Prayers and Poems

Poets Against the War began with Laura Bush's invitation to the White House to "celebrate American poetry" before the Iraq war.

by Art Laffin

Loving God,
We beg your forgiveness for the war that the U.S. is waging against the Iraqi people,for destroying Iraq's infrastructure by massive bombings, for using highly toxic weapons that contaminate Iraqi land and water, and are causing major increases in cancers among children.
Forgive us for imposing economic sanctions that have killed over one million Iraqis, mostly children.
Forgive us for placing oil interests above human welfare.
Heal us of our moral blindness and fill our hearts with love.
Help us to renounce all killing, to stop demonizing our adversaries, to value all life as sacred, and to see the Iraqi people as our brothers and sisters.
Empower us to engage in nonviolent action to end this slaughter of the innocents.
O God, make us channels of your peace and reconciliation. Amen

Reprinted with permission from Pax Christi USA.

Prayer for Peace

Eternal God, maker of heaven and earth, we pray the people of Iraq. We ask that your mercy and grace reach those who have suffered from war, continued bombings, and sanctions. Hear the cries of the thousands who grieve the death of their children, the death of family members, the death of security and well-being. We pray for the people of the U.S. and Canada, that we would support efforts to create peaceful relations with Iraq and resist any possible invasion, which will only bring further devastation to a suffering people. We pray for our political leaders, that they will have the wisdom to provide a security not based upon the threat of power, but the vulnerability of compassion, and the vision of being world citizens. We pray for justice and peace, a justice that tears down walls that divide nations, a peace that builds bridges of hope between peoples.

Leo Hartshorn
Minister of Peace and Justice
Mennonite Mission Network

These pieces are all from "Prayers for a Thousand Years", Edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon
Reprinted with permission of the editors

We are about to enter the 15 millionth millennium of the universe.
We are about to enter the 4.5 millionth millennium of the earth.
We are about to enter the 4 millionth millennium of life.
We are about to enter the 2,600 millennium of humans.
We are about to enter the 3rd millennium of the common era.

We are who we are today because of all that has existed before us.
We carry in our bodies and spirits the struggles and changes, joys
and sorrows, loves and hates that have occurred throughout all time.

We are called to live with the knowledge and awareness that we are
part of all that is and that our decisions have an effect on the quality
of life for all beings. We are called to live this connectedness that
exists between all members of creation. We are called to put our
hands upon creation and speak to it in words and touch, telling it how
lovely it is because it cannot remember. We are called to remember
loveliness for one another until each of us can remember, believe, and
live in love.

Sr. Mary Goergen, O.S.F
Assisi Heights, Minnesota

Let us understand
The gravity of our situation.

Let us understand
That our only redemption
Is love.

Love for a small, endangered planet
On which we are utterly dependent.

Only love can transform us
From plunderers and savages
Into Earthkeepers and peacemakers.

Only love can show us
The integrity and rights
Of all other beings.

Only love can open our eyes
To the truth and beauty
That surround us.
Only love can teach us
The humility we need
To live on this Earth.

And only love can now save us
From extinction.

Mary de La Valette
Poet and activist,
Gaia Institute, Massachusetts


Be still and know that I am with you,
says the Lord.
Be still and know I am you,
says the Tao.

We are part of nature and nature is part of us.
We are held by the Hand of God
and we are the Hands of God.

Do not try to live as if you are separate.
You are not.
You are of God,
part of the Tao.
You are within the landscape.
You are elements of the seasons.
You are of both heaven and earth.

Be known for what you are, and make your actions harbingers
of a better future.
Flow like water around obstacles.
Do not batter your head against a brick wall.
Flow under it and when it collapses,
You will be long gone.

Hold true to God
rest in the Tao,
and you will be carried to where the future needs you.

Martin Palmer
International Consultancy on
Religion, Education, and Culture, England

Spiritual awakening is frequently described as a journey to the top of a mountain.
We leave our attachments and our worldliness behind and slowly make our way
to the top. At the peak we have transcended all pain. The only problem with this
metaphor is that we leave all the others behind-our drunken brother, our schizophrenic
sister, our tormented animals and friends. Their suffering continues, unrelieved by
our personal escape.
In the process of discovering our true nature, the journey goes down, not up.
It's as if the mountain pointed toward the center of the earth instead of reaching into
the sky. Instead of transcending the suffering of all creatures, we move toward the
turbulence and doubt. We jump into it. We slide into it. We tiptoe into it. We move
toward it however we can. We explore the reality and unpredictability of insecurity
and pain, and we try not to push it away. If it takes years, if it takes lifetimes, we will
let it be as it is. At our own pace, without speed or aggression, we move down and
down and down. With us move millions of others, our companions in awakening from fear. At the bottom we discover water, the healing water of compassion. Right down
there is the thick of things, we discover the love that will not die.

Bhiksuni Pema Chodron
Buddhist teacher and abbess, Gampo Abbey, Canada

Anne Hilman
Author and international
lecturer, California
No Paywall. No Ads. Just Readers Like You.
You can help fund powerful stories to light the way forward.
Donate Now.