Prayers for Peace

Gracious Lord,
we dream of a world free of poverty and oppression,
and we yearn for a world free of vengeance and violence.
we pray for your peace.

When our hearts ache for the victims of war and oppression,
help us to remember that you healed people simply by touching them…,
and give us faith in our ability to comfort and heal bodies and minds and spirits
that have been broken by violence.

When the injustice of this world seems too much for us to handle,
help us to remember that you fed five thousand people
with only five loaves of bread and two fish…,
and give us hope that what we have to offer will turn out to be enough, too.

When fear of the power and opinions of others
tempts us not to speak up for the least among us,
help us to remember that you dared to turn over the tables of money changers…,
and give us the courage to risk following you without counting the cost.

When we feel ourselves fill with anger at those who are violent and oppressive,
help us remember that you prayed for those who killed you…,
and give us compassion for our enemies, too.

When we tell ourselves that we have given all we can to bring peace to this world,
help us to remember your sacrifice… ,
and give us the miracle of losing a little more of ourselves
in serving you and our neighbors.

Walk with us, Lord, as we answer your call to be peacemakers.
Increase our compassion, our generosity and our hospitality for the least of your children.
Give us the courage, the patience, the serenity, the self-honesty
and the gentleness of spirit that are needed in a world filled with turmoil and terror.  Amen.

~ written by Jack Knox, pastor of Salem (Oregon) Mennonite Church
Posted on Glocal Christianity: the blog of Matt Stone 

Dear God, we hear of peace only as a faraway dream;
we long for it in our lives, in the lives of our families,
our friends, and our countries.
But with each passing day
the prospect for peace
seems to be increasingly tantalizing.
Restlessness seems to be
the order of our present existence:
our inner restlessness rooted in various anxieties,
our societal restlessness rooted in
the evils that go on around us,
the restlessness of our world
plagued by conflicts of all sorts.

Dear God, we hear of peace only as a dream;
a dream we would love to be part of,
a dream we long to have in our hearts, in our neighborhoods,
in our countries, and even in our churches.

We pray that we may experience that peace
that passes all understanding,
we pray, O God, that we may experience You,
the Peace of the world.

Penetrate the grieving heart,
accompany the lonely one,
remember the forgotten,
reclaim the strayed,
make music out of the
disharmony of conflict and chaos.
Let our restless hearts rest in you, O God.
This we pray in the name of the Christ,
who beckons us into the vision of Peace. Amen.

~ written by David Tonghou Ngong
Posted on the Lakeshore Baptist Church website

Hidden, eternal, unfathomable, all-merciful God,
beside you there is no other god.
You are great and worthy of all praise;
your power and grace sustain the universe.

God of faithfulness without falsity, just and truthful,
you chose Abraham, your devout servant,
to be the father of many nations,
and you have spoken through the prophets.

Hallowed and praised be your name throughout the world.
May your will be done wherever people live.
Living and gracious God, hear our prayer;
our guilt has become great.
Forgive us children of Abraham our wars,
our enmities, our misdeeds toward one another.
Rescue us from all distress and give us peace.
Guardian of our destiny,
bless the leaders and rulers of the nations,
that they may not covet power and glory
but act responsibly
for the welfare and peace of humankind.

Guide our religious communities and those set over them,
that they may not only proclaim the message of peace
but also show it in their lives.

And to all of us, and to those who do not worship among us,
give your grace, mercy, and all good things,
and lead us, God of the living,
on the right way to your eternal glory. Amen.

~ written by Hans Kung
Posted in Prayers for Peace and Justice, on the Reformed Church in America website

Great God, who has told us
“Vengeance is mine,”
save us from ourselves,
save us from the vengeance in our hearts
and the acid in our souls.

Save us from our desire to hurt as we have been hurt,
to punish as we have been punished,
to terrorize as we have been terrorized.

Give us the strength it takes
to listen rather than to judge,
to trust rather than to fear,
to try again and again
to make peace even when peace eludes us.

We ask, O God, for the grace
to be our best selves.

We ask for the vision
to be builders of the human community
rather than its destroyers.
We ask for the humility as a people
to understand the fears and hopes of other peoples.

We ask for the love it takes
to bequeath to the children of the world to come
more than the failures of our own making.
We ask for the heart it takes
to care for all the peoples
of Afghanistan and Iraq, of Palestine and Israel
as well as for ourselves.

Give us the depth of soul, O God,
to constrain our might,
to resist the temptations of power
to refuse to attack the attackable,
to understand
that vengeance begets violence,
and to bring peace–not war–wherever we go.

For You, O God, have been merciful to us.
For You, O God, have been patient with us.
For You, O God, have been gracious to us.

And so may we be merciful
and patient
and gracious
and trusting
with these others whom you also love.

This we ask through Jesus,
the one without vengeance in his heart.
This we ask forever and ever. Amen

~ written by Sister Joan Chittister, Benedictine Sister of Erie
Posted on World Prayers

Lord, we pray for the power to be gentle;
the strength to be forgiving;
the patience to be understanding;
and the endurance to accept the consequences
of holding to what we believe to be right.

May we put our trust in the power of good to overcome evil
and the power of love to overcome hatred.
We pray for the vision to see and the faith to believe
in a world emancipated from violence,
a new world where fear shall no longer lead men to commit injustice,
nor selfishness make them bring suffering to others.

Help us to devote our whole life and thought and energy
to the task of making peace,
praying always for the inspiration and the power
to fulfill the destiny for which we and all men were created.

~ Prayer for World Peace, 1978.
Posted on Catholic Online website.

Loving God, you inspire us with love for all persons
and concern for the well-being of all creation.

Give us today the strength and courage
to transform the compassion of our hearts
into acts of peace, mercy, and justice.

Forgive us for the arrogance that leads to moral blindness,
for desires for vengeance and retaliation,
and for willingness to sacrifice others for our own security and avarice.

Help us to renounce all forms of violence:
prejudice, unfair allegations, intolerance, and injury.

Give us the courage to resist threatening postures,
calls to arms, mobilization of troops and weapons, and
all actions that threaten the lives and livelihoods of innocent people.

Empower us to live out the caring presence
of the merciful and generous persons we claim to be.

Make us channels of your peace, bearers of healing,
women and men who hear and respond with alacrity
to pleas for justice in our world.

We ask all this in the name of Jesus
who came among us to show us the way.

~ from the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas
Posted on the Center of Concern website

God of justice and peace, love and life,
we confess that we are often overcome by the loud and persistent voices of fear and anger.
We do not hear the voice of Jesus, which seems but a whisper.

Fear trumpets,
“Kill those whom you fear may kill you.
The strong shall inherit the earth and the rich shall forever rule the earth.”
Yet Jesus says,
“Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.”

Anger proclaims,
“Those who live by the sword shall not only live, but flourish. Might makes right.”
But Jesus says,
“Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword shall die by the sword.”

Fear instructs us,
“Forgive no one. Those who wrong you are wrong; by forgiving them,
you excuse the wrong and only encourage them.”
Yet Jesus warns us,
“If you do not forgive people their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Anger declares,
“Hate those who hate you; loving those who hate you
only encourages them to take further advantage of you.”
But Jesus asks,
“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you?
Even sinners love those who love them.”

Fear shouts out,
“Show everyone how strong we are so they will be afraid to challenge us.
This is the way to prosper.”
Yet Jesus asks,
“What does it prosper people to gain the whole world and lose their life?”

The voices of anger and fear seem so strong,
the wisdom so alluring, the way so sensible and safe.
Still Jesus tells us that there is another way—
the way of peace and justice, the way of love and life.

When we lack the courage to seek your way, O God,
when fear and anger overwhelm our faith,
encourage and embolden us.
Open us, O God, that we may follow the Prince of Peace.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen

~ from the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
Posted on the National Council of Churches USA website

Almighty, all-merciful God,
through Christ Jesus you have taught us to love one another,
to love our neighbors as ourselves,
and even to love our enemies.
In times of violence and fear,
let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts,
so that we may not be overcome with evil
but overcome evil with good.
Help us to see each person in light of the love and grace
you have shown us in Christ.
Put away the nightmares of terror
and awaken us to the dawning of your new creation.
Establish among us a future where peace reigns,
justice is done with mercy, and all are reconciled.
We ask these things in the name
and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

~ From a collection of Prayers for Times of National and International Crisis and Tragedy
Posted on the PCUSA website

Out of the depths we cry to you, O Lord.

Lord, hear our voices!

Above the sound of rockets and the weeping of those bereaved,
hear our earnest prayers!

We look on in horror
at children killed,
homes and schools hit,
smoking rubble.

We listen in fear
to voices speaking defiance,
vowing revenge,
claiming violence as a solution.

We mourn with
all who have lost loved ones,
all who have fled the fighting,
all who will lie down in fear this night.

We wait for the Lord, our souls wait,

and only in the Prince of Peace can we hope;
our souls wait for the Lord,
more than those who watch for the morning,
more than those who watch in fear for what destruction the morning’s light will show.

O peoples of this troubled region,

may your angry voices be calmed,
may love drive out hatred,
may God’s peace settle upon you.

May God redeem all who call for further killing.

May the horrors of these days give fresh determination to the peacemakers.
And may we see conflict here no more. Amen.

~ Posted on the Christian Aid website

Gracious God,
Increase our doubt that armaments and wars bring peace;
that science and intelligence alone can cure the ills of the world;
that human beings are the controllers of all things.
Give us grace to blush for our mistakes and arrogance,
forgiveness for our foolishness
and power to live as stewards of creation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord

Merciful God,
deliver us from
the cowardice that dares not face new truth
the laziness that is content with half truth
the arrogance that thinks is knows all truth

May we plead no extenuating circumstances,
o frailty of nature, no force of temptations,
no persuasions of those who lead us astray.
Grasp us with zeal and fiery commitment
to the purposes of grace in Jesus Christ our Lord

Almighty God,
You have brought us to this hour by our several ways.
Unfaithful as we have been, You have nevertheless kept faith with us.
Pry us from the host of distractions to which we give ourselves so freely.
Strengthen our resolve to commit ourselves to the Gospel.
Counter our desire for wealth and reputation with an urge to serve
In the way of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

~ from the Mission and Discipleship Council of the Church of Scotland.  Posted on the Starters for Sunday website.

Holy God, on the eve of yet another war, we recognize that it is already too late–
the children’s bodies are already wrapped up for burial
the widows already grieve
the ground is covered with the dust of grenades and bombs
War has entered the world again, but we pretended not to notice because it didn’t involve us.

Now our eyes are opened again, but we still cannot see the full picture.

We don’t know all of what happened. We don’t know the end.
We can speculate.
We can hope.
We can spray our own bullets and missiles.
We can pray.
We can angrily denounce and at the same time ready the warships.

Lord, teach us again and again how to beat our swords into plowshares
and our spears into pruning hooks
How to turn our weapons from instruments of violence into instruments of rebuilding;
to plant seeds where there was burning
in the ground and in the hearts of the people,

may we plant seeds of hope and peace

May we always, always, always
pray for the day
when nation shall not lift up sword against nation
when we shall learn war no more.

May we do more than pray
May we live into this hope by teaching ourselves and our children
How to live in peace with one another
How to build peace between one another
How to teach peace to others
How to live Your peace in our world.

We pray for peace.

We pray with our hands and our feet and our hearts and our mouths.
We pray for peace with our very lives.

O Prince of Peace, come, come again
Come again and teach us how to be peacemakers.

Amen.

~ written by Rev. Mindi, and posted on Rev-o-lution