For several years I have followed the Ecumenical Prayer Cycle from the World Council of Churches. Each week throughout the year we are invited to pray for countries and and the people who live there. Over the course of the year, we pray for the nations and peoples of the entire world.
The ordering of the countries is the same every year. So I was amazed to find that the prayers for this week are for the countries and peoples of Iran, Iraq, and Syria. (God timing!) Here are the intercessions from the prayer cycle website:
We are thankful for:
- the resilience of the people who remain in Syria, Iraq and Iran, despite constant threats and ongoing violence
- the relief and assistance that has been provided to so many
- those who have made a new home for refugees fleeing from these countries
- those who have worked continually for peace, justice and reconciliation.
We pray for:
- an end to the violence racking these battlefields of global powers
- political leaders emerging in these countries who will pursue peace, the common good, and human rights of all groups
- the international community to pursue policies that will result in acceptable, just peace for all involved
- greater openness to welcoming those displaced or fleeing from these lands, desperately seeking safety and wellbeing.
And I add these prayers:
For the leaders of the world, especially our president and his advisors, that they may have hearts of wisdom and compassion. God, in your mercy. Hear our prayers.
For those who live in war-torn places, that they may know your presence with them, that they may be freed from fear, that they may be comforted in their distress. God, in your mercy. Hear our prayers.
For those who serve in the military and their families in these times of uncertainty, that they may know that your love surrounds them. God, in your mercy. Hear our prayers.
For all of those who mourn and who are afraid, that they may be comforted by your loving embrace. God, in your mercy. Hear our prayers.
For all people and all the earth, that your healing and peace might come upon us. God, in your mercy. Hear our prayers.
God, in your mercy, hear all of these prayers, those spoken out loud, those spoken in our hearts, and those prayers we don’t even know we are praying. You hear all these prayers; indeed, you hear the prayers of the whole creation. We pray in the name of the One who came to bring peace to the world. Amen.