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Suggested Prayers and Litanies

Contributed by Jane Ella Montenegro and Lydia Niguidula

This is extracted from “Suggested Liturgy Guide for the International Women’s Day Celebration 2003” organised by the Ecumenical Women’s Forum. This guide is prepared by the Women’s Desk, Ecumenical Education and Nurture, National Council of Churches in the Philippines.

Pray Not

Pray not for Christians
Or Muslims.
Pray not for Arabs
Or Jews,
Or Palestinians
Or Israelis.
Pray not for Saddam Hussein
Or George Bush.
But pray rather 
For ourselves
That we might not
Divide them in our prayers
But keep them both together
In our hearts in the name of peace.
Amen.

(adapted from a prayer of a Palestinian Christian)

Prayer for Peace

O God of Peace, we pray for

Peace in the midst of violence in all forms and the impending war in the Middle East.

O God of Peace, we pray for

Equal treatment between and among women and men, old and young, weak and strong nations, Christians and non-Christians.

O God of Peace, we pray to

Assuage hatred and greed in the human heart and change them to compassion for all beings and all creation.

O God of Peace, we pray for

Calmness in the midst of mounting anxiety, escalating prices, and worsening conflicts in human relationships.

In the name of Christ, the Prince of Peace. Amen.

A Litany of Lamentation and Confession

Leader 1: O God of Creation, when stomachs are famished and throats are parched with thirst, when bones are broken and bodies are bleeding to death because of war and violence...

People: How can we praise and thank you, God?

Leader 2: O God of Peace and Justice, when truth is twisted to serve evil interests and human rights are not respected by the leaders of the land. When the mighty design advanced technology and the weak can hardly defend their dignity...

People: how can we rejoice and be glad, O God?

Leader 1: As you heard your people cry in Goshen, they cry still today. Please hear them now.

People: Be merciful to us, O God. Wash away our evils ways and wicked thoughts.

Leader 2: We have been selfish by not sharing the giftedness and resources you have given us. We look down on others whom you have made in your own image.

People: Forgive us, O God, we pray.

Leader 1: We oppress others by denying them the chance to be free—to love and be happy, and to seek their identities.

People: Forgive us, O God, we pray.

Leader 2: We have sinned at all levels as individuals, as families, as a church, as a government—hardening our hearts to the needs of the least of our sisters and brothers.

People: Forgive us, O God, we pray.

Leader 1: We have sinned against your creation, O God, disrespecting other beings, making extinct gentle and rare life-forms all in the name of amusement and armaments.

People: Forgive us, O God, we pray.

Leader 2: How shall we answer our children’s children when they asked, “Why didn’t you save the forests, the clean water and air for us?”

(Silence)

Leader 1 & 2: How shall we answer you, O God, when you ask?
“Why didn’t you treat each other as equals?”
“Why did you choose war to peace, oppression instead of justice, and sorrow instead of joy?”

(Silence)

Song of Penitence: “Kyrei Eleison” (6 x)