
the disadvantaged, the marginalized.
And to bring the peace of the Gospel to a divided world.”
Lord, come to our assistance
O Lord, you came to bring peace,
to offer reconciliation, to heal the separation between people,
and to show how it is possible for men and women to overcome
their differences and celebrate their unity.
You revealed your Father as a Father of all people,
a Father without resentments or desires for revenge,
a Father who cares for each one of his children with an
infinite love and mercy and who does not hesitate
to invite them into his own home.
But our world today does not look like a world that knows you Father.
Our nations are torn by chaos, hatred, violence and war.
In many places death rules.
O Lord, do not forget the world into which you came
to save your people;
Do not turn your back on your children who desire to
live in harmony but who are constantly entangled in
lust, violence, greed, suspicion, jealousy and
hunger for power.
Bring your peace to this world, a peace we cannot make ourselves.
Awaken the consciousness of all peoples and their leaders;
Raise up those who can speak and act for peace,
and show us new ways in which hatred can be left behind,
wounds can be healed, and unity restored.
O God, come to our assistance. O Lord, make haste to help us.
[Abridged from a prayer by Henri Nouwen]
For the unity of humanity
God, you have made us of one blood,
your common people,
and sent Jesus, to restore us by the shedding of his blood;
so direct us by your spirit,
that recovering our common humanity
your world may be renewed in peace.