Ecumenical Prayer Vigil for Peace in the Middle East
April 24 prayer vigil of the LWF-Jerusalem
On this day, we pray again with and for our sisters and brothers in Palestine and Israel who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month. Our hope is that this vigil will continue until we all can celebrate an end to the occupation and a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. At the bottom of this note are some prayers for today.
The Lutheran World Federation and its partners in the ACT Palestine Forum work to offer a wide array of humanitarian services in the West Bank and Gaza. In 2012, the LWF and other members of the APF initiated this prayer vigil for the Christian communities in Palestine and Israel, for all those who are suffering in the Holy Land, for Palestinians and Israelis, and for peace in the Middle East and the world.
By engaging in this vigil each month we are declaring that God’s grace is the source of all peace and through prayer we are humbling ourselves to God’s will for all creation. We offer this prayer vigil as an opportunity for congregations to incorporate the welfare of the people of the Middle East into the heart of their church life: in their worship, in their learning, and in their advocacy.
We urge people to see this prayer vigil as an outpouring of concern for Palestinians and Israelis, for Palestine and for Israel – Christians, Muslims, and Jews – whose lives are overtaken by broken relationships and the conflict that flows from these divisions.
The vigil is coordinated by the ACT Palestine Forum. Go to www.actpalestineforum.org and click on “Prayer Vigil for Middle East Peace” for updates on organizing in your community, for a list of other congregations involved in the vigil, and for prayer and activity ideas. Please sign up your congregation or organization as a vigil participant and get connected with others in your neighborhood and around the globe who are participating in the vigil.
Please promote the APF Prayer Vigil . . . put a link to the APF Prayer Vigil on your church/organization website, advertise the prayer vigil in your newsletter or E-newsletter, and encourage friends to participate in the vigil. You can also help to strengthen the prayer vigil by offering a resource . . . A prayer, a sermon, a song, a Bible study or some other resource.
Please let others know you are participating in the prayer vigil, and get connected with other participants in your town or across the globe! Please register here.
PRAYERS FOR TODAY
O God, it is your will to hold both heaven and earth in a single peace. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your church, peace among nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.
Lord we pray for the people shattered by conflicts anywhere around this world. As the prophet Micah spoke your word of promise, we pray for its fulfillment: that every one beneath their vine and fig tree shall live in peace and unafraid. Today we pray especially for Israel and Palestine. Where dreams collide and hopes overlap, show leaders and citizens the way forward in the path of peace. Amen.
Prayer of St. Francis
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. Amen.
Form in the church the mind of Christ, that we may empty ourselves for the sake of the world you love. Open the ears of civil authorities, that they may hear the voices of those facing insult and degradation, and those who cry out for bread and shelter. Rescue the earth from abuse and pollution, and bring an end to famine, disease, terror, and bloodshed. Grant that the religions of the world may grow in mutual understanding and respect and draw near to all who feel abandoned.
Teach us to walk the way of the cross, that we may be a community of forgiveness and mercy. Hear us according to your steadfast love, O God, and in your great compassion bring us to resurrection and rebirth in Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.