Category: Prayers for Peace (P4P)

Violence and chaos in the Middle East have left many around the world hopeless and feeling helpless. As followers of Jesus, we refuse to be sidetracked by the temptation to despair.

Prayers for Peace (P4P) provides a way for Christians of diverse political and theological backgrounds to stand up for peace and unite in supplication to God with a special focus on prayers for the Holy Land. Prayers for Peace provides Jesus’ followers with the common language of prayer around which to mobilize their energy and passion for the land that gave birth to our faith. To combat the prevailing images of discord, Prayers for Peace will highlight peace-building organizations that we may pray for them as they live out the reconciliation offered in the Prophets and Jesus’ message of peace.


Register for the weekly time of prayer here.


Prayers4Peace: Fifth Sunday of Lent 2024

The Heroes of Faith, Fifth Sunday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Kent D. Johnson

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us,  looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2

This passage in Hebrews comes after a chapter devoted to the heroes of faith– from Abel to Abraham and Moses down through the prophets. These people of faith are part of the great cloud of witness that the writer of Hebrews mentions; they serve as sources of encouragement for the followers of Jesus who grow weary from the trials, challenges, and hostility to their ministry.  

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Prayers4Peace: Fourth Sunday of Lent 2024

The Path of the Cross, Fourth Sunday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Mark Davis

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right.”

Whenever a member of our congregation dies, I imagine them suddenly joining the “great cloud of witnesses” that crowds the room when we gather. Most recently, a friend named Larry died suddenly after a long life of service and peacemaking. I will miss his face-to-face fellowship terribly, but I am confident that he is now part of the cloud that surrounds God’s people, side-by-side with Jeremiah, Sojourner Truth, Archbishop Oscar Romero, and other lesser-known saints who saw the path of Jesus’ cross as the only alternative to a world devoted to resentment, retaliation, and cycles of escalatory violence. 

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Prayers4Peace: Third Sunday of Lent 2024

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2 (ESV)

Costly Love and Hard Places, Third Sunday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Rich Leatherberry

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

“Let us run with perseverance the race set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1

We live in a culture of quick fixes, instant rewards, and short-term commitments. The temptation is to avoid the hard things, quit, move on, or find something different or someone new. Oliver Wendel Holmes, one of the most influential judges in American history, once wrote: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” More than building a resume of all the great things we have done or will do, it’s our character that matters most.  

Perseverance is the character quality that never gives up. Perseverance doesn’t take the easy way out. It stays the course and does the right thing, even when the right thing is the hard thing. Obstacles will not stop it. Discouragement will not derail it. Setbacks will not deter it. Perseverance is the unrelenting commitment to keep going. The author of the Hebrews calls it “hupomone”– Hoop-a-monae. Say that a couple of times. It’s a fun word. Hoop-a-monae!

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Prayers4Peace: Second Sunday of Lent 2024

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2 (ESV)

Following Jesus, Together, Second Sunday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Marian Boyle Rohloff

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

I remember reading history books about the arms races of the World Wars and Cold War era. No doubt, such races are still on the agendas of nations across the globe. A great investment of time, money, and other resources goes into such material races. Unfortunately, these races make for an anxious and tenuous peace at best and encourage the use of terrible violence at worst. What if instead, our time, resources, and energy could be directed toward a life-giving peace? 

The text from Hebrews 12:1-2 invites us to consider a different race and make a different investment. In faith, we are asked to run a race with perseverance, looking to Jesus. We look to one who refused to act in violence and, in doing so, showed us the type of race we are to run. By abiding by this, we are to run for the sake of the common good, considering the human cost that any war inflicts. We are to run away from an “us against them” mentality, instead turning our hearts to the needs of all people impacted by violence. We are to run towards justice and work to undo oppressions that break down our communities.    

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Prayers4Peace: First Sunday of Lent 2024

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2 (ESV)

A Lenten Invitation, First Sunday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Amy Winkle

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

The season of Lent conjures up many emotions in us. In Lent, we are called to name and acknowledge our sin, our pain, and the brokenness of our world. In so doing, we also acknowledge our need for a Savior. Recent years brought on a pandemic and social unrest, difficult personal moments for many, and wars playing out across the world; in all of this, our need for a Savior is all the more evident. However, the coming of Lent can feel like a piling on in a time that already feels heavy. It is easy to groan a bit on the inside and think unenthusiastically, “Oh good, Lent is here again.”

Yet, here it is again. The gift of Lent comes to us once more. Not as a burden, but as a gift. Still, how can we accept this gift when we feel like we are surrounded by pain – both inside of us and in our world – and when we witness the unimaginable pain and brokenness that reveals itself in war in the Middle East and around the world? How do we choose to participate, rather than saying, “it’s too much to engage”?

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Prayers4Peace: Ash Wednesday of Lent 2024

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12: 1-2 (ESV)

“…let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us…”, Ash Wednesday of Lent 2024
Written by Rev. Pat Swanson

Reading: Hebrews 12: 1-2

One of my professors in seminary taught us to read Scripture closely and ask good questions. In reading this passage from Hebrews, this question continued to surface for me:

What’s the point of a race anyway? 

It’s to successfully traverse the distance between two places. The goal is to close the distance. 

What a perfect metaphor! Is that not what God has done for us in becoming human? Choosing to share in our life, suffering, and even death? God closed the ultimate distance. Jesus is proof. Jesus becomes our example to run with the same love and with the same perseverance. 

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Prayers4Peace: War on Gaza, Again.

War on Gaza, Again.

By: Patriarch Emeritus Michel Sabbah, Written October 17th, 2023. While written 4 months ago, Patriarch Emeritus Sabbah’s words are still pertinent today as they were in October. We invite you to read this powerful piece.

“Now, you kings, come to your senses, you earthly rulers, learn your lesson!” (Ps 2: 10).

The war in Gaza has been going on for ten days. Today it is no longer a war, but rather a crime, a decision to kill and transfer all the people of Gaza, two million people. The war must stop. The words of the psalm today address Israel and the friends of Israel, Hamas and the friends of Hamas, as well as the entire Palestinian people: “Now, you kings, come to your senses, you earthly rulers, learn your lesson!” (Ps 2: 10).

The war in Gaza might be brought to a stop, but the conflict will not end. As has happened in previous wars on Gaza. This is not what is required. A ceasefire could be reached, but it is not a solution. Vengeance is not the solution, and decimating Gaza is not the solution. There is no peace in these solutions, neither for Israel nor for Palestine, neither for the region nor for the world. Indeed, our question has become a world question.

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Prayers4Peace: Lament is finally not an expression of despair but of faith.

Lament is finally not an expression of despair but of faith.

By: John Paarlberg, Regional Coordinator with Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP).

We gathered in front of our Congressman’s district office in preparation for a “die-in.” After a few opening remarks we lay down in the street, covered ourselves with white sheets and remained silent, while for more than an hour the names and ages of many of those killed in the recent violence were read aloud: “Ahmed Hussein Ahmed Al-Astal, age 12; Joan Yahya Youssef Al-Astal, age 4; Maha Ramez Amin Hassouna, age 18; Safa Suleiman Salman Al-Najjar, one year old…..”

The mood was solemn. Several times those reading the names had to pause to compose themselves. Many of us shed tears. This was a symbolic action, a kind of bodily prayer, a corporeal lament.

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Prayers4Peace: Unprecedented Humanitarian Catastrophe

Unprecedented Humanitarian Catastrophe

By: Omar Shaban, Written October 15th, 2023 in Gaza City; Revised for publication January 8th, 2024.

Today is the 93rd day of the war on Gaza, The Gaza Strip is experiencing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe, the likes of which had not been seen since 1967. 25,000 have lost their lives, and this is solely those who arrived at the hospitals. This is what arrived at the hospitals. There are thousands of people who were buried under the rubble and no one could reach them. In addition to more than 60,000 injuries, most of these are in critical situations, which means they will lose their lives due to the no heath treatment as most of the health facilities were destroyed.

The unprecedented destruction of infrastructure has made life a living hell open to everyone, it is the harshest on women, children, and the disabled. There were 8,000 wounded in hospitals within the first week, close to the number of wounded during the 51-day war in 2014. This exceeds the capacity of the most advanced health systems in the world, let alone a fragile health system that has been suffering for years from a shortage of medicines and equipment. Medical teams are no longer able to work. The army orders for 1.1 million residents of the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes and flee to the southern regions, while at the same time bombing the cars carrying them, contradicting humanity. 

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Prayers4Peace: I was protesting for sure. Was I also praying? I hope so

I was protesting for sure. Was I also praying? I hope so

By: Rev. Kathy Donley

It was late on an overcast November afternoon. I was lying on my back on Dove Street. The sheet over my face cut off my sense of sight, but I was very aware of the cold asphalt underneath me, the presence of a crowd of people, some of whom were milling around near my head, and the sounds of motors and sirens on nearby streets.

Her voice amplified by a microphone, a woman slowly recited the names and ages of Palestinian children who have died in the current war between Israel and Hamas. The children’s ages began at one year old. Names and ages were read for 12 minutes, maybe longer. “One-year-old, one-year-old, one-year-old, three-years-old, three-years-old.” She kept going. I could hear open weeping from two people close by. Anguish. Personal grief. Heartbreak. The woman kept speaking into the microphone. When she got to the names of the fourteen-year-olds, her voice began to quaver. She was also weeping. She kept reading through the sixteen-year-olds.

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