God’s prayer for the children of Gaza and Israel
You cannot pray to Me to make the violence end
Because, despite the cries of those around you
Declaring My greatness as they send rockets to the sky
Or pluck broken babies from their shattered homes:
This is not My work.
You cannot beg Me to make this terror stop
For it was not I who made it start.
It is the work of men who, with a choice
Of love or hate, choose hate:
This is not My choice.
Long ago, in ways you cannot comprehend,
I made a world, and planted seeds of hope
Deep within its heart, and nurtured them with love,
Then left them to evolve, grow into you:
This was My plan.
I trusted (if a God may harbour trust)
I believed (if a God might hold beliefs)
I hoped (yes, even God has hopes)
This world would grow and learn to love itself:
This was My dream.
I now behold the wreckage of that dream
In missile trails that desecrate blue skies,
And ugly piles of metal, bricks and you,
Left helpless in the storms of human hate.
This is not Me.
I am the God of Abraham and Ishmael -
The God of Abraham and Isaac too.
How can you imagine that I might make choices
To favour or reject? That’s what you do.
Ah humankind, I gave you My potential,
I offered you a simple, heartfelt choice:
Good or evil, blessing or the curse
Just one outcome if you listened to My voice –
But you listened to your own, chose other options,
Followed paths of greed and selfishness and hate
Now you reap the harvest of your heartless folly
But for children, maybe, it’s not yet too late.
So My prayer is for the young and for their future
Yes, I am a God who hopes, believes and prays
That you’ll recognise My seeds of love within you
And learn how you might follow in My ways.
Do not listen to the cries of hate around you
Do not hearken to those claiming in My name
That vengeance must be wrought on those who harm you -
That when others do to you, you do the same.
Learn instead this simple truth of human living:
Treat others as you hope they would treat you
More important than the taking is the giving:
Cherish what is good, and search for what is true
So, My children who are suffering in Gaza
And in Israel, Syria, Iraq and who knows where?
Try to see beyond the broken world around you
Turn your hearts to Me and let this be your prayer:
God of Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac
God of every human on this fragile earth
Help me recognise the good that dwells within me:
The potential that’s created at my birth.
Help me understand the future of this planet
Will not be shaped by missiles, tanks or guns,
That to use Your name to justify our hatred
Is just nonsense. Help me learn that we’re the ones
In whom resides the choice of good or evil
That our destiny is in our hearts and hands
That rockets bringing murder and destruction
Was not the role of humans in Your plans.
As I look upon the wreckage of the building
Where I lived and that I used to call my home
As I watch my father clutch my broken sister
To his heart which turns from flesh and blood to stone
Swearing cold revenge on those who made this happen.
Speak to me, I beg You God, with different lines.
Remind me that this is not what You wanted;
Plant in me a vision of a future time
Where our goals are not to rectify a grievance
Or to claim some territory we think we own
But to find an answer to Your constant question
Asking us if we have learned, if we have grown.
So help us, God of Abraham and Ishmael,
God of Isaac and of everyone there is
When we turn to you to ask for hope and guidance
Help us understand that what you want is this:
To seek not revenge, but reconciliation
Not to hate, but try instead to understand
That all humans want and ask and need and yearn for
Is to live our lives exactly as You planned:
To appreciate Your world and one another,
To plant seeds of love wherever we might dwell
To raise families in peaceful homes, in safety
And ensure that others live like this as well.
To recognise that You’re in every person
And see Your face in all women and men.
May we help to bring about this understanding
Soon, in our days, and let us say ‘Amen’.