Prayers for Peace
from various faith traditions
If there is to be peace in the world
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities
There must be peace between neighbours.
If there is to be peace between neighbours
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home
There must be peace in the heart.
Lao-Tse 6th Century Chinese philosopher
May all beings be filled with joy and peace.
May all beings everywhere,
The strong and the weak,
The great and the small,
The mean and the powerful,
The short and the long,
the subtle and the gross:
May all beings everywhere,
Seen and unseen,
Dwelling far off or nearby,
Being or waiting to become:
May all be filled with lasting joy.
Let no one deceive another,
Let no one anywhere despise another,
Let no one out of anger or resentment
Wish suffering on anyone at all.
Just as a mother with her own life
Protects her child, her only child, from harm,
So within yourself let grow
A boundless love for all creatures.
Let your love flow outward through the universe,
To its height, its depth, its broad extent,
A limitless love, without hatred or enmity.
Then as you stand or walk,
Sit or lie down,
As long as you are awake,
Strive for this with a one-pointed mind;
Your life will bring heaven to earth.
Sutta Nipata
Almighty God and Creator,
You are the Father of all people on the earth.
Guide, I pray all the nations and their leaders
in the ways of justice and peace.
Protect us from the evils of injustice,
prejudice, exploitation, conflict and war.
Help us to put away mistrust, bitterness and hatred.
Teach us to cease the storing and using of implements of war.
Lead us to find justice, peace and freedom.
Unite us in the making and creating of the tools of peace
against ignorance, poverty, disease and oppression.
Grant that we may grow in harmony and friendship as brothers and sisters created in Your image, to Your honor and praise.
From an Orthodox Christian prayerbook
O Lord, grant us to love Thee;
grant that we may love those that love Thee;
grant that we may do the deeds that win Thy love.
Make the love of Thee be dearer to us than ourselves,
than our families, than wealth, and even than cool water.
Mohammed 570-632
Peace for Those Intoxicated with War
God of peace;
God of shalom;
God of salaam:
Save us from intoxication with war.
Turn down the media's frenzy and
unquestioning assumption that war will come.
Pull all peoples back from unstable international policy.
Deliver the nations from going out of control as the solution to conflict.
Bring us to sobriety of spirit.
Turn our hearts to peacemaking.
Give wisdom and light to our leaders, that they may choose the way to peace. Amen.
Buddhist Prayer for Peace
May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending
one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless,
fearful wilderness--
the children, the aged, the unprotected--
be guarded by beneficent celestials
Zoroastrian Prayer for Peace
We pray to God to eradicate all the misery in the world:
that understanding triumph over ignorance,
that generosity triumph over indifference,
that trust triumph over contempt, and
that truth triumph over falsehood.
Muslim Prayer for Peace
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations,
That we may know each other, not that
we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace, do
thou also incline towards peace, and
trust God, for the Lord is the one that
heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most Gracious are those who walk on
the Earth in humility, and when we
address them, we say "PEACE."
Lord, make me an instrument of Your Peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light; and
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226)

Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. - John F. Kennedy

by Brian Burch
(previously published in third space, Recluse and Catholic New Times)

My memory of war is all second hand
---I was not at Mai Lai. I was not running down the road
with napalm etching into my flesh.

I did not watch my feet rot in trenches
or wake up with my neighbour's blood dying my shirt
or believed, somehow, that my battles lead to freedom and to peace.

I was not on a bridge in Belgrade or
at an airport in Grenada or
in a schoolroom in Baghdad or
in a factory in Dresden or
at a church in Nagasaki or
in a hospital in Stalingrad or
in an office in New York.

Nor is my memory of serving peace first hand.
I have not sat in the Gulf Peace Camp or
prayed in Chiapas or planted trees outside Hebron or
disrupted the School of the Americas or
handed out leaflets in Burma or
sat with the families in East Timor or
fasted with the wives outside Gestapo headquarters .

But I have held the children of war.
I have talked with the veterans of war.
I have added my prayers to the voices for peace.

It has to start somewhere.
In the here and now war is being waged
and in the here and now the seeds of peace are being looked for.

The war is waged in someone else's name. Not in mine.
The work for peace is in the hands of us all, including mine.

My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh, the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent; for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Disaster overtakes disaster, the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my curtains in a moment. How long must I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? "For my people are foolish, they do not know me; they are stupid children, they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil, but do not know how to do good." I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. I looked, and lo, there was no one at all, and all the birds of the air had fled. I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD... (Jeremiah 4:19-26)

A king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. The war horse is a vain hope for victory, and by its great might it cannot save. Truly the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, to deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; he is our help and shield. Our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
from the Hebrew Scriptures : Psalm 33:16-22

War Poem
by William Ashworth

What if we could and didn't. What if
all those children's eyes
in countries that we cannot name cried out to us
and we didn't. The children's eyes
are black, the color of mourning,
of fired wood, or of
the sky between the stars
where dawn gathers
but is not yet seen.

This year smells of bombs. What if we could
and didn't. What if we just didn't. The eyes,
empty as shells, are watching,
where tears gather
but have not yet begun to fall.


Love one another said the man
in the space between two thieves
but the Christians
were too busy for that.
There were far too many souls to be saved, and anyway,
who came to town following him?
Twelve ragged hippies, and one of those
was a snitch for the FBI.
We deloused the pew cushions after they left.

More blood, Father: the first time
clearly was inadequate.


It snowed in Tokyo that summer;
the white flakes whispered in
on the wind from Hiroshima,
and a small boy laughed
at the way the light lifted
from his brother's body
who had been there
and was now coming home.


We mourn for those who cannot mourn;
We walk for those who cannot walk.
The day stands at the brink of dawn,
But sidles backward into dark.

No gun can guard against the fear
That love might labor in disguise,
Clad as an enemy in war,
Clad as a dark-eyed child who dies.

Who rides the black horse of his hate
Needs a wise hand to take the rein,
Calm the wild steed, unset the bit,
And watch the dawn return again.

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