UMW - Waging Peace with Prayer and Action
Throughout the year 2011–2012, United Methodist Women is working on the journey of engaging in reconciliation. During the summer months of Schools of Christian Mission until International Day of Peace on September 21, 2011, you are invited to participate in Prayers and Actions for Peace as an expression of reconciliation. Submit a prayer for peace and find suggestions for action at UMWOnline.
United Methodist Women has a long history of working for peace and taking stands during critical times. Following World War II, United Methodist Women predecessors from
Prayer can transform when we sincerely give ourselves to prayer and begin to look for ways to bring about the solutions to the needs we share with God. Prayer is not the power, God is the power, but prayer moves God, it moves the Spirit of God within us to respond. When the disciples, faced with the multitude of hungry people who had come to hear Jesus speak asked Jesus to send them away to buy food, Jesus responded by telling them, “You give them something to eat.” All they could find was five loaves and two fish.
“What is that among so many?” they asked. But they gave what they found to Jesus. Jesus prayed, and in the distribution more than 5,000 were fed. Jesus was reminding them that they had the power to redistribute, they had the power to meet the need, they had the power to respond.
Prayers for Peace is the same. We pray prayers. We write prayers. But what do we do about them? How do we take the sincere concerns we have for peace in our world today and make peace a reality? How do we do this hard work of reconciliation rather than revenge? How do we withstand the urge to retaliate and look for ways to make positive, long-lasting change? And where do we start?
Our sincerest prayers for peace will be actions of forgiveness, restorative justice and reconciliation. We talk about peacemaking, and those who do it know it is hard work. It is easier to fight. That is why this year’s mission study, The Journey: Forgiveness, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice by Stephanie Hixon and Thomas Porter, is really about wrestling with reconciliation in broad social relationships. It requires deep understanding, commitment to respect and relationship, and great love.
In this light, today you are invited to share in the work of both prayers and peace. Write a prayer for peace and post it online at the Women, Peace & Security page on UMWOnline where it can be shared—with your neighbor, on a social network, in an exhibit, through your local paper, with the president, over the radio and other places you make connections.
Then, do something! The following are a list of suggestions for taking action that push us closer to the deep, genuine love and respect that are necessary for the work of reconciliation and peace. The commitment to this is emboldened, strengthened and sustained by prayer.