Prayers for Peace

Peace Days

“Everybody knows the war is over.

Everybody knows the good guys lost…”  

That second line of Leonard Cohen’s song may prove all too prophetic about the outcome of some of the conflicts raging in our world at present.  Conflicts where children are kidnapped, separated from their families and brainwashed, where killing any number of civilians is justified if one militant enemy is also killed, where official spokespeople lie deliberately, where UN edicts are flouted, every protocol of the Geneva Convention ignored and even Humanitarian Aid Workers targeted… all too often “the bad guys” seem to be winning; but war has a way of bringing out the worst in all combatants, even the “good guys”.

We watch all this in nightly News Bulletins accompanied by pictures so gruesome they give us nightmares.  We are citizens of a liberal Western democracy… surely there is something we can do?

Churches Together organised Quiet Days for Peace in Ambleside Parish Church at the start of the year, on Wednesday each week, when people were welcome to come in, perhaps light a candle, perhaps sit or kneel, and make an intention for peace whether by prayer or meditation.  Roughly seventy people took this opportunity (while about ninety others entered to look around the building during the same time). 

Several of those who did come were very glad of the space to quieten their minds and at least feel that they were doing something by lifting up the whole terrible situation up to God.  And some appreciated the chance to do this together with someone else who felt similarly oppressed by the mess and danger our world is in.  Others said it helped them just to be still and concentrate on this important thing for 20 minutes or so in a way they never would have done at home with all its inevitable distractions!  Some of us cling to the hope that God hears and answers prayer… although the answer can be very slow in coming. We have let all people in Ambleside, both residents and visitors, know that we care about what is happening and that we wish the wars and suffering to end. All the churches are united in this prayer and this message has gone out to many others throughout  Cumbria.

The wars in Ukraine, Sudan and Gaza have all (if anything) got even worse than they were, but we have decided to stop these communal Quiet Days for the moment - St Mary’s and Mater Amabilis are always open for prayer and meditation, or we can always pray in the privacy of our own homes or on solitary rambles. So please continue to lift these situations up, and to urge our government to do all that is possible in terms of fighting injustice and relieving suffering.  Please find some Prayers for Peace below:

Breaking down barriers

Confession of destruction

Our hope and future

Peace call to worship

Prayer and Action for Peace

Prayer for peace & illumination

A big thank you to Rev Andy Smith and St Mary’s PCC for allowing us the use of their building in this way, and to all the volunteers who staffed the church putting in a minimum of an hour, sometimes two hours each day.

George Wrigley & Terry Winterton (Co-Chairs of the local Churches Together)