This prayer was written by Steve Plenert, peace program coordinator for MCC Manitoba. Through the month of August, MCC Manitoba has organized weekly gatherings for staff and constituents to pray for peace with justice in the Middle East. This prayer was written for use on August 29, 2014.
We pray to you for peace in this day. We give you thanks for life, for love, for hope and for goodness. And we give you thanks for peace. Sometimes it feels that peace is elusive both within our hearts and in the world. We ask that we might know and understand your peace and your way of peace. We pray that our world – your world – would experience true peace in the ways incarnated in Christ and in ways that reflect your coming Kingdom. Forgive our doubts, our faintness of heart, and our complicity with structures of violence. Guide us and all the earth into the ways of peace.
O God, we give you thanks for the ceasefire in Gaza. We grieve the deaths of Palestinian civilians, especially children, even while we mourn the loss of all human life and are grateful that the bombs have stopped.** We pray that the blockade of Gaza will end. We pray, O God, that against all odds and predictions, this ceasefire would lead to a lasting truce with the conditions for true justice and reconciliation for Israelis and Palestinians, Christians, Muslims and Jews. We pray that as children of Abraham we would all learn to see each other as a blessing to all nations.
Our hearts remain troubled with the plight of the Yazidi people of Iraq. We pray for mercy, kindness and justice for them and for all. We pray that the Yazidi would experience alleviation of their distress. O God, the fruits of your Spirit are needed in every region, in every corner of this world. We pray that we would live by these fruits and be known by them also.
O Lord, for many of us these situations are distant and do not impact our day to day lives. For those living in many parts of the Middle East the impacts are much more tangible.
For those who have lost homes – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have lost family members – we pray to you, O God.
For those whose lives and potential have been lost to their communities – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have killed in the name of their religion – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have killed in the name of the state – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have ordered killings – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have killed because they saw no alternative – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have sought to bring peace in the Middle East – we pray to you, O God.
For those who have labored to heal those injured and traumatized – we pray to you, O God.
For those who provide humanitarian assistance to those in need — we pray to you, O God
For those who negotiate ceasefires – we pray to you, O God.
For those whose lives are indirectly impacted by these conflicts – we pray to you O God.
We pray for the healing of the nations, for the healing of our own souls and for the healing of people in the Middle East. Lord have mercy on your children. Listen to your children praying. Amen.
** As of August 28, 2014, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs for the Occupied Palestinian Territory noted the following: “Palestinian fatality toll is 2,104, of whom 1,462 have been identified as civilians, including 495 children, according to preliminary assessments… As of August 20, 10,224 Palestinians, including 3,106 children and 1,970 women and 368 elderly, have been injured. The cumulative Israeli fatality toll is 69, of whom at least four were civilians, including one child, in addition to one foreign national killed in Israel.”