The following are prayers offered for Middle East Peace during a 2006 interfaith prayer service in North Carolina.
PRAYER FOR OUR HOPE AND PEACE
Rabbi Susan Friedman
Durham, North Carolina
The following was adapted from the work of Leon Felder, author of Seven Blessings that Can Change Your Life.
Close your eyes and find the quiet center deep inside, the space between letting out one breath and taking in another. There is your strength and clarity during stressful moments. Let me share with you a prayer and meditation, the Hashkiveinu The Hashkiveinu prayer is an ancient Jewish remedy for overcoming stress and finding a creative way to unwind at night so we can have better dreams, a more relaxed and refreshing sleep, and a deeper connection to the mysterious loving Presence of God.
Especially when your mind is filled with frightening images from the news on television or pressing concerns from the challenges of your personal life and your work, this prayer can help. Here are the words and some interpretations of what they mean:
“Hashkiveinu Adonai Elokeinu l’shalom,v’ha-amideinu malkeinu l’chayim. Ufros aleinu sukkat sh’lomecha.V’tahkneinu b’eitzah tovah mil’fanechah.V’hoshiyeinu l’mah-ahn Sh’mecha.
Lay us down to sleep in peace,Eternal One,our God,and raise us up, our Ruling Source, to renewed life. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace. Set us aright with good counsel from Your holy Presence, and save us for the sake of Your Name. Shield us, remove from us any foe, plague, sword, famine,and woe. Remove any spiritual impediments, either from the past or the future, and shelter us in the shadow of Your wings. For You, O God, are a gracious and compassionate Ruling Force. Safeguard our coming and our going for life and peace from now to eternity.”
As we say this prayer, we imagine ourselves connecting with the mysterious and infinite source of life — the source that keeps our hearts beating and our souls pulsing.
We think about the truly wonderful phenomenon that our lives and energy continue despite our distress. We inhale and exhale and our hearts continue to beat even when we let go of conscious control and drift off to sleep.
It is this of which our brothers and sisters have been deprived. This to which we wish to say no more
Baruch Atah Adonai haporeis Sukkat shalom aleinu
V’al kol Anshai teivel, v’al Y’rushalayim
LIFTING HEARTS IN PRAYER
Ms. Mathagi Kalyanasundaram
Soka Gakkai Buddhist Temple
Raleigh, North Carolina
Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.
As Nichiren Buddhists, we read from Shakyamuni Buddha’s Lotus Sutra, the Japanese monk Nichiren’s Sacred Writings (Gosho) , and SGI leader Daisaku Ikeda’s poems and UN Peace Proposals.
Nothing is more precious than peace. Nothing brings more happiness.
Peace is the most basic starting point for the advancement of humankind.
My most fervent wish is to realize the security and peace of the entire land,
This pure land is not destroyed
There the people are
Happy and at ease….
All mankind desires peace. How then do we explain the devastation and suffering, the loss and pain, the inhumanity of man against man?
Nichiren states, “Where the three poisons [of greed, anger, and foolishness] prevail, how can there be peace and stability?”
Is there no end then to the suffering of war?
“I am human; nothing human is foreign to me” This is the rallying cry of the humanism of the Middle Way . Ultimately, the key lies in reestablishing a raw sense of reality, which can breathe new life into this stifling virtual world. If we could but learn to feel the wound and shock of others’ pain as our own… I believe that such awareness and sensitivity represents the single greatest deterrent to war.
Such empathy suddenly opens the great way of dialogue, the capacity to transcend differences and share innermost sentiments with any and all people.
When ordinary citizens around the globe join hands to call for peace, this solidarity of awakened and empowered individuals can propel humankind toward the twin goals of genuine disarmament and a flourishing culture of peace.
The foundation for this quest is humanity;
It is the human spirit.
The more we fight,
The more we obtain
An absolutely invincible, everlasting strength.
That this struggle
Will bring you the eternal reward
Of a life of supreme value.
A PRAYER FOR UNIVERSAL PEACE
Chosen by Mohamed Baianonie, Imam of the Islamic Center of Raleigh , NC
Mr. Nasif Kayed, Chairman
Islamic Center of Raleigh
All praises and thanks to God, The Creator and Lord of all that exists, and peace and blessings upon all of His Messengers.
O’ our Lord, You are As-Salaam (The Peace) and the ultimate peace comes from You alone; we ask You to bless us all with peace and safety. [From the supplications of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after the five obligatory, daily prayers]
We ask You, our Lord The Granter of security, to bless us and our families, our neighborhoods and communities, our nations and the world with everlasting peace and security.
You are the Creator of the heavens and the earth. You have created mankind in different colors, languages, nations and tribes so that we may get to know one another and live in harmony. The best among us in Your sight is the one who has the highest piety.
[Adapted from the Qur’an, the Muslim holy book, 30:22; 49:13]
O’ our Lord The Just, make us among those who believe that you have created all people equally and that we are all brothers and sisters. Only You can help us live our lives accordingly.
We ask You, our Lord the Guide, to open the hearts and minds of mankind to value each and every human life, so that the bloodshed and destruction stop immediately. And we ask You, our Patient Lord, to grant patience to those who suffer from the destruction and violence committed by others. We ask You, the Compassionate Lord, to bestow Your mercy upon those who are suffering from disease, poverty, oppression, and war.
We ask You, God our Protector, to protect the oppressed and help them rebuild their lives and fill the hearts of the oppressors with mercy.
O’ Lord, You are the Loving One, replace the hatred in our hearts with love, mercy, and compassion for even our worst enemies. Take away our arrogance and replace it with humility so that we may forgive and tolerate one another.
O’ our Lord, give us patience during times of anger so that we may forgive those who treat us unjustly. O’ Lord, make us among those faithful believers who respond to evil with something better. O’ our Lord, help us follow Your teachings of patience and forgiveness, so that our worst enemies can become our closest friends.
[Adapted from the Qur’an, 41:34]
WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT
The Reverend Monsignor Tim O’Connor
Saint Michael The Archangel Catholic Church
Cary, North Carolina
Let us pray…
Good and gracious God, over 230 years ago, our fore-fathers formed our nation and signed a “declaration of independence” which said…
“We hold these truths to be self-evident…”
…that all people are created equal”
…that all are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…
…that all have the right to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.
and they believed these truths to be “self-evident”…
…which in western philosophical tradition means, a proposition whose truth is known as soon as one hears the terms, they need not be taught.
Each 4th of July we take time to celebrate that statement. It is a celebration of a piece of “pure, unadulterated mysticism: rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. We are proclaiming “all people are equally precious to God and are creatures made in God’s image.”
But how often we forget this truth and look upon others as “different” or even “our enemies.” How often the “equality of all in the eyes of our God” is just a phrase on our lips and not the action of our hearts.
Guide us Father to recognize and worship what is sacred, and respect and accept what is undeniable. We know that the self-evident truth that you embody is beyond our comprehension.
As we pray for all those involved in the Mid-East crisis and in other wars throughout our world, we call to mind all those peoples who honor you god as father, all those who celebrate the Truth, all those who hold these truths to be self-evident.
Lord of Reconciliation, we long for the day soon when you will provide for all nations of the earth your blessing of peace. May we see the day soon when war and bloodshed cease and when great peace embraces the whole world. Grant us the times when nation shall not threaten nation and humankind will not again know war. A time when we will realize that we have not come into being to hate or destroy. We have come into being to praise, to labor and to love.
Take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts, break down the walls that separate us, unite us in bonds of love, help us to confront one another without hatred and bitterness, and to work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purpose on earth.
Grant to our leaders the attributes of strong mutual respect in words and deeds, restraint in the exercise of power, and the will for peace and justice for all.
Guide the nations of the world into the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness. Reminds us always that a world of peace must begin in the heart of each one of us. When we speak and act as people who truly believe “that all people are created equal”, then we will become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
OUR QUEST FOR SOLIDARITY PRAYER
Mr. Judah Segal, Executive Director
Raleigh-Cary Jewish Federation
What if suddenly, without a whisper goodbye,
Jesus, Allah, Adonai,
The three we admire the most,
All took the last train for the coast,
And the Moslems got up from their knees
And the Christians put down their rosaries
And the Jews stayed their hands from kissing
And everyone looked up,
And realized something’s missing…
God is missing.
Stop the praying! No One’s there,
We’d arrange a party to search everywhere.
We’d look for God
But there’s be no Presence
In Holy Books or stars and crescents
Or steeples and crosses.
We’d be at a loss,
Is He ever coming back?
A few days ago
Perhaps God sent us a message on TV
A Jewish man was killed
His brother donated his organs
A blind Moslem man received the Jew’s corneas
The Moslem could now see
The Jew could now see
And the world could see the two embrace
Yes, God is still with us…..with His grace.
But, are we capable of receiving His messages?
May we see the day when was and bloodshed cease,
When a great peace will embrace the whole world.
Then nation will not threaten nation,
And (humanity) will not again know war.
Rev. Jack Mckinney
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
It is good that we have been here today, not because it changes a thing, but because it reminds us that as diverse as our traditions and convictions are, our hearts yearn for similar things. And if this is true, if we are hoping and praying and working for the same ultimate goals, then we are connected in a soulful way. And acknowledging that truth can change everything.
May the One who made us for peace, give us the courage to live in peace.
May the One who made us in love, give us the compassion to reach out in love.
May the One who made us with hope, give us the strength to persevere in hope.
And may all of our sisters and brothers in the Middle East know the fullness of God’s peace, God’s hope, and God’s love. Amen.