Gathering in Silence
Call to Prayer
Lighting of Candle
In the name of Jesus Christ, welcome to this time of prayer. The "Temple … an instrument of ongoing revelation in the life of the church. Its symbolism and ministries call people to reverence in the presence of the Divine Being. Transformative encounters with the Eternal Creator and Reconciler await those who follow its spiritual pathways of healing, reconciliation, peace, strengthening of faith, and knowledge."
—Doctrine and Covenants 163:8a
Today in our prayers we remember the people of Swaziland, located in Southern Africa. It is a landlocked country neighbored by Mozambique and South Africa and is one of the smallest countries in Africa. Artifacts indicate human activity dating back to the early Stone Age, around 200,000 years ago. Prehistoric rock art paintings dating from 25,000 BC and continuing up to the 19th century can be found in various places around the country.
Scripture Reading—1 John 3:1, 7
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear children, do not let anyone lead you astray. The one who does what is right is righteous, just as he is righteous.
Prayer for Peace
It is good to gather here once again, to rest in this silent, sacred, spiraling place, and collect our thoughts, calm our minds. Gentle colors and light surround us, sooth us into quietness and stillness. Even for those of us who live far away from this place, we can journey here in our minds and sense the pace and tranquility that abides in this sanctuary.
We need times like this, God. Times when we can retreat and refresh our spirits and clear our minds. Times that restore our souls and remind us again of the tasks you have commissioned us to fulfill.
God, we sometimes grow weary. Weary of hoping and struggling for peace in a world that so often seems filled with hatred and despair. We are overwhelmed by the needs that surround us, the demands and the problems which drain our resources and sap our strength. We grow weary of the world around us which too often dashes our hope for peace and mocks our faith in you.
We weep for the violence and destruction that rages in so much of the earth. We weep for the children, little innocent ones who are denied love and whose lives are consumed by forces of darkness and evil. We weep for those rendered powerless by systems of injustice, abuse, and oppression. We weep for those who are treated as if they were of no worth in the sight of others around them. At times we feel as though we have no more tears to shed for those who suffer.
We do not want to hear anymore of life, precious life, or of the beauty of your creation, destroyed as if it were of no consequence or value.
We are burdened, Lord, filled with both a far-off vision of a world of peace that could someday be, but also filled with an awareness of human brutality and misery of such intensity that we cannot bear to comprehend the depth of its reality.
Meet us now, O God, in this place and time, and gently open our hearts. Fill our hearts with both the pain of the "now" and the hope of the "what yet can be." For if you are the God of love and compassion as shown in the life of your Son, Jesus, then we know that the tears we have shed have been your tears as well. We know that we have not struggled alone, but that you have been with us, beside us, yearning and longing for peace.
Creator God, cradle our wounded hearts in your hands and heal us, restore us to wholeness, and rekindle the vision of peace in us once again. Lift us to our feet and stir our hearts once more with the promise of peace, the message of peace and love which gave to us in the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ.
Place in us the longing for peace, and the courage to enter the struggle again, to ache and dream and speak for peace. And we know that one day, by your power and will, that the kingdoms of the earth will become the Kingdom of your Son, and our Lord, Jesus, and that the peoples of the world shall dwell together in love and unity.
To this end, God, we lift our prayer to you, and offer our love to you, and to the world you have called us to minister to. In the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen.
Today's hymn is "See What Love We Have Been Given!" number 496 in Community of Christ Sings. Sing or silently reflect on the meaning of the text.
Prayers of the People
As we enter a time of guided prayer, meditation, and musical reflection, you are invited to offer silent prayers or meditate during the moments of quiet. The Prayers of the People this day begin with ourselves and then, enlarging life's circle, move outward to include those we know and love, to strangers and enemies, to the entire world, and to all of creation.
Please join with me in today's prayer and meditation; quiet your breathing and embrace God's eternal grace as you become aware of your own responses to the guided prayers of the people.
God, you are the still point of the circle within which all creation is found. I yearn to connect with your spirit of peace and experience the companionship of your presence in this moment. May I abide in the center of creation's circle with you?
Creator of horizons, help us draw the circle wider to include those I know and love, and even those I struggle to understand and accept. Fill this circle with the gifts of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, and peace. Give us the desire to include all whose paths cross ours into a place where acceptance is offered freely. Draw our circle wider.
Giver of dreams, let the peace we've dreamed of expand to embrace all your children. We remember all nations, including Swaziland, the country we pray for today. Within this circle may we see the other as brother and sister, and act as mutual stewards of one another. You call us to live without borders that exclude. Help us to draw the circle wider still.
God of all living things, your world longs to be whole and in harmony. The dream of shalom includes caregiving for the water, earth, air and all that has life in one great family. You created us with interdependencies. Give us mutual respect and tender care for all. Let this be our song: Nothing on your created Earth stands alone, but lives in shalom with all other living things. Draw the circle wide open.
Architect of life and peace, may we be blessed by your vision of shalom this day. May our minds, hearts, and spirits be wide enough for all to find a home. We pray in the name of Jesus Christ, God's shalom. Amen.
May blessings of peace
Be realized today
Through the Source, Savior, and Spirit.
Go in peace.