Prayers and Readings
From Many Traditions
May be read as representatives of different faiths
light a candle or pour water into a common bowl.
UN General Assembly Resolution
establishing World Interfaith Harmony Week
The General Assembly,
Recognizing the imperative need for dialogue among different faiths and
religions in enhancing mutual understanding, harmony and cooperation
among all people,
Recognizing that the moral imperatives of all religions, convictions and
beliefs call for peace, tolerance and mutual understanding,
1. Reaffirms that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue
constitute important dimensions of a culture of peace;
2. Proclaims the first week of February of every year the World Interfaith
Harmony Week between all religions, faiths and beliefs;
3. Encourages all states to support, on a voluntary basis, the spread of
the message of interfaith harmony and goodwill in the world’s
churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship
during that week, based on love of God and love of one’s neighbour or
on love of the good and love of one’s neighbour, each according to their
own religious traditions or convictions.
- adopted 15 October 2010
Let these waters wash away
the ancient grudges,
the bitter hatreds
nurtured over generations.
May they melt the memory
of our own pain.
Let our hearts,
nourished by the water of life,
blossom in beauty.
Our world awaits the water
that each of us can bring.
Let light fill the sky.
Let its warmth heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog
so that we can see each other clearly.
Let our selfishness vanish so we can see
all people as our neighbors,
as part of our family.
Let the flames teach our hearts
to reach always upward
Our world awaits the light
that each of us can bring.
Traditional African Religion
Almighty God, the Great Thumb,
we cannot evade to tie any knot;
the Roaring Thunder that splits mighty trees:
the all-seeing Lord up on high who sees
even the footprints of an antelope
on a rock mass here on Earth.
You are the one who does not hesitate
to respond to our call.
You are the cornerstone of peace.
O Great Spirit of our Ancestors,
I raise my pipe to you.
To your messengers the four winds,
and to Mother Earth,
who provides for your children.
Give us the wisdom to teach our children
to love, to respect, and to be kind to each
other so that they may grow
with peace in mind.
Let us learn to share all good things that
you provide for us on this Earth.
Be generous in prosperity
and thankful in adversity.
Be fair in thy judgment,
and guarded in thy speech.
Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness,
and a home to the stranger.
Be eyes to the blind,
and a guiding light unto the feet of the erring.
Be a breath of life to the body of humankind,
a dew upon the soil of the human heart,
and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
May all beings everywhere plagued
with sufferings of body and mind
quickly be freed from their illnesses.
May those frightened cease to be afraid,
and may those bound be free.
May the powerless find power,
and may people think of befriending one another.
May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness—
the children, the aged, the unprotected—
be guarded by beneficent celestials,
and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be known as the Children of God.
But I say to you that hear, love your enemies,
do good to those who hate you,
bless those who curse you,
pray for those who abuse you.
To those who strike you on the cheek,
offer the other also,
and from those who take away your cloak,
do not withhold your coat as well.
Give to everyone who begs from you,
and of those who take away your goods,
do not ask them again.
And as you wish that others would do to you,
so do to them.
When things are investigated,
then true knowledge is achieved.
When true knowledge is achieved,
then the will becomes sincere.
When the will is sincere,
then the heart is set right.
When the heart is set right,
then the personal life is cultivated.
When the personal life is cultivated,
then the family life is regulated.
When the family life is regulated,
then the national life is orderly.
And when the national life is orderly,
then there is peace in the world.
Oh God, lead us from the unreal to the Real.
Oh God, lead us from darkness to light.
Oh God, lead us from death to immortality.
Shanti, Shanti, Shanti unto all.
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace
In celestial regions.
May there be peace on earth.
May the waters be appeasing.
May herbs be wholesome, and may trees and plants
bring peace to all.
May all beneficent beings bring peace to us.
May thy Vedic Law propagate peace
All through the world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may thy peace itself, bestow peace on all,
and may that peace come to me also.
Peace and Universal Love is the essence of the Gospel
preached by all the Enlightened Ones.
The Lord has preached that equanimity is the Dharma.
Forgive do I creatures all, and let all creatures forgive me.
Unto all have I amity, and unto none enmity.
Know that violence is the root cause of all miseries in the world.
Violence, in fact, is the knot of bondage.
"Do not injure any living being."
This is the eternal, perennial, and unalterable way of spiritual life.
A weapon howsoever powerful it may be,
can always be superseded by a superior one;
but no weapon can, however, be superior
to nonviolence and love.
Come let us go up the mountain of the Lord,
that we may walk the paths of the Most High.
And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares,
and our spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation—
neither shall they learn war any more.
And none shall be afraid,
for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.
In the name of Allah,
the beneficent, the merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the
Universe who has created us and
made us into tribes and nations,
that we may know each other,
not that we may despise each other.
If the enemy incline towards peace,
do thou also incline towards peace,
and trust God, for the Lord is the one
that heareth and knoweth all things.
And the servants of God,
Most Gracious are those who walk
on the Earth in humility,
and when we address them,
we say "PEACE.”
Although the people living across the ocean
surrounding us, I believe,
are all our brothers and sisters,
why are there constant troubles in this world?
Why do winds and waves rise in the
ocean surrounding us?
I only earnestly wish that the wind will
soon puff away all the clouds
which are hanging over the tops of the mountains.
God adjudges us according to our deeds,
not the coat that we wear:
that truth is above everything,
but higher still is truthful living.
Know that we attaineth God when we loveth,
and only that victory endures in consequences of which
no one is defeated.
Send Thy peace O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace.
Send Thy peace O Lord,
that we may think, act and speak harmoniously.
Send Thy peace O Lord,
that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful gifts.
Send Thy peace O Lord,
that amidst our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss.
Send Thy peace O Lord,
that we may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of Thy grace and mercy.
Send Thy peace O Lord,
that our lives may become a Divine vision
and in Thy light, all darkness may vanish.
Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother,
that we Thy children on Earth may all unite in one family.
- Inayat Khan, founder of the Sufi Order in the West
We pray to God to eradicate
all the misery in the world:
that understanding triumph over ignorance,
that generosity triumph over indifference,
that trust triumph over contempt,
and that truth triumph over falsehood.
Lord, make us instruments of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let us sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is discord, union;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy.
Grant that we may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
- attributed to St. Francis
God, you are the source of life and peace. Praised be your name forever.
We know it is you who turn our minds to thoughts of peace.
Hear our prayer in this time of crisis. Your power changes hearts.
Muslims, Christians and Jews remember and profoundly affirm
that they are followers of the one God,
Children of Abraham, brothers and sisters;
enemies begin to speak to one another.
those who were estranged join hands in friendship;
nations seek the way of peace together.
Strengthen our resolve to give witness to these truths by the way we live.
Give to us understanding that puts an end to strife,
Mercy that quenches hatred, and forgiveness that overcomes vengeance.
Empower all people to live in your law of love. Amen.
- Pax Christi USA
Lead us from death to life, from falsehood to truth, from despair to hope,
from fear to trust. Lead us from hate to love, from war to peace,
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe. Eternal God, Creator of the
universe, there is no God but You. Great and wonderful are Your
works, wondrous are Your ways. Thank You for the many-splendored variety
of Your creation. Thank You for the many ways we affirm Your presence and
purpose, and the freedom to do so.
Forgive our violation of Your creation. Forgive our violence toward each
other. We stand in awe and gratitude for Your persistent
love for each and all of Your children: Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Sikhs,
as well as those with other faiths.
Grant to all and our leaders attributes of the strong: mutual respect in words
and deed, restraint in the exercise of power, and the will for peace with
justice, for all.
Eternal God, Creator of the universe, there is no God but You. Amen.
- Lou Sanders
Dear God, use us to create a new world on earth, one that reflects Your will,
Your vision, Your peace. In this moment, we recognize the power You have
given us to create anew the world we want.
Today's world, dear Lord, but reflects our past confusion. Now, in this
moment, we ask for new light. Illumine our minds. Use us dear Lord, as never
before as part of a great and mighty plan for the healing of this world. May
we no longer be at war with each other. May we no longer be at war with
ourselves. Let us forgive this century and every other, the evils of history, the
pain of our common fears. Remove from our hearts the illusion that we are
separate. May every nation and every people and every color and every
religion find at last the one heartbeat we share. Through You, our common
Father/Mother and the redeemer of our broken dreams. May we not hold
onto yesterday. May we not obscure Your vision of tomorrow but rather may
You flood our hearts. Flow through us, work through us, that in our lives we
might see the illumined world. Create, sustain that world on earth, dear God,
for us and for our children.
- Marianne Williamson
Peace starts within each one of us.
When we have inner peace,
we can be at peace with those around us.
When our community is in a state of peace,
it can share peace with neighboring communities, and so on.
When we feel love and kindness towards others,
it not only makes others feel loved and cared for,
but it helps us also to develop inner happiness and peace.
The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of
nature, poverty, hunger and so on, are human-created problems which can
be resolved through human effort, understanding and the development of a
sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal
responsibility for one another and the planet we share.
We have a responsibility to look after our planet. It is our only home.
A human being is a part of the whole,
called by us "Universe," a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings
as something separated from the rest
— a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires and to affection
for a few persons nearest to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.
Nobody is able to achieve this completely,
but the striving for such achievement is in itself
a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.
Power is of two kinds.
One is obtained by the fear of punishment
and the other by acts of love.
Power based on love is a thousand times more effective
and permanent than the one derived from fear of punishment.
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless,
whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism
or the holy name of liberty and democracy?
There are many causes that I am prepared to die for
but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.
An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.
We must become the change we want to see in the world.
I have come into this world to experience this:
men so true to love
they would rather die before speaking
men so true their lives are His covenant the promise of
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands
even at the height of
their arc of
because we have finally realized
there is just one flesh
we can wound.
King Hussein of Jordan
We believe that peace is not just signed papers,
but rather a contract between generations
for the building of a more promising
and less threatening future.
and without the overwhelming majority of people
that believe in peace defending it,
working for it,
believing in it,
security can never really be a reality.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most
bitter opponents and say: ”We shall match your capacity to
inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will
meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you
will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your
unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because non-cooperation with
evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, so throw us
in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our
children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded
perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and
drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat
us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the
country and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for
integration, but we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down
by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not
only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience
that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory.”
Humanity today possesses sufficient economic, cultural
and spiritual resources to introduce a better global order.
There will be no peace among the civilizations
without peace among the religions!
There will be no peace among the religions
without dialogue between the religions!
There will be no new world order without a world ethic,
a global ethic despite dogmatic differences.
A global ethic is a minimal basic consensus
relating to binding values,
and moral attitudes,
which can be affirmed by all religions.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi
Each man has in him the potential
to realize the truth
through his own will and endeavor
and to help others
to realize it.
Human life therefore is infinitely
Fondly do we hope — fervently do we pray — that this mighty
scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that
it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two
hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and
until every drop of blood drawn by the lash shall be paid by
another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still
it must be said, "The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as
God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to
bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the
battle, and for his widow, and his orphan —to do all which may achieve and
cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves, and with all nations.
Chief Oren Lyons
It seems to me that we are living in a time of prophecy,
a time of definitions and decisions.
We are the generation with the responsibilities
and the option
to choose the Path of Life for the future of our children,
or the life and path which defies the Laws of Regeneration.
We can still alter our course. It is not too late.
We still have options.
We need the courage to change our values
to the regeneration of our families,
the life that surrounds us.
Given this opportunity, we can raise ourselves.
We must join hands with the rest of Creation
and speak of Common Sense, Responsibility, Brotherhood, and Peace.
I had the most extraordinary experience of love of neighbor
with a Hindu family. A gentleman came to our house and
said: "Mother Teresa, there is a family who have not eaten
for so long. Do something.” So I took some rice and went
there immediately. And I saw the children — their eyes
shining with hunger. I don't know if you have ever seen
hunger. But I have seen it very often. And the mother of the family took the
rice I gave her and went out. When she came back, I asked her: "Where did
you go? What did you do?” And she gave me a very simple answer: "They
are hungry also.” What struck me was that she knew — and who are they?
A Muslim family — and she knew.
I didn't bring any more rice that evening because I wanted them, Hindus and
Muslims, to enjoy the joy of sharing. But there were those children, radiating
joy, sharing the joy and peace with their mother because she had the love to
give until it hurts. And you see this is where love begins — at home
in the family.
Pope John Paul II
Peace is not just the absence of war.
It involves mutual respect and confidence
between peoples and nations.
It involves collaboration and binding agreements.
Like a cathedral, peace must be constructed patiently
and with unshakable faith.
The Cathedral of Peace is built of many small stones.
Each person has to become a stone in that beautiful edifice.
All people must deliberately and resolutely commit themselves
to the pursuit of peace.
Speaking at the cathedral in Coventry, England,
a cathedral and city devastated by war and rebuilt in hope
If you want to make peace with your enemy,
you have to work with your enemy.
Then he becomes your partner.
No one is born hating another person
because of the color of his skin,
or his background,
or his religion.
People must learn to hate,
and if they can learn to hate,
they can be taught to love,
for love comes more naturally to the human heart
than its opposite.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum
To be a light to others
you will need a good dose of the spiritual life.
Because as my mother used to say,
if you are in a good place,
then you can help others.
But if you're not well,
then go look for somebody
who is in a good place
who can help you.
Establishing lasting peace
is the work of education;
all politics can do
is keep us out of war.
Sun Myung Moon
When I doubt people, I feel pain.
When I judge people, I cannot bear it.
When I hate people, I feel no value to my existence.
Yet if I believe, I am deceived.
Tonight, I am trembling with anguish and sorrow,
My head deeply buried in my hands.
Am I wrong? Yes, I am wrong. Even if I am deceived, I should believe.
Even if I am betrayed, I should still forgive.
Love unconditionally even those who hate you.
Wipe your tears away, and with a smile,
Receive those who know nothing but deceit,
And even those who betray without remorse.
Oh, Lord, what a pain it is to love!
Lay Your hands on my chest that is burning.
My heart is about to burst with agony.
Yet when I loved those who acted against me, I brought victory.
If you could only do the same, I would offer you a Crown of Glory.
The basis of world peace
is the teaching which runs through
almost all the great religions of the world:
"Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
some of the other great Jewish teachers,
all preached it.
Their followers forgot it.
Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
The improvement of life was only accomplished
to the extent to which it was based on
a change of consciousness,
that is, to the extent to which the law of violence
was replaced in men's consciousness
by the law of love.
Every great dream begins with a dreamer.
you have within you the strength,
and the passion
to reach for the stars
to change the world.
I freed a thousand slaves.
I could have freed a thousand more
if only they knew they were slaves.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Forgiveness is taking seriously the awfulness
of what has happened when you are treated unfairly.
Forgiveness is not pretending
that things are other than the way they are.
Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal,
spiritual, other-worldly activities.
They have to do with the real world.
They are realpolitik,
because in a very real sense,
without forgiveness, there is no future.