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.

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 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.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This morning in Portland, Oregon, 11 members of Pax Christi Portland gathered in prayer in a downtown City square in solidarity with the CPT Iraq. We were joined by 3 passers-by as we stood in a circle in silent prayer for half hour amidst the morning bustle of commuters, buses, and leaf blowers.

Pax Christi Portland, a chapter of the International Catholic Peace Movement, has accepted the invitation of CPT in Iraq to join them in prayer and action every Tuesday until Easter.

We are committing to public witness of our solidarity with the Christian Peacemaker teams. We will gather in silent prayer every Tuesday morning of Lent from 7:30 am to 8:00 am in Downtown Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square (February 8 - March 22).

We are also making the personal commitment to pray and fast on Tuesdays as a witness of our desire that the violence and terrorism on all sides will come to an end. During the upcoming Lenten season in particular, we encourage Portland parishes, organizations and individuals to join us in our prayer and fasting as a Lenten practice.

Blessings of Peace,
Portland Pax Christi

February 8, 2005 at 8:30 AM  
Anonymous Peace and Justice Work Area said...

The newly formed Peace and Justice Work Area in our United Methodist Church in North Andover, MA decided as a part of Lent to send the Prayer and Action information to our congregation each week by email, and to have a hard copy available each Sunday for those in the congregation who don't use email.

The group also decided to send the link to CPT's "Prayer and Action for Iraq" website to all of the churches and other religious organizations in the greater Lawrence area for their information, and to encourage them to publicize the Prayer and Action Lenten discipline with members of their congregation.

February 15, 2005 at 7:10 AM  
Blogger Frederick said...

I fast every Tuesday in solidarity with the peacemaking work of CPT in Iraq and elsewhere around the world. In addition to fasting, I also chant a couple of hours each day.


Praise the LORD! How good it is to sing praises to our God;for he is gracious, and a song of praise is fitting. (Psalm 147:1)

The purpose of Christian chant is to attain a communal sense of inner peace as we praise God, celebrate our life together in Christ and invite the Holy Spirit to remove from us all feelings of isolation and discontent. While chanting, we focus on our own breathing and become aware of the community of voices contributing to our inner peace as we open our hearts, empty our minds and repeat spiritual phrases.

The repetition of short phrases in chant provides an opportunity for a different kind of musical and spiritual experience than singing hymns. Instead of having to focus our eyes on a page of music to sing words, chant allows us to focus on the internal affect of the music and the warmth of being surrounded by hearts and voices knit together in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Even if the words of the chant leave our mind for a moment, we can connect our heart to the community as we hum along with the tune.

Chant is like meditation in that a primary purpose is to rid our mind of daily concerns and focus entirely on being “in the moment.” The simplicity and repetition of chant gives us an opportunity to empty ourselves of expectation (there are no other words to learn and nowhere else to go), and come to a place of rest, at least for the moment, because we know everything we need to know and we are in peace and harmony with our neighbor.

Chant is praying twice. We speak words of praise, intercession and supplication to God. We also lift our voices to God in music. The words are spoken in our native tongue. The music is a universal language understood throughout the world. Our prayerful posture and attitude while chanting, perhaps closing our eyes or swaying to the rhythm of the music, can lead us into a deeper experience of unity with God as our words speak from our mind, and our music speaks from our soul.


Is such the fast that I choose, a day to humble oneself? Is it to bow down the head like a bulrush, and to lie in sackcloth and ashes? Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?

Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke? (Isaiah 58.5-6)

The practice of fasting to cleanse the body and soul and to serve as an act of individual and communal repentance is found throughout the Bible. For instance, look at these passages:

Leviticus 16.29, Leviticus 16.31, Leviticus 23.27, Leviticus 23.32, Numbers 29.7, 2 Samuel 12.23, 1 Kings 21.9, 1 Kings 21.12, 2 Chronicles 20.3, Ezra 8.21, Esther 4.16, Isaiah 58.3, Isaiah 58.4, Jeremiah 14.12, Jeremiah 36.6, Jeremiah 36.9, Joel 1.14, Joel 2.15, Jonah 3.5, Zechariah 8.19, Esther (Gk) 4.16, Matthew 6.16, Matthew 6.17, Matthew 9.14-15, Mark 2.18-20, Luke 5.33-35, Luke 18.12, Acts 27.9

But the admonition that God spoke to the prophet Isaiah in chapter 58 as quoted above speaks directly to the purpose of our chanting and fasting for peace and justice to end world hunger.

As we fast today, we should focus neither on the spiritual benefit of our own repentance, nor on the spiritual growth that comes with self-denial. Instead, as we fast together let us hold in our heart the people who suffer from the global economic injustice that feeds abundance to the wealthy few while the huddled masses in the inner cities of America, and starving children throughout India, Africa, the Near East, Far East, and Latin America experience every moment of every day the pang of hunger that barely twists our stomach by comparison as we fast for this one meal.

May our hunger and our gifts serve God’s call to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke.

March 15, 2005 at 7:58 AM  
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