Ash Wednesday: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem
Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, “Peace be within you.”
The season of Lent is a time for solemn reflection, prayer, and repentance, leading up to Holy Week, when Jesus returned to Jerusalem, was crucified, buried, and resurrected. We enter into the season of Lent this Ash Wednesday, many of us wearing ashes on our foreheads, reminding us that it is from dust that we came, and to dust we will return. During this season, it is appropriate for us to reflect on ourselves and our world, both of which are broken and in need of repentance. As we do so, we pray with hopeful anticipation for peace and justice.
Many Christians around the world will observe this season through fasting, whether in the traditional sense from food, or in more creative means. Others will take on a new practice, whether intentional reading of Scripture, or acts of service. However you choose to observe this season, over the next forty days, Churches for Middle East Peace invites you to join with us in prayer for the peace of Jerusalem.
In Psalm 122, the Psalmist understands that the city of Jerusalem was fractured. Jerusalem literally translates to “city of peace” and yet the Psalmist understands that it is not, in fact, at peace. While the contemporary conflicts are not the same as those in the day of the Psalmist, it takes no stretch of our imaginations to look at Jerusalem and see the fractures there today.
This past year we saw protests in the streets following the Trump Administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. We read about U.S. policies which would seem to only hinder a peace process. Our hearts have been broken, and our hope may be frail, but we continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem and its many people.
Each Sunday this Lenten season we will examine the city’s deep meaning for the people who call it holy. We invite you to journey with us as we set aside preconceived notions and assumptions, and enter into this season of repentance, reflection, and prayer.
We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, and all its people. We pray for greater understanding of the fractures, and wisdom for those in positions to heal them. As we enter into this time of reflection and prayer we ask that you would show us the fractures in our own lives that also need healing so that we may repent. Where there is brokenness and conflict, we pray for your peace and justice to be made known. Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer.
This devotion was written by Molly Lorden, the CMEP 1835 Coordinator for Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP). She is also currently studying toward a Master of Divinity at Princeton Theological Seminary.
CMEP is very thankful for the writers who contribute Spiritual Resources. However, CMEP does not necessarily agree with all the positions of our writers, and they do not speak on CMEP’s behalf.
Dear God… Thank you for the opportunity to join in the fellowship of believers alongside so many followers of Christ who are observing this Lenten Season. As we return to the heart of our faith – the spirit of the life and story of Christ – be with us in the midst of our brokenness. May we be reminded that from dust we have come; and to dust we shall return. Be with the city of Jerusalem and all its inhabitants. And usher in the spirit and manifestation of peace. Amen.