The week of prayer for world peace

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Lead me from falsehood to truth.
Lead me from despair to hope,
from fear to trust.
Lead me from hate to love,
from war to peace.
Let peace fill our heart, our world, our universe.

Satish Kumar (1936-) adapted from the Hindu Upanishads, c 9th century BCE.

This prayer appears in Rejoice and Sing.

It is set there to a beautiful tune by Paul Bateman, and many of us have sung it. It is associated with this week of prayer, founded in 1974 through a Christian initiative, but now a week that people of many faiths keep. The first Chair of the week, the Dean of Westminster, said that 'The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world'.

I confess I don't find 'interfaith' prayer a comfortable thought. I ponder who I am asking to 'lead me', and what it means to think of 'our heart' in the singular. I find myself still in the foothills of Christian prayer and I don't want to walk on any other path.

BUT, as I watch the news and see the pain of a world in which many are persecuted, bombed, exiled, radicalised, tortured and killed because of their faith; as I see a world at war, and faith used to make enemies, I recognise that I must overcome my scruples to this extent – people of faith must reach out across the path and ask that we will be led to peace, while we have hands with which to reach out and a world to share.

Let us lead each other, let Christ lead us, let anyone who can hear us lead us, and show us the way to peace.

The Revd Dr Susan Durber is theology coordinator for Christian Aid and a minister of the United Reformed Church

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