'Lord, teach us to pray'
That request was put to Jesus by his own disciples - which should encourage us if we feel we don't know how to pray. They needed help, and so do we, especially at troubled times such as these.
But there isn't just one right way to pray - what works well for one person may not for another. The following thoughts are offered just as guidelines which may be useful:
· When we pray we come before God with the world on our hearts. We are also offering ourselves to be in some small way channels of love and peace in God's world.
· God already knows what is in our hearts and minds. We can be honest with God, and say exactly how we feel, or even just sit in silence.
· It might help to find a quiet space. You may want to be on your own, but you may also find that it helps to join other people, who may be gathering to pray in local churches, but also in schools, workplaces and elsewhere.
· You may find that you can say just what you want to, using your own words. But many people find it helpful to use written prayers.
A Simple Prayer in Troubled Times
God of love,
turn our hearts to your ways;
and give us peace. Amen.
A Prayer for Justice
Grant us, Lord God, a vision of our land as your love would make it:
- a land where the weak are protected, and none go hungry or poor;
- a land where the benefits of civilised life are shared, and everyone can enjoy them;
- a land where different races and cultures live in tolerance and mutual respect;
- a land where peace is built with justice, and justice is guided by love.
And give us the inspiration and courage to build it, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer of St Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is discord, vision.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
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.
A Prayer for Mercy
Lord, remember Christ your son who is peace itself
and who has washed away our hatred with his blood.
Because you love all people,
look with mercy on us.
Banish the violence and evil within us,
and in answer to our prayers restore tranquility and peace. Amen.
A Prayer for the Leaders of the Nations
O God our heavenly Father,
whose love sets no boundaries
and whose strength is in service;
grant to the leaders of the nations
wisdom, courage and insight at this time of darkness and fear.
Give to all who exercise authority
determination to defend the principles of freedom, love and tolerance,
strength to protect and safeguard the innocent
and clarity of vision to guide the world into the paths of justice and peace.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Some suitable Prayers for Peace
Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of Truth and peace proceed, kindle, we pray thee, in the hearts of all men the true love of peace;
and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom
those who take council for the nations of the earth;
that in tranquility thy kingdom may go forward,
till the earth be filled with the knowledge of thy love:
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Bishop Paget of Oxford, 1851-1922)
“Peace means something special to Christians because,
in the Gospel of John, Christ says:
‘My peace I give unto you’.
True peace cannot in the end rest on a balance of terror
or even a treaty.
It springs from something deeper - the peace of God himself.”
(Bishop Richard Harries, ‘Praying Round the Clock’)
Show us, good Lord,
the peace we should seek,
the peace we must give,
the peace we can keep.
the peace we must forgo,
and the peace you have given
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
(Prayer used by the Corrymeela Community)
O God, who wouldest fold both heaven and earth in a single peace:
let the design of thy great love lighten upon the waste
of our wraths and sorrows;
and give peace to thy church, peace among nations,
peace in our dwellings, and peace in our hearts;
through thy Son our saviour Jesus Christ.
(From Memorials upon Several Occasions)
A Prayer for Reconciliation
ruling the earth and its people
not by terror but in love;
we worship you.
We confess that too often
our words hurt others
and our deeds are selfish;
In this time of uncertainty and fear,
help us to love our enemies
and do good to those who hate us,
in the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.
A Child's Prayer
Lord in heaven,
please listen to all those
who are praying to you now.
Those who are sad and crying,
those who have lost friends and family.
Those who are alone
Help them to remember,
that you are there
and you are listening.
In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.