IRAQ INVITATION TO PRAY AND FAST: 8 February 2005 "Prayer is peacemaking"
3 February 2005
IRAQ INVITATION TO PRAY AND FAST: 8 February 2005, "Prayer is peacemaking"
An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team (CPT) in Baghdad, Iraq
invites you to join with us every Tuesday for a day of prayer, fasting and
action that will continue until Easter week. Participate as you are led
either by fasting (the team will do a bread and water fast) and/or
participating with us in a time of joint prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard
Time (1400GMT) the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are
invited to join for the entire hour or for as much time as you can. Please
also note the Action Steps connected with each week's sacred passage. If you
are so led, the CPT Iraq team asks that you take the suggested action
between Tuesday and Thursday so that we can be working together.
We also created a web page where people can post reflections that occur
during their time of prayer. You will find a link to the website at the end
of the release.
Tuesday, 8 February 2005 "Prayer is peacemaking"
Matthew 5:1-11 (Worldwide English version)
"When Jesus saw the many people, he went up on a hill. He sat down and his
disciples came to him. He began to teach the people. He said, 'God makes
happy those who know that they need him. The kingdom of heaven is for them.
'God makes happy those who are sad. They will have comfort.
'God makes happy those who quietly trust him and do not try to get their own
way. The world will belong to them.
'God makes happy those who are hungry and thirsty for what is right and
good. They will be filled.
'God makes happy those who are kind. He will be kind to them.
'God makes happy those who have clean hearts. They will see God.
'God makes happy those who make peace between people. They will be called
'God makes happy those who have trouble for doing what is right. The kingdom
of heaven is for them.
'God makes you happy when people say wrong things about you, when they
trouble you, and when they say all kinds of lies about you. God makes you
happy when it is for my sake.'"
"Praying at all times, is the first aspect of peacemaking. What does this
mean concretely for those of us who have barely enough time to not be
overwhelmed by the cares of life? In order to answer this question we must
be willing to explore critically the ways in which the cares of life
strangle us. Only then can we see the converting power of prayer and its
pervasive role in peacemaking. The invitation to a life of prayer is the
invitation to live in the midst of this world without being caught up in its
net. The word "prayer" stands for a radical interruption of the chain of
interlocking dependencies that lead to violence and war. It points to a new
way of speaking, of breathing, of being together, of knowing; truly to a
whole new way of living. Most people think of prayer in contrast to action.
But if we are willing to see prayer as the essence of peacemaking and to
consider the possibility that prayer itself IS peacemaking, we won't have to
struggle against the dogma, of pragmatism. To the degree that we are not of
the world, we can live creatively in it. To the degree that we have divested
ourselves of false belongings, we can live in the midst of turmoil and
chaos. And to the degree that we are free from fear, we can move into the
heart of danger. Thus the act of prayer is the basis and source of all
actions. When our actions are not based in prayer, they can easily become
fearful, fanatical, bitter and more an expression of survival instincts than
of our faith in God." ---Condensed from chapter one of _The Road to Peace_
by Henri Nouwen, edited by John Dear.
ACTION: The Beatitudes are composed of nine couplets. Each day for one week,
choose a couplet or couplets and pray on that passage for ten minutes.
Repeat as a mantra, read and re-read until a word or phrase leaps into your
heart, memorize it- whatever form of prayer speaks to you. Try to use the
prayer throughout the day, especially before, during, or after situations of
stress or conflict.
Website for posting now available: CPT in Iraq has begun a web log found at
http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com. To post a comment on our web
log, follow these steps: 1) Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you
wish to comment on. 2) Click on the place that shows the number of comments
made on the posting. 3) Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is
says, "Post a comment."