Recently I sat down with my favorite prayer book, Peace Planet, Light for Our World. It isn’t a new book. Nan Merrill and Barbara Taylor wrote this call for peaceful prayer following 9/11. But these aren’t just prayers about peace. They are prayers for peace for each country in our world, starting with Afghanistan and ending with Zimbabwe.
I love that it is globally inclusive but I am even more drawn to the fact that each prayer is crafted without judgement or censure. Each prayer is for the country as it is, not as we would have it be. What do I mean? Here is the prayer for Afghanistan:
We are all One
In the Heart of Love.
The divine spark
Can be seen
In the eyes
Of all we meet.
We are asking,
Flourish on Earth.
Is this a prayer for Christianity to overtake Islam? For women to quit wearing the veil? No. It is a respectful prayer for peace. In part, this appeasl to me because I think we will win a lot more people through respect than we will ever bring over with intolerance.
Recently, a Presbyterian missionary came to our church and told us about the work being done in Egypt. The Presbyterians have actually been invited to build within Egypt. They have been invited because they don’t come in and tell the people what they need. They have a reputation for moderation. They come in and ask what a community needs, listen to the answers, and address those needs. They work to improve lives, but they work from within the community. And people are coming to them in faith because they feel the respect. They feel the love. They don’t feel judgement.
Peace. Education. Nutrition. Shelter. Imagine what we could accomplish working together from a place of respect, moderation, and God’s love-filled peace.