Prayer and Action for Iraq

Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq invites you to join us in a day of prayer and action. Every Tuesday until Easter we will have a focused day of prayer and a subsequent action. Our time of prayer will be at 1400GMT and the action taking place between Tuesday and Thursday. Please consider posting any messages related to these prayers and actions on this site so that we may all encourage each other’s spiritual growth. Please refer to the main website, cpt.org, for more on our organization.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Litany of Confession and Repentance

NOTE: This is the final Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Action for Iraq. We invite you to post a note about what the past several weeks have meant for you. Thank you for your commitment, both now and in the future. While our formal time of gathering is ended, our prayers and actions will surely continue.

To Post a Comment:
1) Goto http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com/
2) Scroll down to the bottom of the posting you wish to comment on.
3) Click on the place that shows the number of comments made on the posting.
4) Scroll to the bottom of that page and click where is says, “Post a comment.”


Tuesday, March 22, 2005
A Litany of Confession and Repentance
(based on Palm Sunday reading of Matt 21:1-11)

We sing Hosanna,
and shout “Crucify!”

We proclaim peace,
and pay for war.

We preach liberation,
and practice occupation.

We glorify freedom,
and imprison without trial.

We want to be disciples,
but weaken like Peter.

Jesus of Nazareth, humble king,
a donkey your throne,
palms and thorns your crown.

Your eyes see the people on the outskirts of the crowd:

Iraqi widows draped in black
Young men detained at Abu Ghraib
Fallujan refugees homeless now
children without parents
fathers without jobs
women searching for justice
And families whose soldiers
will never return.

May Your eyes be ours, our voices Your’s,
and our Hosannas work for justice
’til the end of our days.

___________________________________________________

It is Holy Week. We are about to recall in a special way the suffering and death of Jesus, who nonviolently gave his life for the healing of all. Jesus, our Teacher, was put to death because his words and actions challenged the powers of the day. The leaders decided it was “better for one man to die” than for the Roman occupiers to feel too threatened. (John 11:48-50).

For the past four months, we have been gathering together weekly to pray, fast, and take action on behalf of the people of Iraq. We have committed ourselves to challenging the powers of the day: the powers of greed, fear, and materialism that foster the wars and occupations of our time. Although this commitment might lead us into times of darkness, death, or seeming defeat, we know from Jesus’ Resurrection that life can spring from death. The truth will always rise again.


ACTION STEPS:

1. Review the last several Day of Prayer actions. Choose one that particularly spoke to you, and continue to build on it. Share your commitment with others, for support and encouragement.

2. Consider writing a letter for the Adopt-a-Detainee Campaign. A new profile about three Iraqi brothers who were detained on Dec 31, 2004 has been added (www.cpt.org/campaigns/adopt/adopt_a_detainee.php then follow links to “CPT in Iraq”).

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Burden of Debt


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 either by fasting (the team will do a bread and water fast) and/or joining us for a time of prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) the team will gather for an hour of prayer. You are invited to join for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with each week’s sacred passage. The CPT Iraq team asks that you take the suggested action between Tuesday and Thursday so that we can be working together.

Website for posting now available: 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.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 Day of Prayer, Fasting and Action: Burden of Debt

Leviticus 25:10

“This year of jubilee you shall make sacred by proclaiming liberty in the land for all its inhabitants.”

Jubilee years, which the ancient Israelites proclaimed as part of God’s law, granted freedom to slaves, forgiveness of debts, and return of land to its original owners. This practice helped to preserve the society’s social and economic equilibrium by preventing the extremes of wealth and poverty from polarizing the community.

Today, Iraq is one of many nations groaning beneath the burden of impossible debts. During the 1980’s, many Western nations including the U.S. and Great Britain made loans to support Saddam Hussein’s military spending in the war against Iran. In legal terms, such debts can be written off as “odious debts,” because 1) they were the personal debts of a particular regime, 2) they were contracted without the consent of the people and were not spent in the people’s interests (i.e. most of Saddam’s loans were spent on state and military oppression), and 3) the creditors were aware of what was happening with loans they provided.

Iraq’s total debt is within the range $95-153bn. In addition, Iraq has been paying and must still pay reparation claims from the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. A UN Compensation Commission has awarded almost $50bn to corporations, governments, and individuals. Iraq has paid almost $19bn of this, at a time when the country is desperately in need of funds for its own reconstruction. (The most recent payment was on January 13, 2005, and recipients included companies from America, Britain, France and Germany).

Even the Paris Club deal in Fall 2004, which promised up to 80% debt forgiveness for Iraq, comes with mandatory IMF conditions -- such as privatization, ending food rations & fuel subsidies and restricting salaries & pensions – which could further exacerbate the poverty and instability in Iraq. Plus, Iraq would still be burdened with $25bn in debt.
Since these debts were “odious debts” to begin with, the people of Iraq should not have to pay. Iraq’s debt should be written off completely, in the spirit of Jubilee that we find in the Mosaic Law.*

ACTION STEPS:
1. Budget one hour this week to visit the website of Jubilee Iraq, a nonprofit organization advocating debt forgiveness for Iraq. (http://www.jubileeiraq.org/)
2. Choose and follow one of their suggested action steps to respond to Iraq’s debt crisis.

*All statistical information from this post was taken from Jubilee Iraq at www.jubileeiraq.org.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Miseries of the Besieged City


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 joining us for a time of prayer. At 9AM Eastern Standard Time (1400GMT) the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with each week’s sacred passage. The CPT Iraq team asks that you take the suggested action between Tuesday and Thursday so that we can be working together.

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.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Day of Prayer, Fasting and Action: Miseries of the Besieged City


(Lamentations 4:8,17-18)

“Now their appearance is blacker than soot,
they are unrecognized on the street;
their skin shrinks on their bones, as dry as wood.”

“Our eyes ever wasted away,
looking in vain for aid;
from our watchtower we watched
for a nation that could not save us.”

“Men dogged our steps
so that we could not walk in our streets;
our end drew near, and came;
our time had expired.”


“Yes, I saw women and children dead in the streets of Fallujah. Some were shot, and some had been killed by bombs,” a young resident of Fallujah told members of CPT. He himself had been beaten, interrogated, and detained for 35 days.

These horrors took place just a few months ago, as the U.S. army assaulted the Iraqi city with overwhelming force meant to quell the resistance.

“Please, tell U.S. military families what their children are being ordered to do,” the soft-spoken young Iraqi said.

CPTers in Iraq now hear from Iraqis, read in isolated news reports, and learn from their own travel experience that the U.S. military has launched a new wave of assaults west of Fallujah. The raids are part of a maneuver called “Operation Euphrates.” As of this March 1, 2005 writing, reports indicate that soldiers have surrounded and entered multiple villages and that the city of Ramadi is currently under siege. More than one million civilians, including women and children, are at risk.

However, we are experiencing a near total media blackout of these events.

ACTION STEPS:

1) Please call your local newspaper, radio station and television station to request information about these events.

2) Contact your elected officials and express your concern that the horrors of Fallujah are being repeated.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Casting Out Fear

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.

Website for posting now available: 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."

Tuesday, March 1, 2005: Casting Out Fear

1 John 4:18
“There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.”

Micah 4: 2-5
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that God may teach us God’s ways, and that we may walk in God’s paths”… God shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more; but they shall all sit under their own vines and under their own fig trees, and no one shall make them afraid.”

According to John, fear is the opposite of love. It is fear that isolates us, searches for enemies, and then demonizes and hates them. Micah calls us to a mountaintop where we can see the many peoples of the world through the eyes of God who heals disputes and enmities rather than exploiting them. So we learn the nonviolent message of Jesus: to reject not only war but also any preparation for it, finding our security in the power of love and compassion. In this vision the fruits of the earth will be shared by all; refugees will find a home, “and no one will make them afraid.” The challenge is to reject idolatry: the worship and obedience demanded by the national security state, and to walk in reverence in the presence of all creation: a creation that reflects and names the God of justice and mercy.

ACTION STEPS

1. Organize with parents and others to remove ROTC from U.S. schools.

2. Risk offering a kind word or action to someone who seems insecure and antagonistic.

3. Challenge a church leader to speak out against war & occupation as a means to “security”.

4. Risk “crossing the line” with others in an act of civil resistance to your government’s policy in Iraq.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Using the Whole Armor of God

IF YOU ARE SO LED PLEASE SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FAITH COMMUNITIES AND YOUR EMAIL LISTS

An Invitation to Prayer
The Christian Peacemaker Team 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) on Tuesdays the team will gather for an hour of focused prayer. You are invited to join with us for the entire hour or for as much time as you can. Please also note the Action Steps connected with the week’s sacred passage that is the focus for the prayer time. 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.

Website for posting now available: CPT in Iraq has begun a web log found at http://prayerandactionforiraq.blogspot.com. We encourage you to post any insights that may have come to your during your times of prayer and action, so that we may encourage each other’s spiritual growth.

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.”

February 22, 2005, Day of Prayer and Fasting: Using the Whole Armor of God

Ephesians 6: 10-18a: Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. NRSV

In the War on Terror, our world governments claim that they can root out evil with overpowering force. Even though this had been the way people and nations have attempted to deal with their enemy throughout history, it has never brought true peace. Violence has only continued the cycle of violence and desire for revenge, and caused great suffering in the world.

Inherent in the description of the armor of God is the understanding that the struggle against evil is not against flesh and blood (particular persons or regimes), but against whole systems of domination and against evil cosmic forces. If this is true, using the same weapons as these forces puts us in the same camp as them and only strengthens and spreads these systems. The only way of breaking the cycles of violence is by using spiritual weapons, such as the power of the truth, righteousness, faith, salvation, steadfastness, prayer, and proclaiming the gospel of peace.

This armor of God has never been more relevant and needed than in today’s struggles against evil. Followers of Jesus must not shrink back from proclaiming the way of Jesus boldly in our words and in our actions, and unleash the power of God.

Action Suggestions:

In prayer, seek these spiritual weapons for your work for justice and peace. Make them a part of your way of dealing with conflicts on all levels, and experience their power.
Start with other followers of Jesus, your family and friends, your home fellowship to study and affirm Jesus’ way, clarifying that this way does not rely on the weapons of violence, as some popular preaches suggest.
Visit other congregations and dialogue with leaders and members about the way of nonviolent suffering love.
Invite your congregation to join “Every Church a Peace Church.” Contact John Stoner at jstoner@ecapc
Proclaim this powerful way in public witness actions calling for different ways to deal with terrorism or world conflict. Find ways of using the weapons of the Spirit to confront the systems of domination.
Examples: a. Street dramatizations of the truth about a devastated
Fallujah.
b. Pray-ins inside or outside offices where decisions about
spending money for war are made or carried out,
weapons facilities.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Force More Powerful

Tuesday, Feb 15, 2005 Day of Prayer, Fasting, and Action for Iraq

A Force More Powerful

"Requite evil with good, and he who is your enemy will become your dearest friend. But none will attain this attribute except those who patiently endure." (Qur'an41:34)

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)_______________________________________________________________________In In his State of the Union speech on February 2, 2005, George Bush said that "the only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom." And, according to his ideology and actions, it is acceptable to use violent force, even war, in order to promote this human freedom.

But what about Christianity's message? The president's own Christian faith, (as well as countless other faiths), contradicts his statement.

According to Jesus of Nazareth, the only force able to end tyranny and terror and replace hatred with hope is the force of agape, or self-sacrificing love. "Love your enemy, do good to those who hate you. Pray for those who persecute you."

How could a stance of radical nonviolent love form concrete international policies? How could it respond to both external and internal sources of tyranny and terror?_______________________________________________________________________ACTION:1) ACTION

1) Check out the book "A Force More Powerful," by Peter Ackerman and Jack Duvall, for a good history of successful 20th-century nonviolent movements.

2) Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, describing your thoughts and feelings about the U.S. administration's (or your government's participation in the U.S. administration's) approach to foreign policy. Suggest alternatives.

Tuesday, February 08, 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.

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."

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's children.
`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.