Pray for Peace through Interfaith Dialogue
Song: Prayer of St. Francis (Make Me A Channel of Your Peace)
God of all people, open our hearts to understanding other faith traditions. We are all made in your image and seek to know and follow your ways, to praise you, and to be instruments of your Holy presence. May we respect those who are different from us, who follow a different faith tradition than us. May we seek to know the truth of your Word and find common ground among the many faith traditions and recognize that we share a common humanity. Help us to be people of compassion and understanding, creating a path to a peaceful coexistence among all people. Amen.
Many of us tend to think our way of doing things is the only way to do something. It may be hard for us to accept those who follow different religious practices or who worship in ways different from what we are accustomed to. But, when we engage in authentic dialogue to understand the customs, behaviors, and beliefs of others, we can begin to let go of the differences that may have kept us apart or made us fearful and intolerant of the other.
It takes courage to be open-minded and not feel threatened by the beliefs of others. We can feel challenged when we are confronted with questions about our way of doing things. We can feel uncomfortable also with the misconceptions others have of our religious beliefs. But, only through dialogue and a willingness to understand (not change, evangelize, or proselytize) can we open the door to the possibility of mutual respect and of coexisting peacefully.
Reflection Question: How do I treat others who are different from me? What are the ways I show love to those who are different from me? Do I believe God loves everyone? Do I seek to understand and befriend those from another faith background?
(Pause for a moment of silent reflection)
- Holy Spirit, Come. Help us to be open-minded and understanding of those whose faith traditions are different from our own. Holy Spirit, hear us.
- Holy Spirit, Come. Fill us with a spirit of mutual respect in our interactions with people of other faith traditions. Holy Spirit, fill us.
- Jesus, our Savior. Deliver us from saying and doing things that demean others and denigrate their beliefs. Holy Spirit, deliver us.
- God our Redeemer. Forgive people who are intolerant of people of other faith traditions. Forgive us for not always speaking up to prevent harmful outcomes. Holy Spirit, forgive us.
- God of Creation, teach us to value the dignity of each person and care for each other as you care for us.Holy Spirit, teach us.
The following prayer authored by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy was used in many places in inter-religious worships around the time of the Gulf War in 1991:
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You.
Great and wonderful are Your works, wondrous are your ways.
Thank You for the many splendored-variety of Your creation.
Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and purpose,
and the freedom to do so.
Forgive our violation of Your creation.
Forgive our violence toward each other.
We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent love
for each and all of Your children:
Christian, Jew, Muslim,
as well as those with other faiths.
Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong;
mutual respect in words and deed,
restraint in the exercise of power, and
the will for peace with justice, for all.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You. Amen.
Reprinted from the World Council of Churches website at: https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/wcc-programmes/interreligious-dialogue-and-cooperation/interreligious-trust-and-respect/prayer-for-peace-by-christian-jewish-and-muslim-clergy
Dominican Blessing: May God the Creator bless us, May God Redeemer heal us and May God, the Holy Spirit, fill us with peace.
Suggested Practice: I commit myself today to be accepting of those whose faith traditions are different from me and to finding ways to be welcoming to everyone I meet.
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Please share this Novena on your Facebook page and forward it to at least 5 people. The Fifth Day of the Novena will be “Peace is Essential to Achieving Racial Justice”
Prepared by Mary Ellen George, OPA.