“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.” — Matthew 5:9
So much violence, conflict, and war in the news… I know I am not alone in this concern because at worship I hear prayers for peace. I also see prayers for peace on our public chalkboard, and images urging peace posted on Facebook.
Below is a prayer for peace that I wrote one year ago. I invite you to read this prayer twice: once to see what it says, and then, if you agree with the words, a second time to pray with me… Or, perhaps you would like to pray for peace in your own words. You could also use this prayer at the opening of a meeting or small faith group gathering. Although you and I are not together in person at the moment, our prayers are united before God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
You know all that is in our hearts:
the good desires
and the not-so-good desires,
the longing for peace,
yet wanting things-my-own-way,
the instinct to share,
while also the instinct of hoarding-for-my-survival.
I don’t have to tell you that all people on earth
have the need for clean water, healthy food, shelter, and safety.
You know very well how people who are desperately suffering
from starvation, thirst, homelessness, or civil strife,
may fall into violence to get what they need to survive.
You also know some people turn aggression into a way of life,
using violent solutions at the least provocation.
Loving God, we ask you to help us to work for peace.
You are like a loving parent–we are your children,
whatever our nationality, tribe, religion, or culture.
We are all one family, and yet, like one family,
we disagree, we fight for dominance, we wrestle for power.
When harm comes to innocent people, we feel frightened or angry.
Do we fight back? Look away? Grab a gun or hold a dove of peace?
I think there is no easy answer. I think: it depends.
I beg you, Lord, to pour your Spirit of Wisdom
on those who have earthly power, the movers and shakers,
political leaders and public commentators,
and all those who speak in the streets or social media.
Show us the way to work and live together in harmony–
and give us the courage to follow that way
with compassion, inner strength, and mercy.
I’m not just asking, Lord, I’m begging.
Julie McCarty is a published writer, blogger, spiritual director, and budding artist who attends Easter Lutheran with her husband, Terry.