PC(USA) leaders offer a prayer for peace in many places of need around the world

July 18, 2014

Louisville

Grace and peace to you. As we gather together in worship around the world this Sunday, we encourage you to lift up the following prayer for all of God’s people. In the name of Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Reverend Gradye Parsons, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly
Ruling Elder Heath K. Rada, Moderator, 221st General Assembly (2014)
Ruling Elder Linda Bryant Valentine, Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency

God of light we praise you for the wonder and glory of this world and the many blessings we have received. Still, at times the darkness is like a night and it feels you have hidden your face from your people. The most vulnerable and innocent among us seem to be hemmed in by violence and conflict. This week we realized that no place is safe—not home, not a 2,000-mile trek through rainforests and deserts, not 30,000 feet up. Yet, we profess that you know all things, count the hair on our heads, and know our rising and our sitting. How can this be?

God we are saddened by the news reports of people taken too soon from this world and we shake our head with disbelief when we see the bodies of children carrying the ravages of war. It seems as though the only ones in the crosshairs of violence are those with no power, little to gain, and much to lose. They pay with the thing you hold most precious, the very breath you breathed into our lungs.

May your Spirit of peace and wisdom descend on the Middle East. May the words and actions of Abram haunt the leaders of Palestine and Israel. May they rescue one another, become great nations, and bless all peoples on earth. Protect the innocent and send prophets among them and their leaders to find a just resolution.

Grant this through Christ our Lord

Wars rage on the ground, the sea, and in the air in the Ukraine, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and many other places. Families mourn the loss of loved ones and are robbed of hope for a future for their children. Help us see the painful reality that conflict zones cannot be contained. Comfort the grieving and burden the rest of us with this senseless loss of life. Open the way for aid agencies and those offering relief, give them courage and resources to ease the immediate suffering they encounter.

Grant this through Christ our Lord

Walk with children fleeing homes terrorized by gang violence, crushing poverty, and drug wars. We know they carry a singular hope, to have abundant life that you have promised us. The journey is fraught with danger and uncertainty. Hold them in your arms and nurture the hope planted in them by their families and your Spirit and do not allow it to be crushed by hatred and racism.

Grant this through Christ our Lord

Break our hearts Holy God by the reality that faces so many of your people. Let the scales fall from our eyes so that we may see how our own choices and passive acceptance of U.S. policy contribute to unrest and injustice.

Grant this through Christ our Lord

God grant us the grace and courage to work for all these things that we pray. Help turn sadness into righteous anger and action. May we know your ways, and beat our weapons of destruction into instruments of reconciliation and creation. It is an honor to be agents of your peace so that this world will know and confess your name.

In the name of the one who taught us to pray:

  1. This shall be my prayer every day. It so well expresses the grief and concern of us all.

    by Betty Barham

    July 29, 2014

  2. Thank you so much. So often in the past the church has been unwilling or afraid to voice the Christian viewpoint which may conflict with current politics. I applaud and am proud that the PCUSA is taking these concerns to God-who knows what is truly important! Bravo!

    by Cassandra

    July 28, 2014

  3. Thank you for reminding us to keep the tragedies and ills of the world in our prayers today. I am, however, troubled by the political content of the prayer and will not include those remarks in the prayer I offer. Surely you do not deceive yourself that only US policies are contributing to the current state of this great kingdom.

    by Wilma Harris

    July 20, 2014

  4. Thank you for this prayer. It touches upon the very essence of our walk of faith. In the end it is not about politics, but about life, and the life we share as the people of God in Christ.

    by Rev. Kathleen Dain

    July 19, 2014

  5. This is a beautiful prayer. Thank you! Leigh, we pray for peace even when it means confronting our own country's ways in which it has harmed the "least among us." Sometimes being political means being pastoral. Lord, help us see the log in our own eyes before we point to the splinter in our brother's or sister's.

    by Bonnie Boyce

    July 19, 2014

  6. As a teaching elder, I'm grateful for the gift of this prayer, which I'm happy to share with my congregation this Sunday in connection with my sermon on the righteousness and justice of God. The prophetic word is divisive. U.S. political leaders are beholden to and therefore represent the interests of corporations. I welcome the courage of the church to confront injustice. The current situation leads me to re-read Benjamin Ginsberg's book, The Fatal Embrace, to clarify theological and political issues at stake.

    by John McEntyre

    July 19, 2014

  7. Those who are distressed at the "political" nature of many GA actions would no doubt have been distressed in 1745 when the Synod of New York and New Jersey - then the highest governing body in the church - took action to protest the action of the Royal Governor of New Jersey against some Native Americans who were accused of some sort of crime. The church said that the charge was trumped up, that the police authorities had treated the victims brutally, and that they shoujld be freed. This is what our church has always done. The gospel prejudice on behalf of the poor and powerless has frequently (though not always) been demonstrated. Too bad that some are distressed.

    by John Ames

    July 19, 2014

  8. Oremos sin sesar esa es la mejor armadura que nuestro senor Jesus nos a ensenado es la mejor defensa Para cuaquier mal Para todos ustedes con amor dios los bendiga....................

    by Adela sanchez

    July 18, 2014

  9. This is powerful. The prayer touches our fears of these times. Things are confusing but our God knows us and wants the best for us. We need to stay in prayer for our neighbors and ourselves.

    by Alberta Cropp

    July 18, 2014

  10. As a ruling elder, I feel complelled to note that the main purpose of the church is the witness and mission of Jesus Christ. Why the church as a larger body is deciding to become so political and progressive, I do not understand. This prayer is an example of what grieves my heart. I fail to understand why the PCUSA is placing a blanket statement against US policy in a prayer. This is divisive, disingenuous and saddens my heart that my leadership believes political agenda should take precedence over evangelism.

    by Leigh Brown

    July 18, 2014

  11. It would be helpful to know which US policies referred to "contribute to unrest and injustice." (In the sentence, "Let the scales fall from our eyes so that we may see how our own choices and passive acceptance of U.S. policy contribute to unrest and injustice.")

    by Tome Walters

    July 18, 2014

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