Evangelicals for Social
O Lord our
to come before you with prayers about politics because our knowledge is so
limited, our perspective so one-sided. Protect us, O Lord, from using our
prayers as political propaganda.
tens of thousands of people whom you love-Iraqis and Americans, Christians
and Muslims-have been maimed or killed in Iraq. We must come to you for
O God of
peace, freedom and justice, please bring the killing to an end.
Iraq and all the Middle East, indeed all your world, a land overflowing
with genuine freedom and lasting justice.
that Americans seek, not that you be on our side, but that America be on
your side. Grant America the humility to work respectfully with other
nations in a true partnership.
quickly, O Lord, to the time when everyone may sit securely under their
own vine and fig tree and no one will make them afraid. May your peace be
our peace, O God of peace.
In the Name
of Christ our Lord, the Prince of Peace.
Hymns for Peace
A Hymn for Peace
188.8.131.52 ("The God of Abraham Praise")
Hymn for Peace" is dedicated to the memory of Shaul Lahav, grandson of
Helen and Paul Loeb, who was killed on November 18, 2003, on the road
between Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Another son is killed,
Another daughter dies,
And loving, waiting homes are filled
With loved ones' cries.
As rivers never sleep,
So wars flow on and on.
Hang up your harps, sit down and weep
For those now gone!
We grieve for children lost,
For hearts too sad to pray;
We mourn, O Lord, the growing cost
Of hatred's way.
And sure as threats increase
And anger turns to war,
We pray that we may find a peace
Worth struggling for.
We know your way, O Lord,
For all your people here:
A plowshare from a fighting sword,
A transformed spear!
Now comfort those who grieve,
Be in each saddened home,
And by your grace may we believe--
And seek Shalom.
137:1-2 and Isaiah 2:4
Tune: Hebrew melody adaptation by Thomas Olivers and
Meyer Lyon, 1770.
Text: © 2003 Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette gives free one-time use of this hymn to
congregations that support Church World Service.
Click here for
another Gillette Hymn,
God’s Love is Always Stronger
A Litany of Witness
By the Rev. Kathleen McTigue (Senior Minister, Unitarian Society of New
Haven, Hamden, CT)
together this evening to honor our grief in this time of war, a weary
grief born from violence that breaks bodies and hearts, families and
communities. We gather as a circle of remembrance, to honor those now
missing from the circle.
witness to our loss.
the ones we knew and loved who perished, and we honor the strangers whose
smiling faces and shattered hopes have haunted the edges of the news all
through this long year.
witness to our loss.
those 2,000 soldiers—our children, spouses, mothers, fathers, brothers,
sisters, friends—those brave ones who turned their faces towards the
danger rather than look away, who offered their bodies to serve our
nation, who paid the price of war with bone and sinew, breath and blood.
witness to our heroes.
have learned that our world is a complex web of sorrows, a litany of
wrongs and injustices into which we are bound. Our pain has sometimes led
us to the ancient and dangerous equation of an eye for every eye, a tooth
for every tooth.
witness to our choices.
strangers half a world away whose lives have also been lost, innocent
others just as beloved as our dead, just as worthy of lives rich and long.
witness to our violence.
Yet we know
ourselves to be people who hunger for righteousness. We hear the
persistent whispers from our prophets and teachers who remind us of the
sweet movement from the fist to the open hand, and tell us how urgent is
the call to that movement now.
witness to the power of forgiveness.
only one human tribe across all the earth. Within each confused and
yearning heart is the capacity for unspeakable cruelty, and the seed of
great goodness that can open us to new life.
witness to our unity.
us we hear the language of war sounding out. We are called into the
stronger lilt and music of a different syntax, a language of peace, a
language in which our future can still beckon us as a place of safety and
nurture, justice and harmony.
witness to the way of peace.
Compilation of worship resources focused on war
with Iraq, from the Unitarian Univeralist
Seeds represent the 12 prayers for peace prayed in Assisi, Italy on the
Day of Prayer for World Peace during the United Nations International Year
of Peace, 1986. The prayers were brought to the United States and
entrusted to the care of the children at The Life Experience School.
bee gathering honey from the different flowers, the wise person accepts
the essence of the different scriptures and sees only the good in all
HINDU PRAYER FOR PEACE
Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real. Oh God, lead us from darkness
to light. Oh God, lead us from death to immortality. Shanti, Shanti,
Shanti unto all. Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial
regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing, May
herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all
beneficent beings bring peace to us. May thy Vedic Law propagate peace all
through the world. May all things be a source of peace to us. And may thy
peace itself bestow peace on all, and may that peace come to me also.
BUDDHIST PRAYER FOR PEACE
May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly
from their illnesses. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may
those bound be free. May the powerless find power, and may people think of
befriending one another. May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wildernesses--the children, the aged, the unprotected--be guarded
by beneficent celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
JAINIST PRAYER FOR PEACE
Peace and Universal Love is the essence of the Gospel preached by all the
Enlightened Ones. The Lord has preached that equanimity is the Dharma.
Forgive do I creatures all, and let all creatures forgive me. Unto all
have I amity, and unto none enmity. Know that violence is the root cause
of all miseries in the world. Violence, in fact, is the knot of bondage.
"Do not injure any living being." This is the eternal, perennial, and
unalterable way of spiritual life. A weapon howsoever powerful it may be,
can always be superseded by a superior one; but no weapon can, however, be
superior to non-violence and love.
MUSLIM PRAYER FOR PEACE
In the name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord
of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations,
that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the
enemy incline toward peace, do thou also incline toward peace, and trust
in God, for the Lord is the one that heareth and knoweth all things. And
the servants of God, Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in
humility, and when we address, them, we say "PEACE."
SIKH PRAYER FOR PEACE
"God adjudges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear: that
Truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living." Know that
we attaineth God when we loveth, and only that victory endures in
consequence of which no one is defeated.
BAHAI' PRAYER FOR PEACE
Be generous in prosperity, and thankful in adversity. Be fair in they
judgement, and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in
darkness, and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind, and a guiding
light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of
humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree
SHINTO PRAYER FOR PEACE
"Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us, I believe,
are all our brothers and sisters, why are there constant troubles in this
world? Why do winds and waves rise in the ocean surrounding us? I only
earnestly wish that the wind will soon puff away all the clouds which are
hanging over the tops of the mountains."
NATIVE AFRICAN PRAYER FOR PEACE
Almighty God, the Great Thumb we cannot evade to tie any knot; the Roaring
Thunder that splits mighty trees; the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
even the footprints of an antelope on a rock mass here on Earth. You are
the one who does not hesitate to respond to our call. You are the
cornerstone of peace.
NATIVE AMERICAN PRAYER FOR PEACE
Oh Great Spirit of our Ancestors, I raise my pipe to you. To your
messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth who provides for your
children. Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect,
and to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let
us learn to share all the good things that you provide for us on this
ZOROASTRIAN PRAYER FOR PEACE
We pray to God to eradicate all the misery in the world: that
understanding triumph over ignorance, that generosity triumph over
indifference, that trust triumph over contempt, and that truth triumph
JEWISH PRAYER FOR PEACE
Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths
of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares and our
spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against
nation--neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
CHRISTIAN PRAYER FOR PEACE
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they shall be known as the Children of
God. But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who
hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To
those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from those
who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to
everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods, do not
ask them again. And as you wish that others would do to you do, do so to
Peace Seeds are distributed by the
children at The Life Experience School under the care and direction of The
Peace Abbey, 2 North Main Street, Sherborn, Massachusetts 01770
by the Rev. Anthony P.
First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County,
Orange, New Jersey
Delivered at the Isaiah Wall opposite the United Nations on Wednesday,
March 26, 2003
us invoke the Love that moves above us and below us, around us and within
us. Let us invoke the Spirit of Love that made the banner I saw hanging
over the freeway in East Orange, New Jersey, this morning: an outline of a
dove and in letters five feet high one word: Peace.
invoke the living spirit of the peacemakers who have gone before us. We
have recently lost Philip Berrigan and Nicholas Cardell. Let us invoke
their spirit. Let us invoke the Spirit of Love that is lived as solidarity
of each with all, of one with the other:
man with woman…
adult with child…
black with white…
Christian with Buddhist with Jew with Muslim…
acknowledge our interconnectedness.
Let us make real the solidarity we know we may make real as we acknowledge
that it is broken…
…broken by criminalizing and imprisoning
young men of color way out of proportion to their numbers…
….broken by taxing every penny earned at minimum wage while hardly taxing
fortunes made on high profits…
….broken by inadequately funding of education in rural towns and inner
cities, the education of children who are poor or black or immigrant and
by under funding of education making military enlistment in the so-called
voluntary army the only way up that many can see…
…broken by sending these oppressed young men and women to kill and be
killed by other oppressed men and women, conscripts of a dictator or
conscripts of a dictatorial economy…
…broken by bombs however precise that destroy homes, shatter neighborhoods
and make children orphans or even kill them.
invoke the Love that moves above and below us, around us and within us.
Let us invoke the Spirit of Love that is greater than us, but which is
made real through us -- and only though us.
Let us invoke that human solidarity that makes justice possible and
through which by making justice, we make peace possible.
invoke love and live it as solidarity.
are our prayers.
From Rev. Dr. M. Maureen Killoran
March 20, 2003
Every time I turn around, I hear more words of war.
When I look at the paper, I see the color of blood.
When I listen to people on the street, I feel their anxiety
as they talk about what might be or what was,
both years ago and yesterday.
somebody tells me, is a chimera.
Humanity is a violent animal run amok.
All we can look for is more of the same.
function, a dear friend says.
All I can do is feel the children’s pain.
smiles in silence, makes mental statues
of the way the world could be.
In the bar a woman drowns her fears.
On the parkway, a man makes daisy chains to tell his dreams.
Oh God, it
is too hard to bear, we pray.
Oh Mother, take this pain away.
Once opened, our eyes cannot refuse to see.
Unlike the generations gone before, we cannot say we didn’t know.
We can no longer wash our hands.
For now we know that “they” is “us.”
There is only one world, no “them” but only “we.”
Oh God, our
prayer-of-now, let me not abandon to despair.
Oh Mother, give me strength to do what e’er I can.
Grant that those I touch each day may feel my core of hope,
The stubborn refusal to let destruction win.
Oh God, give
me courage to endure this time of trial.
Oh Mother, help me devote my heart and hands to peace.
delivered at Fourth Universalist Society in New York City
by the Rev. Marjorie Bowens-Wheatley,
March 9, 2003
“O God about
whom we know so little, but ask so much,”
Goddess of Justice, giver and sustainer all Life:
daughters and sons call upon you once again
as we did in centuries past.
We have known war, and once again, there are rumors of wars.
And so we come this morning
to lay this burden on the altar of prayer.
We know that
violence cannot sustain us …
And so we seek a new way:
a way that leads to peace …
a way that leads to the promise of
freedom, justice, and security
for all the peoples of the Earth.
Oh Thou who
gives us perfect freedom to find the ways of truth:
We know that
democracy is a fragile thing that needs to be guarded;
And some of us see our nation taking a backward step—isolating and
insulating itself from the world.
It’s easy to
think that our voices are not being heard;
that we have been silenced.
And under such circumstances,
one can easily resort to disillusionment and anger.
But let our
thoughts not turn to cynicism and despair.
Let our fears not become helplessness or hopelessness.
leaders to transcend their delusion
about the righteousness of their cause.
Help them to respect the Sacredness of Life more than conquest.
coming days and weeks,
as we wander through pathways unknown,
“Grant us wisdom. Grant us courage.
Lest we miss your peaceful goal.”
As'Salaam Alakim. Blessed be. Shalom, and Amen.
From the Farewell Message of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1960
Submitted by the Rev. Paul Beedle
have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast
proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are
directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on
security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.
Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms
industry is new in the American experience. The total influence –
political, even spiritual – is felt in every city, every state house,
office of the Federal Government. We recognize the imperative need for
development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.
toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure
our society . . .
must learn how to compose differences – not with arms, but with
intellect and decent purpose. … To all the peoples of the world, I once
give expression to America’s prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray
that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great
human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to
it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its
blessings, those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy
responsibility; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others, will
learn charity, and that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance
e made to disappear from the earth; and that in the goodness of time, all
peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding
of mutual respect and love.”
Responsive Reading (adapted from a poem by Mzwakhe Mbuli)
Now is the time,
MEN: To climb up the mountain and reason against habit,
ALL: Now is the time.
Now is the time,
WOMEN: To renew the barren soil of nature, ruined by the winds of
ALL: Now is the time.
Now is the time,
MEN: To commence the litany of hope,
ALL: Now is the time.
Now is the time,
WOMEN: To give me roses, not to keep them for my grave to come.
ALL: Now is the time.
Now is the time,
MEN: Give them to me while my heart breaks.
ALL: Now is the time.
Now is the time,
WOMEN: Give them today, while my heart yearns for jubilee.
ALL: Now is the time.
submitted by the Rev. Louis V. Schwebius, Consulting Minister, Unitarian
Universalist Congregation of Central Nassau, NY and Unitarian Universalist
Fellowship of Bellport, NY.
The War Prayer
prayer was written in 1904-05, it is believed, and found after Twain’s
death in his unpublished manuscripts. It was first published in 1923 in
Albert Bigelow Paine's anthology, Europe and Elsewhere. The story is in
response to a particular war, namely the Philippine-American War of
1899-1902, which Twain opposed.)
It was a
time of great and exalting excitement. The country was up in arms, the war
was on, in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism; the drums were
beating, the bands playing, the toy pistols popping, the bunched
firecrackers hissing and spluttering; on every hand and far down the
receding and fading spread of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness
of flags flashed in the sun; daily the young volunteers marched down the
wide avenue gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and
mothers and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices choked with
happy emotion as they swung by; nightly the packed mass meetings listened,
panting, to patriot oratory which stirred the deepest deeps of their
hearts, and which they interrupted at briefest intervals with cyclones of
applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while; in the churches
the pastors preached devotion to flag and country, and invoked the God of
Battles beseeching His aid in our good cause in outpourings of fervid
eloquence which moved every listener. It was indeed a glad and gracious
time, and the half dozen rash spirits that ventured to disapprove of the
war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness straightway got such a stern
and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake they quickly
shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
morning came – next day the battalions would leave for the front; the
church was filled; the volunteers were there, their young faces alight
with martial dreams – visions of the stern advance, the gathering
momentum, the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe,
the tumult, the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender! Then
home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored, submerged in golden
seas of glory! With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and
envied by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers to send
forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag, or, failing, die
the noblest of noble deaths. The service proceeded; a war chapter from the
Old Testament was read; the first prayer was said; it was followed by an
organ burst that shook the building, and with one impulse the house rose,
with glowing eyes and beating hearts, and poured out that tremendous
all-terrible! Thou who ordainest! Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy
the “long” prayer. None could remember the like of it for passionate
pleading and moving and beautiful language. The burden of its supplication
was, that an ever-merciful and benignant Father of us all would watch over
our noble young soldiers, and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their
patriotic work; bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour
of peril, bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident,
invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe, grant to them
and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory –
stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step up the main aisle,
his eyes fixed upon the minister, his long body clothed in a robe that
reached to his feet, his head bare, his white hair descending in a frothy
cataract to his shoulders, his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to
ghastliness. With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent
way; without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side and stood there
waiting. With shut lids the preacher, unconscious of his presence,
continued with his moving prayer, and at last finished it with the words,
uttered in fervent appeal, "Bless our arms, grant us the victory, O Lord
our God, Father and Protector of our land and flag!" The stranger touched
his arm, motioned him to step aside -- which the startled minister did --
and took his place. During some moments he surveyed the spellbound
audience with solemn eyes, in which burned an uncanny light; then in a
deep voice he said:
“I come from
the Throne – bearing a message from Almighty God!” The words smote the
house with a shock; if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention. “He
has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd, and will grant it if
such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to
you its import – that is to say, its full import. For it is like unto many
of the prayers of men, in that it asks for more than he who utters it is
aware of – except he pause and think.
servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought?
Is it one prayer? No, it is two – one uttered, the other not. Both have
reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the
unspoken. Ponder this – keep it in mind. If you would beseech a blessing
upon yourself, beware! lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a
neighbor at the same time. If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your
crop which needs it, by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon
some neighbor's crop which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
heard your servant's prayer – the uttered part of it. I am commissioned of
God to put into words the other part of it – that part which the pastor –
and also you in your hearts – fervently prayed silently. And ignorantly
and unthinkingly? God grant that it was so! You heard these words: ‘Grant
us the victory, O Lord our God!’ That is sufficient. the *whole* of the
uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words. Elaborations were not
necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for many
unmentioned results which follow victory –*must* follow it, cannot help
but follow it. Upon the listening spirit of God fell also the unspoken
part of the prayer. He commandeth me to put it into words. Listen!
“O Lord our
Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle – be
Thou near them! With them – in spirit – we also go forth from the sweet
peace of our beloved firesides to smite the foe. O Lord our God, help us
to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover
their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to
drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing
in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire;
help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing
grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander
unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and
thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter,
broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the
grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their
hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy
their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with
the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him
Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend
of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite
pause.*) “Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak! The messenger
of the Most High waits!”
believed afterward that the man was a lunatic, because there was no sense
in what he said.