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,, for more on our organization.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Children in Exile

Tuesday, January 4, 2004
Day of Prayer and Fasting: Children in Exile

(Matthew 2:13-15a)
“After the wise men left, an angel of God appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.”

Jesus spent some of his most formative years living in exile. Mary and Joseph had to raise their child far from his native culture and people. How difficult was it for him to return home?

Today, young soldiers are sent both willingly and unwillingly into the exile of war. The stress of fear and combat, and the interior damage soldiers sustain when they become killers, last far beyond the time of deployment. How difficult is it for them to return home? How many, in their hearts, remain in exile?

More than 1,200 soldiers have died, more than 21,000 have been wounded, and more than 5,000 of the wounded have been too badly injured to return to duty. According to a study conducted last year by the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 16 percent of Marines and 17 percent of Army soldiers showed symptoms of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after returning from Iraq. Those figures are probably deceptively low, due to the shame connected with reporting a psychological illness. Other soldiers experience increased rates of marital discord, high-risk behavior and suicide attempts – all needing attention from a veterans' healthcare system that has received no new funding since the Iraq war began.

Many soldiers and families of soldiers are organizing to say “no” to the Iraq war and occupation, and are seeking alternative ways to respond to international conflict. Choose one or more of the following groups to research and support in whatever way you can.

Bring Them Home Now (
“Our troops are embroiled in a regional quagmire largely of our own government's making. These military actions are not perceived as liberations, but as occupations, and our troops are now subject to daily attacks. Without just cause for war, we say bring the troops home now!”

Iraq Veterans Against the War
“Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) is a group of veterans who have served since September 11th, 2001 including Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. We are committed to saving lives and ending the violence in Iraq by an immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces.”

Military Families Speak Out (
“MFSO is an organization of people who are opposed to war in Iraq and who have loved ones in the military. We were formed in November 2002 and have contacts with military families throughout the United States, and in other countries around the world.”

For the UK:
Military Families Against the War (
“MFAW is an organization of people directly affected by the war in Iraq. Our relatives and loved ones are members of the British Armed Services. We are opposed to the continuing involvement of UK soldiers in a war that is based on lies.”

For Canadians:
Conscience Canada (
“As conscientious objectors to military taxation (COMTs), we choose to follow the dictate of our conscience and refuse to pay for war. Our Peace Tax Trust Fund allows people to divert the military portion of their taxes, to be held in trust until there is a law respecting conscientious objection to military taxation.”

Contact any of the above organizations to offer a word of encouragement. Let them know that people from other countries appreciate their bold witness in very difficult circumstances.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every day we get the reports of troops killed, five-seven, whatever. Still it does not move our nation to rise up and say 'No' to occupation. My prayer is that these beloved parents will have the courage to speak truth about the insanity of war, and not think they have to buy into false patriotism; that their daughter or son died a hero to protect the security of this country. Our leaders have betrayed these brave troops.

January 8, 2005 at 7:02 PM  
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