International Day of Peace on 21st September – reflection and prayer
On Sunday 21st September 2014, millions of people around the work will participate in activities, events, prayers and festivals to celebrate the International Day of Peace. At noon in every time zone, a moment of silence will be held, sending a peace wave around the world.
Established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1981 Peace Day is an opportunity for individuals, organisations and nations to create practical acts of peace. Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21st September. This is a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.
Since its inception Peace Day has marked our personal and global progress towards peace. Anyone anywhere can celebrate Peace Day. It can be as simple as lighting a candle at noon, sitting in silent meditation, doing a good deed for someone unknown or reflecting on being more peaceful with those around us. It may involve getting co-workers, organisations or community members engaged in a larger event. Each of us can make a difference. When people throughout the world come together for peace the impact is profound and does make a difference.
The theme of this year’s Day of Peace is the “Right of Peoples to Peace”. It offers a unique opportunity to reaffirm the United Nations commitment to the purposes and principles upon which the Organization was founded. The Declaration on the Right of Peoples to Peace recognizes that the promotion of peace is vital for the full enjoyment of all human rights. This is a day to join communities and people of all races, ages, genders, and faiths, who share concern for the welfare of the Earth and humanity and to ask for assistance and understanding in creating a different path for building empowerment for positive solutions.
This year we have a number of different prayers and resources to draw on. You can use the reflection and prayer below, or this prayer service.
Invite quietness and stillness into your heart. Stand in the presence of God
Face East: pray for the presence of peace in the dawning in each place in the world
Face South: pray for the warning of hearts among enemies in all places of war
Face West: pray for the elimination of violence in all forms throughout the world
Face North: pray for sincerity in finding ways to bring love and peace in our world
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be known as the Children of God. But I say to you that hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do to you, so do to them. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
Light a candle or place a stone, crane or flower in a central focus as you pray for the victims of war
- We remember each child born into places where war and civil unrest occurs, we thank God for the miracle and sacredness of each living being.
- We remember the bombs, missiles and drones that kill thousands of women and children in Iraq, Ukraine, Israel, Gaza, Syria, Afghanistan, Nigeria, DC Congo, Sudan and other places. May they rest in peace.
- We remember the terrible destructive power and violence latent within us. We draw on the rich sources of our human and spiritual traditions and deep wells of faith, beauty, humour, and creativity to nourish a culture of nonviolence and peace.
- We remember the peacemaker visionaries who have come before us, and we give thanks for their witness and their commitment to life.
- We remember all Indigenous people, whose lands have been laid waste by mining and war and we ask that healing, justice and reconciliation be made peacefully with them.
- We remember the plants and animals of the earth, whose waters, soil and air we contaminate in the name of “security” and we give thanks for the life they continue to provide to humanity.
- We pray that the Spirit may blow through the world this day, reminding all rulers and peoples of the horror of war and creating a desire to end the reliance on military force to resolve political and economic disputes. Give humankind a vision of a world where weapons are turned to ploughshares and everyone works for the wellbeing of humankind and the environment.
- Add your own prayers
All: God, who created this world and revealed your love for all people in Jesus Christ, empower us to work for peace with justice, cooperating with all people of goodwill. Enable us to work with one another that peace may reign, that the needs of all be met, and that those oppressed by war may be set free. Amen
Lord, make us instruments of your peace. Where there is hatred, let us sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we 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.
– attributed to St. Francis