Sunday, January 4, 2015

Prayer for Peace — Quakers

A circle of Friends worship together in silent contemplation.

Quakers (Religious Society of Friends)

Our mission initiatives include developing disciples to serve and promoting peace on earth.  We work toward both goals as we learn about the traditions, ideas, practices, and history of diverse people throughout the world — many of whom are also neighbors in our own communities.  Every week in our congregation, we ponder one of the world’s many diverse religious expressions and offer a prayer for peace for peoples of the world.
This week we contemplate the Quakers.  The people commonly known under the nickname Quakers refer to themselves as “Friends” and their many different denominations and expressions are collectively known as the “Religious Society of Friends.” The movement emerged in the English Reformation in the mid-17th century, as one of many organizations who desired to take reform much further than the established Church of England was prepared to go.

Quakers stressed the importance of a direct relationship with God acquired through reading and studying the Bible and through direct spiritual experience.  They reject creeds and recognize a universal priesthood of all believers, which meant that early on women were able to serve as Quaker ministers.  Quakers are a peace church with a long, proud commitment to causes of social justice, including the eradication of slavery.  In this way, the Quakers have served as a model for our own goal in Community of Christ of becoming a peace church.

Today there are about 359,000 adult members of Quaker congregations throughout the world. Although the Society of Friends have always been relatively few in number, they have had great impact in the promotion of justice and peace.

Prayer for Peace — Wallace B. Smith

Eternal God, present in all of life that is significant and holy, hear us now as we lift our voices in thanksgiving and praise, in confession, and in supplication.

We give thanks for your word of encouragement that enables us to face each new day.  We also thank you for your word of faithfulness that gives us hope for the future.  And we give thanks for your word of guidance that directs us as we seek to better understand your ways.

Gracious God, deliver us from the shallowness of our commitments, from the thousand ways our strivings separate us from each other.  And most of all, deliver us from our fears that alienate us from you.

O God of faith, hear our prayer as we light our flame of peace and love at this hour and in this sacred place.  May the flame here kindled grow within each heart, that all may sense more fully your spirit in the warmth of our concern for one another.  Refresh us when we grow weary of opposing injustice and oppression, terrorism and war, and send us forth from this time of prayer for peace strengthened to bind up the wounds that afflict our world. Grant us peace, O God — not the peace of slumber, but of quiet confidence in the triumph of your word.  For the sake of all your creation, we pray.   Amen.

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