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Prayer & Action for Peace in The Middle East and Elsewhere

by Jim McGinnis, inspired by his new book

 

As we continue to pray and act for peace around the globe this week, especially in the Middle East, Afghanistan, and around health care and other justice issues in our own country, please consider forwarding this weekly prayer & action request to your networks. 

Stories & Icons for Our Prayers

Health Care Reform.
  As we pray and act for comprehensive health care reform, focusing prayerfully on our political leaders is helpful, including the 6 key US Senators on the Senate Finance Committee who are working non-stop on how to pay for this "Heath Policy Carved Out at Table for 6."
Afghanistan. As we pray for peace in Afghanistan, photos in "Iraq Veterans Find Afghan Enemy Even Bolder" remind us to pray for the families of those fighting and those victimized by this war.  The eyes of the Afghan villagers speak to us.
Middle East/Gaza.  Along with the report from some Israeli soldiers about their conduct in Gaza earlier this year comes a set of 19 photos of the victims of this war, including this one of a mother and child.  All sides, including the US, bear responsibility for this devastation in which most of the victims are civilians.

Prayer for Peace in the Middle East & Elsewhere

Background.
On January 12, 2009, leaders of three faiths that trace their origins back to a common ancestor -- the Patriarch Abraham -- joined their hearts and pens today to form a common prayer for peace between Israel, Gaza and among all nations.  Rabbi Steve Gutow of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon of the National Council of Churches USA, and of the Islamic Society of North America, acknowledged having "different views" as to how to end the confrontation between Israel and Gaza, said they looked "to the power that is greater than any of us can even contemplate" to ask for peace in the Middle East. The three of us come from different religions and have different views regarding how to best solve the problems faced in the confrontation between Israel and Hamas. In many arenas we have found ways to work together but not yet in this situation. We look to the power that is greater than any of us can even contemplate and ask that power to help us find peace among the nations. Here is our unified prayer:

A Christian, Muslim and Jew Pray for Peace among Nations
Dear Lover of humanity and all creation, we come to you because we trust in your power and take comfort in your compassion.  Our world is in chaos.  Your children suffer greatly - in Afghanistan and Darfur, in Burma, the Congo and Sri Lanka; and the Middle East is a place of soul-wrenching strife.  With no end in sight and no reason for easy hope, You are the One to whom we turn.       

Strengthen us, Merciful God, to act and to know that our acting matters: raising awareness at home of suffering in distant places, advocating for peace instead of violence, bringing together those who have been estranged, trying, ourselves, to see the world as others see it.       

Fill us, we pray, with the vision of a time when children are not killed in war, and in which the neighbor's wellbeing is a first priority.  We have not always agreed on decisions involving war and peace; but we do agree that You are on the side of those who suffer, and that peacemaking is our ultimate vocation. We pray in different ways and languages; but we each long to hear your voice and to discern the way You wish us to travel.       

Blessed are You, Holy One!  May your will for peace prevail!  Amen.
Check out the original announcement of this prayer and the image of "peace, Shalom, Salaam."

Action Suggestions
. Consider advocating for the changes identified by the joint advocacy initiative convened by the World Council of Churches and from Rabbi Arthur Waskow's Shalom Center and supporting other groups working for peace in the Middle East like the Christian Peacemaking Teams and the American Friends of Neve Shalom & Wahat al-Salam and their Oasis of Peace (a peace village in Israel for Jewish and Arab Israelis).  The Jewish Voice for Peace newsletter also urges us to call our members of Congress on behalf of human rights in Gaza.

Order a copy of Praying for Peace Around the Globe online, email jimppjn@aol.com or call 1-800-833-0245.

Thanks for caring,
Jim