A Litany in Time of War


From our Morning Worship service Sunday, March 30, 2003.
Written and compiled by John Finley, Chip Reeves, and James Richardson

A Prayer for All Nations

Almighty God, who in Jesus Christ has ordered us to live together as loving neighbors,

We pray for all of the nations of the earth. Though we are scattered in different places, speak different languages, or come from different ethnic backgrounds, give us common concern, so that we may be one people, who share the governing of the world under your guiding purpose. May greed and war and lust for power be curbed, and all people enter the community of love promised in Jesus Christ.

We pray for the leaders of the nations. Especially this day do we intercede for our President, George W. Bush, his many advisers, and the other leaders of our country. Give to them wisdom and compassion, enabling them to preserve the security of our nation while also sparing the innocent people of Iraq from the ravages of war. Knowing that our Lord Jesus commanded us to love our enemies and to pray for them, we also pray for Saddam Hussein and the leaders of Iraq, that they will choose peace, comply with the international mandate to destroy weapons of mass destruction, and end the oppression under which their people are forced to live.

Hear our prayer for all nations in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

God's purpose, just, envisions mortals free;
God, set our path toward human liberty.
Still be our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay -
Your Word our law, your paths our chosen way.

Stanza 2 of "God of the Ages" - text by Daniel Crane Roberts, 1876
Word alterations © The Pilgrim Press, 1992 CCLI License # 1741025

A Prayer for All Soldiers

Almighty God, our everlasting Shield and Defender,

We pray to you seeking your grace and mercy for the care and keeping of the numbers of our sons and daughters serving in this nation's armed forces. We ask that each day they would know the comfort of your presence, that they would be strengthened to resist trials and temptations, that they would be blessed with courage to face certain peril, and that they would be aware of your grace.

We pray also for all combatants in this war, for soldiers on both sides of these battles. We pray that men and women in service to their countries should not die in vain, that death could be avoided altogether, and that some way and some how your peace would prevail to bring an end to fighting. We profess a Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ whose love blesses peacemakers to become the children of God.

Hear our prayer for all soldiers in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God your gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, and every gain divine.

Stanza 1 of "America the Beautiful" - text by Katherine Lee Bates, 1893

A Prayer for All Innocents

God of all compassion and grace, who remembers all who suffer,

We pray for all of those persons, who, through no fault of their own, have been harmed by this war. To those who have fallen victim to terrorist attacks, grant a sense of your protection and safety. To those innocent civilians who have been killed or injured in the struggle of the last ten days, whether by a Coalition missile gone astray or the purposeful slaughter of their own government leaders, grant your mercy and peace. To family members on both sides of this struggle who await the return of their loved ones, grant patience, wisdom, and hope in these most uncertain times.

We pray that even as we engage in combat, may we also engage with even more intensity in acts of compassion: to comfort those in shock, to bind up the wounded, to feed the hungry, to give shelter to the homeless, to bury the dead, and to console all those who mourn.

Hear our prayer for all innocents in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
O hear my song, O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

Stanza 1 and part of stanza 2 of "This Is My Song" - text by Lloyd Stone, 1934
© Breitkopf and Hartel CCLI License # 1741025

A Prayer for the Universal Church

Gracious God,

We pray for and with Christians around the world that we all should be instruments of your peace. We lift up our hearts for your holy and universal Church, that it should be filled with your truth to be givers of your peace to a world at war.

We pray your forgiveness when we limit the scope of your saving work solely to our own experiences of it or even limit it to our own geography. By your grace, followers of our Lord carried the gospel to Gentiles, our own ancestors in faith who eventually brought the good news even to this land. Your Church stretches to the ends of the earth and we are blessed to be part of the body of Christ. Where we are corrupted, we seek your purity; where in error, your reform; where astray, your direction. Where your church is right we seek your strengthening power to stay the course for the sake of Jesus Christ our Savior.

We pray that this body of believers would take on the zeal of its forbears that we should continue to take the gospel of our Lord to a hurting and dying world. As he gave his life that the world, through him, would be saved, may our witness to the world be seen as we present ourselves as living sacrifices offered that all may know Jesus Christ, the power of his forgiveness, the hope of his resurrection, and the life in his name that ensures liberty.

Hear our prayer for your universal church in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in his bosom that transfigures you and me; As he died to make us holy, let us die to make all free, While God is marching on.

Stanza 3 of "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory" – text by Julia Ward Howe, 1861

A Prayer for World Peace

Eternal God,

We pray that you would show us the way to peace in our world. We know that in your perfect Kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, and that there is no strength but the strength of love. Spread abroad your Holy Spirit in a mighty way, that all the peoples of the earth may be gathered together as your children under the banner of the Prince of Peace. For the sake of the whole world, hasten that day which the prophet Isaiah saw coming: when the instruments of battle shall be changed into plowshares and pruning hooks; when nation shall no longer lift up weapons against nation, and "neither shall they learn war any more."

We pray that you would open our hearts to your power moving around us and between us and within us, until your glory is revealed in our love of both friend and enemy, in communities transformed by justice and compassion, and in the healing of all that is now broken. Let the design of your great love shine on the waste of our wraths and sorrows, and give peace to your Church, peace among the nations, peace in our homes, and peace in our hearts.

Hear our prayer for world peace in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

O God of love, O God of peace,
Make wars throughout the world to cease;
The wrath of nations now restrain:
Give peace, O God, give peace again!

Stanza 1 of "O God of Love, O God of Peace" - text by Henry Williams Baker, 1860

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