The Peace Prayer
by The Revd Alan M. Barker
Suitable for Key Stage 2
To reflect upon the meaning of the Peace Prayer.
Preparation and materials
- The Peace Prayer was composed by Satish Kumar and adopted by the Prayer for Peace Movement in 1981. It is perhaps unique in being used by peoples of different faiths across the world. Many pause to focus upon the prayer at noon each day. It will be widely used during the inter-faith Week of Prayer for World Peace which is held each October. In 2004, the week begins on 17 October. The UN has also designated 21 September as a World Peace Day. (This assembly could also appropriately be used in connection with Remembrance Sunday.)
- The Peace Prayer
Lead me from Death to Life,
from Falsehood to Truth.
Lead me from Despair to Hope,
from Fear to Trust.
Lead me from Hate to Love,
From War to Peace.
Let Peace fill our heart,
our world, our universe.
- Before the assembly, print the highlighted words, Death, Life, Despair, Hope, Hate, Love, onto pieces of card and prepare them with Blu-Tack for display on a suitable board. Alternatively, the individual words could be cut from an acetate for display on an OHP.
- Prepare a second flip-chart sheet or acetate to display the completed version of the Peace Prayer, highlighting the key words as above.
- Familiarize yourself and any musicians with the song so that it can be taught during the assembly.
- Remind the children of the concept of 'opposites', considering some simple examples and concluding with happy / sad, better / worse, united / divided.
- Using the display board or OHP, introduce the six key words from the Peace Prayer in random order. Challenge everyone to match the words together in opposing pairs. Rearrange the display according to their suggestions.
As the opposites are formed, reflect briefly together upon the meaning of the words. Note that the word ‘death’ can describe not only the end of our physical existence but also a state of awareness, i.e. we can be 'dead' to the needs of others.
Invite the assembly to consider the words that speak of a better, happier world and those that describe sadness and division. Organize the pairs in the order that they are found in the Peace Prayer. Reflect that people of faith pray that the world might enjoy greater happiness and unity.
Here's how! Display the complete version of the Peace Prayer and read it together. Explain that this prayer is used by people of different faiths, and especially during the Week of Prayer for World Peace. Invite everyone to consider how this prayer can be effective. Note that it begins, 'Lead me'. Individual actions and words can help to either unite or divide humanity. (How is this true in school?) Everyone who prays the Prayer has a part to play in making peace real.
Time for reflection
Read the Peace Prayer and ask everyone to think about the words as they hear them.
‘The Peace Prayer’ (Come and Praise, 140).