Litany for the Children and Families of Syria

How Long, Lord, will you look on?
Rescue [them] from their ravages,
[Their] precious li[ves] from these lions...
Awake and rise to [their]defense!
Contend for [them], [our] God and Lord!
 - from Psalm 35

"Omran, Angels are Here" painting by Judith Mehr. ( via )

"Omran, Angels are Here" painting by Judith Mehr. (via)


God, we weep with you over the war in Syria.
Our brothers and sisters are in despair.
This war is without end:
The unending unthinkable.

We weep with the mothers
Who have lost their babies in deadly chemical attacks.
We weep with the fathers
Who cannot keep their families safe from harm.
We weep with the orphaned children
Whose parents have been separated from them.
We weep with these families
Who are our family.

Let your angels surround them in their distress.
Let your mercy come to them.
Let your peace be a miracle among them.
Let your life be a victory over death.

Rescue them, Lord God.
Move mountains to save them.

Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Amen

Litany for Aleppo

God, we send the full force of our hearts
The whole weight of our intentions
In our petition
For peace in Aleppo.

Massive loss of life,
Immense destruction,
Atrocities committed by nation-states
Against civilians, including children.

Executions of innocents.
Bombings of aid caravans, hospitals, shelters.
Political impasse.
All for the sake of power, wealth, and empire.

May the perpetrators of these crimes be brought to justice -
Let them choke upon their power
And be brought low by their shame.
May they lament ever having thought of bombarding children.

Make some miracles happen in Aleppo, oh God.
Make peace real.
Hold those in power accountable.
Give authority to those who bring mercy.

Open the gates, that the king of glory may ride in
Mighty to save:
You, whose law is love
And whose gospel is peace.*

May the good news of peace
Finally reach those injured, traumatized, impoverished;
Those people whom you love and care for.
May peace walk in, arms laden with good things:
     Respite
     Healing
     Restoration
     Sustenance
     Safety.

Amen

Pray, share, and give to aid organizations on the ground in Syria.
mercyusa.org
preemptivelove.com

 

*lyric from “O Holy Night”

A Bilingual Litany: Litany for Wars (English/Arabic)

My friend Sara, who is from Jordan, helped me with some Arabic phrases for bilingual litanies. "Emnahna al salam" means "grant us peace."

em-NAH-HH-nah AHL sa-LAHM (you make the H-sound as a syllable)

I encourage you to try saying the phrase out loud, even if the words feel strange in your mouth, to speak in solidarity with those Arabic-speakers whose nations are at war and in deep suffering. Your willingness to discomfort yourself in this small way then becomes its own kind of prayer: stumbling, mis-pronounced, and self-conscious, but heart-felt. I have Syria in mind for this litany, but the name of any war-torn nation may be substituted.

God, wars rage and nations are in turmoil.
Emnahna al salam.
Only the power of God can turn hearts and minds toward peace.
Emnahna al salam.

In your mercy, look upon the people of Syria.
Emnahna al salam.
Look upon the poor and vulnerable;
Emnahna al salam.
Look upon the sick and wounded;
Emnahna al salam.
Look upon the government and political leaders;
Emnahna al salam.
Look upon those whose pockets are lined by war;
Emnahna al salam.
Look upon those who are caught up in violence and cannot see a way out.
Emnahna al salam.
Bring your justice and mercy swiftly.
Emnahna al salam.

Spoil the plans of those who instigate trouble because of greed and power-hunger.
Emnahna al salam.
Rescue those who are suffering from violence and unjust government.
Emnahna al salam.
Fill the hearts of those who can help with compassion and strength.
Emnahna al salam.
Empower leaders whose hearts understand the goal of Love, and who enact justice.
Emnahna al salam.

May the spirit of Christ, the Prince of Peace, be strong in that region.
Emnahna al salam.

Amen