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, 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.


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A King Is Not Saved By His Great Army


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."

Tuesday, February 1, 2005: A King is Not Saved by His Great Army

--Isaiah 31:1

"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who depend upon horses:
who put their trust in chariots because of their number,
and in horsemen because of their combined power,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel nor seek the LORD!"

Iraq has accumulated vast quantities of armaments. Under the previous regime, large stockpiles of conventional weapons were stored across the country. When the Coalition Forces began their attack in March 2003, they brought more weaponry. Some of this new ammunition was made of depleted uranium. The health risks of Depleted Uranium are unknown and the Coalition forces using it have remained wilfully ignorant. In the period immediately after the Coalition’s invasion, Christian Peacemaker Teams urged the Coalition to collect the unexploded ordnance remaining in the country to reduce the risk of civilian accidents, and restrict its further use. A United Nations report at the time said that Iraq might have more unexploded ordnance than any other country in the world. The Coalition was slow to respond. One soldier told CPT, “Things like that tend to go away after awhile.”

An increasingly well-armed Iraqi resistance movement has been attacking Coalition forces, Iraqi military and police, and civilians every day. Heavily armed Coalition forces respond with ferocious attacks on anyone suspected of armed resistance, including whole cities like Falluja. No side is able to claim victory. Iraq is slipping further and further back from the high standards of living it once enjoyed. Billions of dollars in reconstruction funds are increasingly diverted to “security,” but security in Iraq remains elusive. The only ones to profit from this war are the arms manufacturers.

ACTION STEP:
Write to arms manufacturers urging them to convert their enterprises from death-dealing to life-affirming ones. The major suppliers of ammunition to the war in Iraq are:

SNC TEC, c/o SNC-Lavalin Inc., CEO Jacques Lamarre, 455 René-Lévesque Blvd. West, Montreal, QC, Canada H2Z 1Z3, Email: info@snclavalin.com, Web: www.snctec.com

ATK, Alliant Technologies, CEO: Daniel J. Murphy, Jr, Corporate HQ, 5050 Lincoln Dr., Edina, MN, USA 55436, Email: alliant.corporate@atk.com,Web: www.atk.com