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A Day of Prayer in Time of Crisis & War

 

By the Rev. Thomas L. Weitzel

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

 

 

P = Presiding Minister    A = Assisting Minister     C = Congregation

 

 

A Day of Prayer in Time of Crisis & War was originally written for use on the first Sunday following the formal breakout of armed conflict.  However the worship format below may be used at any time during war.  For a full service of peace that may be used in churches or community/interfaith settings, see A Service of Peace in Time of War.

 

Use your customary liturgy for the day along with its lessons, but with consider the following suggestions:

 

1.       Place a seven-day candle on the altar/communion table and designate it the “Peace Candle” to remain lighted for the duration of the war as a focus for prayers.

 

2.       If you have a letter from your bishop or judicatory head, read it at the opening of the service (before the liturgy of confession).  The letter from ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson is at:  http://www.elca.org/bishop/iraq_031903.html

 

3.       Add the following as a second Prayer of the Day and invite all the people to pray it together::

Lord God, the storms of war gather around us and make us afraid.  Strengthen our faith and help us to put our trust in you, the God of all nations, to bring peace to our world and to our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

 

4.       Suggested Hymn of the Day:  LBW #320 “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”

 

5.       Replace the Prayer of the Church with the “Litany in a Time of Crisis & War” below.

 

6.       Replace the Benediction with the “Blessing in Time of Crisis & War” below.

 

 

Litany in a Time of Crisis & War

 

P    In this time of crisis and war, let us commit ourselves to prayer and pray to the God of all creation to bring peace to our world, peace to our nation, and peace to our hearts.

 

A   Lord of the nations, the horrors of war stand before us in graphic ways that disturb our daily lives.  Fear grips us for our personal safety and the safety of those in harm’s way.  Sorrow washes over us for the seeming necessity of war and the losses that come with it.  Opinions divide us and leave us confused in the face of an uncertain future.  You alone, O God of Creation, who in the beginning brought order into chaos, light into darkness – you alone can help us in these days of crisis and war. 

C    We, your people, cry to you, O Lord!

 

A   Come to the aid of nations and leaders who need your guidance.  Come to the aid of those standing in harm’s way.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

A   Come to the aid of our military and their families. Come to the aid of all who need your assuring and loving presence.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

A   Strengthen us in faith and calm the fears within us that are many.  Help us to trust in you for our lives and our future.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

A   Forgive us for our sins, both corporate and individual, especially for our failings as peacemakers.  Forgive us for the divisions among us.  Renew our spirits and increase our resolve to pray fervently for peace.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

A   Protect us from any evil that surrounds us.  Lift the hearts of the sorrowful.  Bring healing to the sick and the wounded.  Comfort the dying and the bereaved with your love.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

A   Above all, give us assurance that as Lord of all, you are in control.  Give us hope and give us peace on earth, lasting peace.

C    O Lord, hear our prayer.

 

P    God of peace, God of love, fill our hearts and our minds with the peace and love that only you can give.  We, your people, ardently cry to you, O Lord.  You are our answer.  You are our hope.  Come to our aid.  In Jesus’ name.

C    Amen

 

 

Blessing in Time of Crisis & War

 

P    May the God of Peace protect and guide you in these days of crisis and war.

C    Amen

 

P    May the Prince of Peace bring comfort to your hearts and lift you in any suffering.

C    Amen

 

P    May the Spirit of Peace descend upon you and upon our world until all conflicts cease and peace reigns on earth.

C    Amen

 

P    And may Almighty God, Father, + Son, and Holy Spirit bless you now and forever.

C    Amen