Diocese of Portsmouth


    22 March 2003

    There is no one right way to pray about a situation such as the crisis in Iraq - what works well for one person may not for another. The following thoughts are offered 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 selection follows.

    A Simple Prayer in Troubled Times

    God of love,
    turn our hearts to your ways;
    and give us peace. Amen.

    This brief and simple prayer can easily be memorised for use as a repeated prayer from the heart.

    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 and frightened.

    Help them to remember, that you are there
    and you are listening.
    In Jesus' name, we pray: Amen

    A Prayer for Refugees

    Almighty and merciful God,
    whose Son became a refugee
    and had no place to call his own;
    look with mercy on those who today
    are fleeing from danger,
    homeless and hungry.
    Bless those who work to bring them relief;
    inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts;
    and guide the nations of the world towards that day
    when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Two Prayers for Justice

    Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world into the
    way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the
    fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and
    Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

    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 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.

    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.

    A Prayer for Reconciliation

    Gracious God,
    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;
    forgive us.

    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.

    Two Prayers for Peace

    Almighty Father,
    whose will is to restore all things
    in your beloved Son, the king of all:
    govern the hearts and minds of those in authority,
    and bring the families of the nations,
    divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin,
    to be subject to his just and gentle rule;
    who is alive and reigns with you,
    in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
    one God, now and for ever. Amen.

    O God, who would 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. 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.

    Verses to pray from the Psalms

    Wait for the Lord; Be strong and he shall comfort your heart;
    Wait patiently for the Lord. (Psalm 27.17)

    God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. (Psalm 46.1)
    Be still, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46.10)

    The Lord's Prayer - traditional form

    Our Father, who art in Heaven,
    Hallowed be thy name.
    Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,
    On earth as it is in heaven.
    Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses,
    As we forgive those who trespass against us.
    And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
    For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory,
    For ever and ever. Amen.

    An Invitation to Prayer

    '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.

    God bless you.