Prayers for Peace and Goodwill
At Ark St Alban’s Academy, we have chosen the theme of “peace and goodwill to all people” for our Christmas celebrations and meditations. We took this theme from St. Luke’s Gospel. In this gospel angels appear to shepherds in the field, and the angels tell the shepherds about Jesus’ birth. Then the angels praise God saying, ‘‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ (Luke 2:14 NRSV).
The theme of peace and goodwill can speak to everyone whatever their faith, and to those of no faith. The students and staff of Ark St Alban’s Academy joined with the congregation of St Alban’s Church and pupils from Chandos Primary School in writing prayers on stars asking God for peace and goodwill. On the stars we prayed for many places in the world that need peace:
- for Palestine, China, Syria, Iraq, Eritrea, Sudan and Afghanistan;
- for all those suffering because of the tension in Kashmir on the borders of India and Pakistan and for or all the peoples of North East India who are affected by violent demonstrations and the government clamp down;
- for all those suffering in war zones and especially for members of our own families living in areas of violence and conflict;
- that people will share land and never be jealous;
- that people and nations will try to solve their problems without war;
- for equality and understanding between those who are different for each other;
- that God will help us to accept others whoever they are, regardless of differences and opinions;
- that all people will be able to practice their own religion in peace: we especially remember Uighur Muslims in China, Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Christians in the Middle East.
We also prayed for places in our own country where we need peace:
- for an end to racism and violent crime;
- for peace and goodwill after our election and an end to the division caused by Brexit;
- for peace in Ireland.
Finally, we wrote prayers for peace in our local community:
- for an end to violent crime and drug use;
- for peace and goodwill in Horton Square;
- for an end to murders and stabbings;
- for those struggling with poor mental health and for those with less money;
- that everyone would have a hot meal this Christmas;
- that we will feel safe in this community.
We created a prayer space with the prayer stars. This prayer space joins us together as a community of different beliefs through expressing our desire for peace and goodwill. Students, staff and congregation were all invited to add more prayer stars to our prayer space. Our prayer space was displayed in the Atrium of Ark St Alban’s Academy and then moved to the Church so that Academy and Church shared common prayers.