Prayers for peace

A Church of England prayer on the occasion of the centenary of the First World War:

Father of all, remember your mercy
and look with your healing love on all your people, living and departed.
On this day we especially ask that you would hold for ever all who suffered during the First World War:
those who returned scarred by warfare,
those who waited anxiously at home,
and those who returned wounded and disillusioned;
those who mourned,
and those communities that were diminished and suffered loss.
Remember too those who acted with kindly compassion,
those who bravely risked their own lives for their comrades,
and those who in the aftermath of war, worked tirelessly for a more peaceful world.
And as you remember them, remember us, O Lord;
grant us peace in our time
and a longing for the day when people of every language, race, and nation
will be brought into the unity of Christ’s kingdom.
This we ask in the name of the same Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Hartich Sierk, a peasant during the Hundred Years War, in a diary entry of July 1628:

God send that there may be an end at last.  God send that there may be peace again.  God in heaven send down peace.

A prayer by WH Littlejohn, who was killed in action during the Battle of Arras in 1917:

Lord, if it be thy will
That I enter the great shadowed valley that lies
Silent, just over the hill,
Grant they may say, ‘There’s a comrade that dies
Waving his hand to us still!’
Lord, if there come the end,
Let me find space and breath all the dearest I prize
Into thy hands to commend:
Then let me go, with my boy’s laughing eyes,
Smiling a word to a friend.

A prayer from the development agency Christian Aid:

God of all the centuries,
we long to see an end to the lines that divide:
the lines that scar families,
the lines that deface religions,
the lines that embattle nations.
May you, O God, who crossed the line between heaven and earth,
work a miracle in the hearts of humans
and in the destinies of all countries enduring war.  Amen.

A prayer from Sudan:

And though I behold a man hate me,
I will love him.
O God, Father, help me Father!
O God, Father, help me Father!
And even though I behold a man hate me,
I will love him.

A prayer from Africa:

Peace!  How I long to hear you come to our land.
Run, run, we are waiting for you,
our children are crying for you,
our mothers are praying for you.
Peace!  How I long to see you spread your light to my people,
bright like the morning sun.
Let your rays fall on my people,
my beautiful African people.

What the Bible says about it

An extract from the Bible:

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
May those who love you be secure.
May there be peace within your walls
and security within your citadels.
For the sake of my family and friends,
I will say, ‘Peace be within you.’

Where to find it:

Psalm 122:6-8.

About these words:

A three thousand year old prayer for peace in the Middle East, which has seen violence many times during the intervening centuries.

And they said…

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury:

May God use the Church to serve communities as we pause to reflect on the human cost of war borne by a generation one hundred years ago.  May the Church be prepared to point beyond that pain to the greater healing and love that Jesus has for humanity and, in the two minutes of silence at the many remembrance events, may God speak loudly to hearts who long to know his peace and reconciling love.

12-year-old Harry Gray, writing to Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury:
I know how hard you are trying to reach out to young people like myself and I think it would be really helpful if there was a text number we could use to send our prayers to God.  Although we find it hard to make time for prayers, we always seem to make time to text.

Jodi Picault, novelist:

The difference between a wish and a prayer is that you’re at the mercy of the universe for the first, and you’ve got some help with the second … Prayer is like water – something you can’t imagine has the strength or power to do any good, and yet give it time and it can change the lay of the land.

Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865, sixteenth president of the USA:

I have been driven many times to my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go. My own wisdom and that of all about me seemed insufficient for the day.

Pope John Paul II, 1920-2005:

Violence never again!  War never again!  Terrorism never again!  In God’s name may all religions bring upon earth justice and peace, forgiveness, life and love.