Our faith and humanity requires renewal given the divisiveness of our culture, boosted by the anonymity of online social networks. Powerful inspiration for reminding us of our spiritual mission towards our fellow human beings, and our inner strength to commit to that mission, come from our religious leaders and traditions.
“As we welcome a New Year many people follow the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Others ponder what they would like to see happen to make the world a better place. In the movie ‘Miss Congeniality’ each contestant in the beauty pageant (or scholarship program) when asked what they want, all answer ‘World Peace’. I would agree with them, but how to go about it?
All major religions have the injunction, expressed in one way or another, to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This sentiment can be agreed upon by all people of goodwill. I pray that as more people take seriously in their daily lives this simple injunction, we will begin to experience a more peaceful and sane world.”
~ Monsignor Al Humbrecht, Knoxville TN Catholic Diocese, Soddy Daisy Holy Spirit Catholic Church
There are prayers and words of wisdom in every faith tradition that support and encourage us in the pursuit of peace and justice. Harvard Divinity School shared these prayers for peace offered on the Day of Prayer for World Peace during the U.N. International Year of Peace, 1986. They are as timely this year as they were decades ago and in their centuries old traditions.
A Baha’i Prayer for Peace
Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgment and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart, and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
A Buddhist Prayer for Peace
May all beings everywhere plagued with sufferings of body and mind quickly be freed from their illnesses. May those frightened cease to be afraid, and may those bound be free. May the powerless find power and may people think of befriending one another. May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wildernesses—the children, the aged, the unprotected—be guarded by beneficent celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
A Christian Prayer for Peace
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.”
“But I say to you that hear, love your enemies; do good to those who hate you; bless those who curse you; pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you, and of those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.”
A Hindu Prayer for Peace
Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real. Oh God, lead us from darkness to light. Oh God, lead us from death to immortality. Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all. Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. May the Vedic Law propagate peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to us. And may thy peace itself bestow peace on all and may that peace come to me also.
An Islamic Prayer for Peace
In the Name of Allah, the beneficent, the merciful: Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations that we may know each other, not that we may despise each other. If the enemy incline towards peace, do thou also incline towards peace, and trust in God, for the Lord is one that hears and knows all things. And the servants of God Most Gracious are those who walk on the Earth in humility, and when we address them, we say, “Peace.”
A Jain Prayer for Peace
Peace and Universal Love is the essence of the Gospel preached by all the Enlightened Ones. The Lord has preached that equanimity is the Dharma. I forgive all creatures, and may all creatures forgive me. Unto all have I amity, and unto none, enmity. Know that violence is the root cause of all miseries in the world. Violence in fact is the knot of bondage. “Do not injure any living being.” This is the eternal, perennial, and unalterable way of spiritual life. A weapon, however powerful it may be, can always be superseded by a superior one; but no weapon can be superior to nonviolence and love.
A Jewish Prayer for Peace
Come, let us go to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into plough shares and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation; neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
A Native American Prayer for Peace
O Great Spirit of our Ancestors, we raise the pipe to you, to your messengers the four winds, and to Mother Earth who provides for your children. Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let us learn to share all the good things that you provide for us on this Earth.
A Sikh Prayer for Peace
God judges us according to our deeds, not the coat that we wear. Truth is above everything, but higher still is truthful living. Know that we attain God when we love, and only that victory endures in consequence of which no one is defeated.