Today is the UN International Day of Peace, and the World Council of Churches Day of Prayer for Peace. 21 September is increasingly being established in the Church calendar as a day of reflection and action for a more peaceful and just world.
Our partners in the British Baptist-Methodist-United Reformed Church Joint Public Issues Team have prepared resources for today, which can also be used on Sunday (Peacemaking Sunday is the Sunday closest to the 21 Sept).
The focus for this year’s Peacemaking Sunday is around global attempts to introduce an Arms Trade Treaty, which has been the focus of campaigns for many years and which has been strongly supported by the Churches.
As the conflict in Syria continues, it is right that we take time to stop and remind ourselves of the importance of peace, the complexity of securing it, and how lucky we are to live where there is peace.
This prayer is taken from the Peacemaking Sunday resources, and is a prayer for peacemakers:
Lord, we pray for all those people who in the coming week will try to be the means of bringing peace to situations of conflict and confusion.
We pray for politicians and leaders who are working to bring warring countries and factions to the negotiating table. We especially remember the work of the United Nations. We ask for wisdom and insight for deal makers In the corridors of power, we ask for protection for the 17 UN peace operations deployed across the globe. We pray for safe and successful missions in Haiti, the Western Sahara, Liberia, the Ivory Coast, the Congo, Sudan, Kosovo, Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and East Timor.
We pray for countries where democracy is fragile and the rule of law is vulnerable.
We pray for ACAS, and their work in the UK to mediate where there are disputes within the workplace.
We pray for counsellors, trying to bring reconciliation to families where husbands are divided from wives, and one generation estranged from another.
We pray for our own churches. We ask for your forgiveness for our petty fallings out, for our very public disputes about how we interpret Scripture and about how we hold holiness and inclusiveness in tension.
Finally, Lord, where there is conflict in our own lives, perhaps even in our own hearts, may we become more submissive to you and the ways in which you call us to live, which are always the best. Amen.