Week of Prayer for World Peace, October 15-22, 2023

Week of Prayer for World Peace, October 15-22, 2023 October 12, 2023

Week of Prayer for World Peace. october 15-22, 2023. People of different faith traditions holding hands.
Honoring the voices of traditions from around the world, we join in fervent prayers for peace. (image: Alignment: Interfaith Contemplative Practices)

Are prayers enough? No. Never. But they are foundational.We sit here today and watch horror unfold. Families and friends slaughtered. People we will never know devastated. We send donations, attend rallies, reach out to those whose very being is threatened and offer love and light. And we pray. Are these prayers enough? No. But they root any action we take, any support we offer, any pain we suffer in something that transcends our circumstances and capabilities. Prayers honor that we are more than single entities. That we are held in divine love. That we can be witnesses of that divine love in the lives of others.

And so it is deeply my belief that our prayers must be shared across traditions.

Seven months ago the work for this year’s Week of Prayer for World Peace began and the theme Praying with Hope in a Troubled World was chosen. This annual observation of prayer for peace was established in 1974 in a world all too familiar with terrorist attacks and bombings. George MacLeod, the founder of the Iona Community in Scotland, joined with other faith leaders to sign A Call to Prayer for World Peace. “Believing that God is calling us to pray with new purpose and deeper understanding for peace and justice among all people, we invite our fellow believers of all faiths to join in a Week of Prayer for World Peace”.

Where people are praying for peace the cause of peace is strengthened by their very act of prayer, for they are themselves becoming immersed in the spirit of peace.
                                                                                                 – George MacLeod 

Strengthening the Interfaith Voice

In a meeting with the Interfaith Common Concern Network of the Iona Community, planning for their involvement with the written resources offered by the Week of Prayer for World Peace, it was noted that although the call invokes an invitation to those of all faiths, the prayers being used were merely adaptations of prayers from other traditions. Where were the voices of prayer calling out to God by different names? Where were the forms of prayer that are known only in ancient words, in song, embodied in movement? Could we strengthen the intention of the call to prayer by including the voices of faith leaders from different traditions offering these prayers for peace?

So the collaboration began. The office of the Week of Prayer for World Peace (based in London) with the Iona Community (based in Scotland) and Alignment: Interfaith Contemplative Practices (based in Philadelphia) reached out to faith leaders from eight different religious and spiritual traditions to create a digital experience for the Week of Prayer to be used by individuals and faith communities around the world. Each day offers a five-minute prayer from the following communities: Jewish, Baha’i, Lebanese Maronite Christian, Hindu, Shinnyo-en Buddhist, Sikh, Indigenous/Native, and Pagan/Wiccan. 

three logos of the Iona community, Alignment interfaith contemplative practices and the week of prayer for world peace

The Intention of Prayers for Peace

The intention of this collaboration is

  • to encourage those seeking peace for all of humanity to expand our own practices of prayer by embracing the prayers of other traditions
  • to nurture understanding, empathy, and harmony among diverse faith communities 
  • to raise awareness of the practices and teachings of other traditions

We hope 

  • To demonstrate that a commitment to world peace must embrace all peoples and include the traditions, prayers, and hopes of all peoples.
  • To expand our awareness and knowledge of other traditions and provide the opportunity to pray with those from other religious and spiritual traditions.

Kaitlin Curtis in her book, Native – Identity, Belonging and Rediscovering God, writes about the journey of being human alongside others of different traditions. She defines the work of sharing our practices as the responsibility we all hold to and for our own tradition, and to and for one another. As we engage with the prayers for peace through this week and beyond, may we embrace this journey of being human alongside our siblings who pray in ways that are different from the way we pray. May we be open enough to incorporate new prayers into our own. May we center our life’s action in that which honors humanity by valuing the way in which others pray. May we be strong enough to put prayers for peace at the beginning of our work for peace.

Prayer is a witness that we are more than our own circumstances and our own capabilities. Learning to pray with someone in their tradition honors them and their struggles and communicates the intention of peace.

____________________

n.b. The doors will open at midnight US Eastern Time each day of the Week of Prayer, beginning October 15. Once a prayer opens, it will remain open to be revisited through the year. Please contact us if you would like the embed code to host the WPWP on your own website. Reels will be posted daily as well by the Iona Community and Alignment on social media.

https://www.facebook.com/IonaCommunity
https://www.instagram.com/ionacommunity/
https://www.facebook.com/InterfaithAlignment/
https://www.instagram.com/alignmentinterfaith/ 

Gratitude to Ziming Yuan for building the digital platform.
Visit www.interfaithalignment.org/wpwp 

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