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Ecumenical Prayers for Peace

A Prayer Vigil for Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and the Middle East

On Sunday 22nd October 2023 a prayer vigil for peace took place. It was hosted by St James’s Piccadilly in partnership with Christian Aid, Embrace the Middle East, the Amos Trust, Sabeel Kairos, Bloomsbury Baptist Church, The Methodist Church in Britain, Quakers in Britain, and the United Reformed Church.

Below, you can read some of the content of the vigil. Or You can, download the full liturgy:

Welcome and Introduction

We meet in the name of God,
the source of life, hope, and peace.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.

Words of welcome are offered.

Oh Lord hear my prayer, oh Lord hear my prayer.
When I call, answer me.
Oh Lord, hear my prayer, oh Lord hear my prayer.
Come and listen to me.

Psalm 31:3-4

You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
for you are my refuge.

A 19-year-old survivor of the attack by Hamas on Kibbutz Be’eri who was evacuated to the Dead Sea after the attack.

After speaking of her loss of people she has known all her life, she offered up this plea:

How am I supposed to wake up every morning and know that 4.5km away from my home in Kibbutz Be’eri in Gaza there are people for whom this is not over? For me this is ended after 12 hours. I’m here at the Dead Sea.
Yes we are in a lot of pain that is true. And after everything I just went through, I feel depleted every time I hear the word revenge. What I went through and to know there are people going through it in Gaza and there’s no-one to rescue them? We cannot go on like this… They keep asking “Do you think you’ll go back to the Kibbutz after all you’ve been through without additional soldiers and protection.” Don’t tell me about soldiers and protection. Tell me about a political solution. For years we have been asking for a political solution.

Abed, a woman living in Haifa:

We really hope it won’t escalate here … Cleaning up hundreds of bomb shelters has been good for everyone so far, making sure people know where they are and are fit for purpose … I hope the solidarity we have built between different communities can endure against such a polarising moment.

A woman living in Gaza City:

All my neighbours and families are evacuating from their homes, but we don’t know where can we go. No shelters,
no safe places now in Gaza. All Gaza under attack, under bombing. No electricity, no internet, no power. About food and water … we are running out too. We are not safe, we don’t know what’s next.

Good and gracious God,
you are the source of peace and hope.
If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.

We pray for the people of Israel, Gaza and the West Bank. We long for an end to violence, death, and destruction of every kind. We unite our hearts with all who are suffering, with those who have lost loved ones, and with all who cry out in anguish.

The Prayer of the Mothers:

God of Life:

You who heals the broken-hearted, binding up our wounds.
Please hear this prayer of mothers.
You did not create us to kill each other
Nor to live in fear or rage or hatred in your world.
You created us so that we allow each other to sustain
Your Name in this world:
Your name is Life, your name is Peace.
For these I weep, my eye sheds water:
For our children crying in the night, For parents holding
infants, despair and darkness in their hearts.
For a gate that is closing – who will rise to open it before
the day is gone?
With my tears and with my constant prayers,
With the tears of all women deeply pained at these harsh times I raise my hands to you in supplication:
Please God have mercy on us.
Hear our voice that we not despair
That we will witness life with each other,
That we have mercy one for another
That we share sorrow one with the other
That we hope, together, one for another.
Inscribe our lives in the book of Life For Your sake,
our God of Life Let us choose Life.
For You are Peace,
Your world is Peace and all that is Yours is Peace,
May this be your will.
And let us say Amen.

– Co-written by Sheikha Ibtisam Mahameed and Rabba Tamar Elad-Appelbaum and translated by Amichai Lau-Lavie

We give thanks to the Creator who offers us that peace which the world cannot give, and provides immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine. By the power of the Spirit who is at work among us, we ask for courage, strength and resilience, to go out from this place, heeding God’s call for justice, and resolving to work untiringly, together, for peace in a world at war.

May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all evermore. Amen.

Download the full liturgy:

Prayers for Peace Partners

United Reformed Church