prayers for peace in Iraq
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On 20 February, the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches called for churches around the world to join in prayer for peace in Iraq on the first day of Lent. In primarily Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions, the first day of Lent is Ash Wednesday, March 5. In many Orthodox traditions, the beginning of the Great Lent comes at the end of Forgiveness Sunday, March 9.
Prayer for peace
20 March 2003
Ecumenical Centre, Geneva.
Reflections by Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser and Msgr. Diarmuid Martin

There are many rich resources for prayer and worship for peace in every Christian tradition. The following are just a few suggested resources from the global ecumenical community:

The following prayer authored by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy was used in many places in inter-religious worships around the time of the Gulf War in 1991:

Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.
Great and wonderful are Your works, wondrous are your ways.
Thank You for the many splendoured variety of Your creation.
Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and purpose,
and the freedom to do so.
Forgive our violation of Your creation.
Forgive our violence toward each other.
We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent love
for each and all of Your children:
Christian, Jew, Muslim,
as well as those with other faiths.
Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong;
mutual respect in words and deed,
restraint in the exercise of power, and
the will for peace with justice, for all.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You. Amen.
(Excerpted from Current Dialogue 24/93, p.36)

The following two texts are taken from the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle on the Gulf region:

O God, who art the unsearchable abyss of peace,
the ineffable sea of love, the fountain of blessings
and the bestower of affection,
who sendest peace to those that receive it;

Open to us this day the sea of thy love
and water us with plenteous streams
from the riches of thy grace
and from the most sweet springs of thy kindness.

Make us children of quietness and heirs of peace,
enkindle in us the fire of thy love;
sow in us thy fear;
strengthen our weakness by thy power;
bind us closely to thee and to each other
in our firm and indissoluble bond of unity:

Syrian Clementine Liturgy (in: For all God’s people; p. 73)

Litany for Iraq

For lasting peace in this ancient land – From you, O Lord.
For wisdom and compassion for all in authority – From you, O Lord.
For comfort for families separated or bereaved – From you, O Lord.
For the release of captives – From you, O Lord.
For safety and security for minority communities.
For refreshment for the weary and healing for the sick – From you, O Lord.
For continuing faithfulness of the ancient churches of this land – From you, O Lord.
For tenacity of spirit for small Christian groups – From you, O Lord.
For the mutual enrichment and support of those of different Christian traditions – From you, O Lord.

You, Lord of all, we confess;
You, Lord Jesus, we glorify;
For you are the life of our bodies
And you are the Saviour of our souls.

The response in the litany and this hymn both come from the Chaldean liturgy. The ancient hymn celebrates Christ the source of resurrection in all situations of death and deprivation. (in: With All God’s People, p. 21, 22)

The following prayer is taken from a Monday morning worship in the Ecumenical Centre:

O Lord,
you love justice and you establish peace on earth.
We bring before you the disunity of today’s world;
the absurd violence, and the many wars,
which are breaking the courage of the peoples of the world;
human greed and injustice,
which breed hatred and strife.
Send your spirit and renew the face of the earth;
teach us to be compassionate towards the whole human family;
strengthen the will of all those
who fight for justice and for peace,
and give us that peace which the world cannot give.
All: Amen.

Prayers from other churches and Christian communities:

Prayer for Peace with Iraq
Lord of hope and compassion, Friend of Abraham
Who called our father in faith to journey to a new future,
We remember before you the country of Iraq from which he was summoned
Ancient land of the Middle East, realm of the two rivers,
Birthplace of great cities and of civilization.
May we who name ourselves children of Abraham,
Call to mind all the peoples of the Middle East who honour him as father.
Those who guard and celebrate the Torah,
Those for whom the Word has walked on earth and lived among us
Those who follow their prophet, who listened for the word in the desert
And shaped a community after what he heard.
Lord of reconciliation, God of the painful sacrifice uniting humankind
We long for the day when you will provide for all nations of the earth your blessing of peace.
But now when strife and war are at hand, help us to see in each other a family likeness,
our inheritance from our one father Abraham.
Keep hatred from the threshhold of our hearts, and preserve within us a generous spirit
which recognizes in both foe and friend a common humanity.
This we ask in the name of the one who came to offer us the costly gift of abundant life.
(In Arabic Abraham is often called "El Khalil" which means 'the Friend [of God]'. Ur and Haran, the cities from which, according to Genesis, Abraham was summond by God both lie within the territory of modern Iraq.)
(Alan and Clare Amos)
Iona Community –

From Pax Christi:
We come to you, God Creator.
You are the source of life and beauty and power.
Your son Jesus is the way of faith and hope and love.
Your Spirit is the fire of love, the fount of wisdom, the bond of unity.
You call us at all times to be people of the beatitudes,
Witnesses to the Gospel of peace and love and forgiveness.
You call us at this time, when war and rumours of war,
weigh heavily on the peoples of Iraq and the Middle East.
Their lives are already broken by suffering and violence.
We renew our acceptance of your call.

We promise to work:
To bring the light of the Gospel to those living in darkness,
To bring the hope of the Gospel to those living in despair,
To bring the healing of the Gospel to the lonely,
the disadvantaged, the marginalized,
And to bring the peace of the Gospel to a divided world.
Pax Christi UK -

From the Church of England:
"Lord, we pray fervently for the people of Iraq
facing the horror of a full-scale war,
and for those people who may be called upon to fight.
Help us to persuade world leaders to continue negotiations.
Help all of us: individuals, nations, governments and world leaders
to remember --
the unnecessary loss of life for millions of innocent people,
the scale of human suffering that war brings,
the right of Iraqi people to determine their own future,
the gross violations of human rights and crimes against humanity
that are committed in the name of war,
nobody has total power over any country or its people but God alone.
Let us be open to God's words in our forthcoming decisions and try not to be God ourselves."
Church of England -

There are many more prayers and reflections available on the web, such as "Prayers for Peace in the Middle East" including Selections on the Imperative for Peace from Jewish, Christian and Islamic Sacred Texts gathered by the U.S. Interreligious Committee for Peace in the Middle East,

Suggested Biblical texts for reflection:

Psalm 85
Ephesians 2:11-22
Romans 14:19-15:7
Matthew 5:3-12