'We Pray for Peace' Hymn for Ukraine
By Diana Sanchez-Bushong
"We Pray for Peace" is a new hymn by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette that was written at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Jesus teaches us to be peacemakers, yet we struggle with the best ways to work for peace in a violent and unjust world. When we feel helpless in the midst of violence, the first thing we can do is to pray. This hymn is a prayer for our leaders—that they may be wise as they try to stop this war. It is a prayer for all of us, that we may be loving and merciful—reaching out to world neighbors in need. It is an affirmation that Jesus, who calmed the storm, can bring peace into our lives and world today and that we are called to share in that peacemaking work through our words and actions. Gillette challenges us all to think about what we can do when we feel so helpless about a war that is far away. What can your congregation do to support refugees? What can you do to encourage our nation's leaders to be wise and discerning? What can you do to help people in your community who are affected by the higher energy costs that have come at this difficult time? What can you do to love and build, to nurture and restore? What will be your prayer for Ukrainians today?
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette is the author of more than four hundred hymns that have been sung by congregations around the world; her hymns are found in more than twenty books (including her own Songs of Grace by Upper Room Books) and on many websites. They have also been in The Christian Century, The New Yorker, National Public Radio, and PBS-TV. You can find all her hymns at: carolynshymns.com. She and her husband, Bruce, are Presbyterian ministers who are currently serving a church in Owego, New York.
We Pray for Peace
February 24, 2022 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
FINLANDIA 188.8.131.52.11.10 (“This is My Song”)
We pray for peace, O God of love and justice,
as once again, we face a time of war.
The meek and humble try — amid the crisis —
to love and build, to nurture and restore.
May leaders hear the truth the prophets teach us —
that gifts of peace are well worth struggling for.
We pray for peace, O Christ who calmed the waters —
who stilled the storm, who stilled disciples’ fear.
You spoke with love and with amazing power;
be with us now when trouble is so near.
May leaders see the miracle you offer —
that words and deeds can calm the nations here.
We pray for peace, O Spirit here among us;
your love emboldens, judges, and restrains.
Take any hate and acts of impulse from us;
make leaders wise, amid competing claims.
May we seek peace, O God of love and justice;
may love and mercy be our highest aims.
Permission is given for free use of this hymn, including in online worship services.
Biblical references: Psalm 34:14; Psalm 85:10; Proverbs 12:20; Isaiah 11:6-8; Matthew 5:9; Luke 8:22-25; Luke 19:41;1 Corinthians 13:1-13; Galatians 5:22-23.
See also: PCUSA’s “Prayer for International Crisis.”