On Wednesday, a married couple full of violence and hatred attacked a group of government employees in San Bernardino. On Thursday, many secular lawmakers and journalists attacked prayer as the proper response, preferring to place their faith in man-made gun control legislation rather than in the power of prayer to God.
Faithful Christians, however, know that prayer is more fundamental to human life than air, food, and water. As the Holy Apostle wrote, we are to “pray without ceasing” (1 The 5:17), which the Holy Gregory Nazianzen interpreted to mean that we ought to pray more often than we breathe.
To this end, we offer the following prayer for peace, which was composed by the faithful at the Russian Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas in Amsterdam. Even though it was written before the deadly attacks over this past month, it is prophetic in capturing the necessary spirit of our prayer to God during this time.
A Prayer for Peace
Let all believers turn aside from violence and do what makes for peace. By the strength of your powerful arm save your people and your Holy Church from all evil oppression; hear the supplications of all who call to you in sorrow and affliction, day and night, O merciful God, let their lives not be lost, we pray you, hear us and have mercy on us.
But grant, O Lord, peace, love and speedy reconciliation to your people whom you have redeemed with your precious blood. Make your presence known to those who have turned away from you and do not seek you, so that none of them may be lost, but all may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth, so that everyone, in true harmony and love, O long-suffering Lord, may praise your all holy Name.