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Ecumenical prayer service for peace in Iraq

On 20 February 2003, the Executive Committee of the World Council of Churches called for churches around the world to join in prayer for peace in Iraq on the first day of Lent. An ecumenical prayer service for peace was held 20 March 2003 at the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva.

21 March 2003

An ecumenical prayer service for peace in Iraq was held 20 March 2003 at the Ecumenical Centre, Geneva. The liturgy may be used and adapted for Christian prayer services around the world.

Introductory Music


Litany of Peace

Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
(Matthew 5:9)


Song: Yarabba ssalami (Palestine) Thuma Mina 160

I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!
John 16:33


Song Yarabba ssalami

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid.
John 14:27


Song Yarabba ssalami

Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.
Psalm 34:14


Song Yarabba ssalami


Let us pray. (A brief silence) Compassionate God, may the peace we freely speak of be such an integral part of our lives that we may become vessels of peace poured out in our homes, communities, and the world.

Psalm 85:8-13

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his faithful, to those who turn to him in their hearts. Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that his glory may dwell in our land.

Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other. Faithfulness will spring up from the ground, and righteousness will look down from the sky. The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

First Reflection - WCC General Secretary, Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser

Song Tú eres amor (Argentina)

Second Reflection - the Papal Nuncio in Geneva, Msgr. Diarmuid Martin

The Prayers

Let us offer our prayers to God, pleading for that life and peace which God alone can give. Let us sing:

Song Kyrie eleison (Ukraine)
Thuma mina 35

God of our birth and all creation, we thank you for the amazing gift of life. Help us to treasure all life and to work toward ending violence. Give us courage to go where you go and to stand with the Iraqi people. Heal us of our lust for power. Grant hope and renewed strength to all who suffer from this war.

Song Kyrie eleison

God of strength, we pray for the women in Iraq who will be subjected to a lot of pain and suffering now that the war has broken out. Mothers will lose their sons, wives their husbands, daughters their fathers. Families will be torn apart, and many women will have to shoulder heavy burdens alone. We pray that you will hold the women of Iraq close to you when they are in despair and pain.

Song Kyrie eleison

God of love and care, embrace the children of Iraq with your loving and healing touch. We pray that Iraqi children may have the chance to dream of the future and experience security and peace. We pray that they may have an opportunity to enjoy the same rights as other children - the right to be a child. When they are scared and tremble in fear, O God, hold them tight in your embrace.

Song Kyrie eleison

God of wisdom, we pray that you may help government officials and country leaders understand that violence cannot and will not end violence. Help the leaders of nations make decisions which promote life and peace on earth; let them seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly before you.

Song Kyrie eleison

God of creation, we pray for the environment that will be destroyed and plundered during the war. We pray for the preservation and protection of the whole of creation.

Song Kyrie eleison

God of all nations, we pray for your presence among the Iraqi people and the people who live in the surrounding countries. Fill every heart with your love and mercy. Challenge our understanding of justice and peace and encourage us to act according to your Word. God, grant the whole world peace.

The Concluding Prayer (written by Christian, Jewish and Muslim clergy)

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 splendoured 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.


May God bless you with peace. May God uphold you with grace. May God send you into the world to overcome violence in all that you do.

Lighting of candles

During the singing of the following songs you are invited to light a candle and pray silently for peace at one of the stations.

Song Lumière de Dieu (Switzerland)
Thuma mina 150

Jyothi dho Prabhu - Give Us Light (India)

Kindle a flame to lighten the dark (Scotland)
Thuma mina 154

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