Friday, May 28, 2004

Prayers for Peace

The following are prayers suggested by Episcopal Peace Fellowship members as an offering to you:

Lord we pray that you will lead us into your LOVE - You sent Jesus as a token of that love.

Lord we pray that you will lead us into your JUSTICE. You sent the Prophets and gave us The Law to show us your justice.

Lord we pray that you will lead us into your RECONCILIATION. You showed us how to forgive and reconcile.

Lord we pray that you will lead us into your PEACE. Your LOVE and JUSTICE and your way of RECONCILIATION. Amen
(by Bishop William Davidson, Past Chair of EPF)

Lord God, we pray for all the bombed out, burned out, driven out, relocated, wondering , wandering, unwilling pilgrims in this world. Forgive us for our part in uprooting them. Restore their lives, make us partners with in the rebuilding of their lives. We pray in the name of the Son of Man, who had no place to lay His head.
(by Arnold Kenseth and Richard Unsworth in Prayers for Worship Leaders)

Take all hate from our hearts, O God, and teach us how to take it from the hearts of others. Open our eyes and show us what things make it easy for hatred to flourish and hard for us to conquer it. Then help us to change these things.
(by Alan Paton)

Spirit of God, forgive us. For 2000 years, we Christians have failed to live the Gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Instead of sharing with our sisters and brothers, instead of feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and healing the sick; we have stored up treasures and sent the vulnerable, sick, hungry and homeless from our door.

Instead of forgiving , we have sought vengeance retribution, harsh punishment and death. We have asked the state to kill in our name.

Instead of crying out against injustice, we have dominated, discriminated and demeaned; and we have benefited from the economic oppression of our neighbors.

Instead of holding your Creation in sacred trust, instead of respecting the inter-connectedness and beauty of our universe; we have wasted and polluted, disrupted the balance, and ignored our responsibility to those who come after us.

Instead of loving our enemies, we have demonized them. Instead of peace, nonviolence and reconciliation; we Christians have unleashed in your name, violent crusades, slavery, the Holocaust, and nuclear war. We have killed through landmines, depleted uranium, bombing runs, smart weapons and economic sanctions.

We confess that we have neglected our prayer life and community building. We have lost our way and are not the people you called us to be. Accept our prayer and restore us. In your mercy, forgive us. Forgive us. Forgive us. Amen.
(by Janet Chisholm, Vice Chair of EPF)

O Lord Jesus Christ, whose perfect love met death by violence and was not extinguished; so enter the hearts and minds of those affected by violence that frailty may give way to your strength, loss to gain, bitterness to your total and victorious love. (by Susan Williams)

O God, who called the peacemakers your children, we beseech you that as you did send Your Son with the heavenly voice of peace on earth to be the Prince of Peace to men, so you will keep our hearts and minds in his peace, and make us both to love and defend the same. Guide the counsels of the President and of all leaders, in equity and steadfastness, to establish unity and concord among the nations, that all mankind may render you the fruits of peace and righteousness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (Diocese of Canterbury)

Book of Common Prayer, p. 823
BCP p. 260

Oh God, we stand before you with so many fears and uncertainties--imagined and real. Come into us and all people who truly seek your way. Bring into creation the chaos that is war and use us as your sons and daughters to show and live the way of peace and love. For we take our stand on your promise that love is stronger than hate, kindness greater than revenge. Turn our hearts, ever convert us to this truth and make us more whole as your Body in the world. Through your child, Jesus, who overcame violence and death with love and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and for eternity. AMEN
(by Rev. T. Scott Allen, EPF Board)

Gracious God, after the Resurrection Jesus bestowed upon the disciples the gift of Peace by proclaiming "My Peace I leave with you, my Peace I give to you." Inspire us with that hope in the gift of shalom and salaam, the gift of wholeness and the promise of your presence.

Give us wisdom to seek nonviolence as an answer to the violence of our lives and world.

Give us courage to seek wholeness in a fractured and divided world, to find reconciliation rather than revenge, to interfere with the madness of militarism and war.

May your presence fill us and others with the thirst for unity, wholeness,
and a desire to see all people valued as created in your image. May we and others receive your shalom and salaam, that we might be instruments of your love. Blessed be your name forever. Amen.
(by Rev. David Selzer, Chair of EPF)

Lead us from death to life
Lead us from falsehood to truth
Lead us from despair to hope
Lead us from fear to trust
Lead us from hate to love
Lead us from war to peace
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our Universe.

Loving God, We beg your forgiveness for the war that the U.S. is waging against the Iraqi people,for destroying Iraq's infrastructure by massive bombings, for using highly toxic weapons that contaminate Iraqi land and water, and are causing major increases in cancers among children. Forgive us for imposing economic sanctions that have killed over one million Iraqis, mostly children. Forgive us for placing oil interests above human welfare.

Heal us of our moral blindness and fill our hearts with love. Help us to renounce all killing, to stop demonizing our adversaries, to value all life as sacred, and to see the Iraqi people as our brothers and sisters. Empower us to engage in nonviolent action to end this slaughter of the innocents. O God, make us channels of your peace and reconciliation. Amen
(by Art Laffin)

Christ, no one on earth really wants the pain and horror of war. We do not want to kill or be killed, to hurt or be hurt. But we all see injustice, and sometimes it makes us angry and we see no other way to right the wrong except by war. Christ, teach us the ways of peace! Calm our angry hearts and grant to all peoples and their leaders patience in the search for peace and justice. Help us to be ready to give up some of our comforts and power and pride, so that war will leave the face of the earth and we may work for you in peace.
(by Avery Brooks, in Plain Prayers in a Complicated World)

Two Prayers for Peace:
l.) Eternal God, the Creator of all, we commit to you the needs of the whole world: where there is hatred, give love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is distrust, faith; where there is darkness, light. We pray for those who out of the bitter memories of strife and loss are seeking a more excellent way for the nations of the world, whereby justice and order may be maintained and the differences of people be resolved in equity. Bestow your blessings, we pray You, upon all who labor for peace and righteousness among the peoples, that the day may be hastened when war shall be no more and Your will only shall govern the nations upon earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

2.) Almighty God, Creator of all people upon the earth, most heartily we pray that you will deliver your children from the cruelties of war and lead all the nations into the way of peace. Teach us to put away all bitterness and misunderstanding, both in Church and State; that we, with all the people may draw together as one community of peoples and dwell evermore in the fellowship of that Prince of Peace, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and ever. Amen.

Grant us prudence in proportion to our power,
wisdom in proportion to our science,
humaneness in proportion to our wealth and might.
And bless all races and peoples
who travel in friendship along the road to justice,
liberty and lasting peace.
(Conference of European Churches, Gloria Deo Worship Book 1986)

Beloved God, we give you thanks for the life and message of Jesus, Jesus the Rebel, who remains our guide and inspiration and the promise of Hope in our time.
For Jesus calls us to love in a time of indifference, to nonviolence in a time of injustice, and to life in a time of death. He teaches us not only how to live, but how to die; how to transform not only the world but our own broken hearts, as well. His revolution transcends all our dreams for a better world and declares your reign here and now, at this very moment in human history.

In Jesus, we meet you, our beloved God. We see your true face. From now on we know that you are not a god of despair but of hope, not a god of wrath but of mercy; not a god of condemnation but of compassion; not a god of imperial power but of suffering; not a god of domination but of loving service; not a god of oppression but of liberation; not a god who blesses injustice but the God of justice; not a god of war but of peace; not a god of violence but of nonviolence; not a god of death but of Life. From now on we know that we all have been created to share in the fullness of life, in your love and unending mercy.

We step forward into the future, supporting each other, building community, making peace, practicing nonviolence, resisting the forces of war, and reconciling with our enemies, come what may. We have met Jesus the Rebel. He is alive and goes before us, summoning us to carry on the mission of nonviolence. We have been changed forever.

Beloved God, you have begun the revolution within us.
Our hearts burn with the fire of Hope. Amen.
(by Janet Chisholm, Adapted from and inspired by Jesus the Rebel by John Dear)


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