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Prayer vigil for the Middle East

On this day, we pray with and for our sisters and brothers in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, who have called for an ecumenical prayer vigil across the globe on the 24th of every month.

This will continue until we can all celebrate an end to occupation and a just and lasting resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

A woman prays in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

We do this as the Church of Scotland, the Scottish Episcopal Church, Christian Aid Scotland, and in partnership with the worldwide ACT Alliance.

Use this service during the World Week for Peace in Palestine and Israel (22-28 September) and on the 24th of every month as part of the ACT Palestine Forum Prayer Vigil.

Opening responses

Gather in our hearts Lord,
bring peace through our words.
Gather in our hearts Lord,
bring peace through our listening.
Gather in our hearts Lord,
Bring peace through our actions.
Gather in our hearts Lord,
bring peace through our silence.
Gather in our hearts Lord,
bring peace through our lives.

Prayer of approach 

Eternal God,
in your love for this world,
you have made places of great beauty.

And always where heaven is present,
hell is never far off.
This is our experience;
it is the lot of your people.
We recognise it in the world.

Today, we come to hold before you
that land on which your son put his feet
and first walked the path to heaven,
across the terrain of the earth.

Help us,
as we enter into solidarity
with those who are our brothers and sisters
in faith and in humanity,
not to keep apart Palestinian and Israeli in our prayers,
but rather to try with you,
and under your guidance,
to find a way of holding the broken pieces,
that in our lives and through our prayers,
some greater health
and some sign of wholesomeness might come,
and a glimpse of your kingdom appear in our hearts
and on this earth.

(from ‘Fencing in God’s People, WGRG 2007)


Poem: Waiting for the light

(optional, appended) by Jan Sutch Pickard

Lighting a candle for peace

In the name of Christ, who is our peace,
we light this light for peace in Palestine and Israel.

Sung several times as the candle is lit (CH4 784):
Come light, light of God, give light to creation.
Enlighten our hearts and remain with your world.


Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
‘May they prosper who love you.
 Peace be within your walls,
 and security within your towers.’
For the sake of my relatives and friends
I will say, ‘peace be within you.’
For the sake of the house of the Lord our God,
I will seek your good. (from Psalm 122).

Who is wise and understanding among you? Show by your good life that your works are done with gentleness born of wisdom.

But if you have bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be boastful and false to the truth.

Such wisdom does not come down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, devilish. For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace. (James 3, 13 -18)

Prayers of intercession

God of peace, encourage those who seek to establish a fair and just peace in the Middle East. Bless their efforts as they work to end conflict.  Lead those who engage in violence to put down their weapons and to live in peace with one another.
God in your mercy
hear our prayer

Or sung response

God of peace and justice
Rain down upon us your peace.
God of peace and justice,
let every heart be filled with peace. 
(Ya Rabba Ssalami, Palestine/Lebanon, in We Walk His Way, John L Bell, pub. Wild Goose Publications 2008)

God of justice, bless those who work for peace through justice.  Strengthen their resolve in the face of seemingly endless violence. 

Guide the leaders of the peoples of the Middle East to know your will and to support a just peace for all of your children.

God of love, lifting up the holy land for all humankind, breathe love and compassion into our prayers with a desire for nothing other than peace:  peace in our hearts, peace for all creation, and especially peace in the land that is called holy.

God of hope, we lift up the city of Jerusalem, distracted and divided, yet still filled with promise as all the cities of the world. 

Come again into our cities, places of worship, Upper Rooms and Gethsemanes, that we may be given sight to recognise you.

God of mercy, even as we long to understand that which is often beyond our comprehension, we lay before you the hearts, minds and bodies of all those suffering from conflict in Palestine and Israel and from the ongoing occupation. Shower upon all the people of the Holy Land the spirit of justice and reconciliation.

God of the nations, give to all our people the blessings of well-being, freedom, and harmony, and, above all things, give us faith in you that we may be strengthened to care for all those in need until the coming of your son, our Saviour and Lord.
(From ACT Palestine)

Prayer - current news

You may prefer to have a time of silence and free prayer, with petitions relevant to the current news. Some suggestions are given below:

  • Pray for Palestinian children on their way to school, that they may be safe and not afflicted by military or settler assaults.
  • Pray for those held in Israeli prisons, especially minors, that they will be comforted.
  • Pray for the parents of Palestinian prisoners, and the parents of young Israelis undergoing military service. Pray also for young Israelis in prison for refusing to do military service, who have no right of conscientious objection.
  • Pray for those who must queue at checkpoints, struggle with unjust court decisions, and confront daily intimidation and insult, merely so they can live in their own homes and tend their own land.
  • Pray for all, Palestinians and Israelis, who live with the threat of violence and the fear of the other.
  • Pray for all refugees: Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, in Jordan and Lebanon; pray especially for those Palestinian refugees from Syria, once again forced to flee, and for all refugees from conflict in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.

End with a period of silence

May our silence speak the peace of God.

May our silence sing the peace of God.
May our silence bring about the peace of God.

Closing responses

Pray not for Arab or Jew,
for Palestinian or Israeli,
but pray rather for ourselves,
that we might not
divide them in our prayers
but keep them both together
in our hearts.

When races fight,
peace be among us.
When neighbours argue,
peace be among us.
When nations disagree,
peace be among us.
Where people struggle for justice,
let justice prevail.
Where Christ’s disciples follow,
let peace be our way.

Prayer from the Jerusalem churches to mark World Week for Peace in Palestine Israel 2013

Almighty God, thank you for your Word made flesh in Jesus Christ and for the challenge for unity, justice and reconciliation between all people, given to us in the Holy Scriptures.

As we focus this year on Jerusalem and its children:

We, the churches in Jerusalem, pray that Christians wherever they may be in the world, may remember the continuous emigration of the Christians in the Holy Land. Jerusalem is the Mother City of our faith and the spiritual Home for each one of us.

In Jerusalem, the city of Pentecost, every Christian was born. From Jerusalem the word of God spread to the ends of the earth.

We pray that the Christians in Jerusalem may be able to see their witness through their presence.

We, the churches in Jerusalem, pray that the word of God will be prophetic, bearing your voice in the present and future.

Everything that happens in our land, everyone who lives here, all the pains and hopes, all the injustice and all the efforts to stop this injustice, are part of the prayer of our Church and the service of all her institutions.

We pray that our Church raises her voice against oppression and works for justice, non-violence and reconciliation.

We, the churches in Jerusalem, pray for courage to speak the Word of God honestly and lovingly in the local context and in the midst of daily events.

If the Church does take sides, it is with the oppressed, to stand alongside them, just as Christ our Lord stood by the side of each poor person and each sinner, calling them to repentance, to life, and to the restoration of the dignity bestowed on them by God and that no one has the right to take away.

God is not the ally of one against the other, nor the opponent of one in the face of the other. God is the Lord of all and loves all, demanding justice from all and issuing to all of us the same commandment to love one another.

We, the churches in Jerusalem, pray for hope where hopelessness reigns, hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict that tears your people apart. In a time when reconciliation no longer seems possible and few believe in a two state solution we pray that you will inspire all people of good faith to take a step in solidarity with your suffering children in the Holy Land.

‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom’ (Luke 12:32).

We, the churches in Jerusalem, have faith in you, our teacher and with the bonds you made between us and our brothers and sisters to overcome.

We thirst for justice, O God, because we know that there will be no peace until equity prevails for all people and until the forces of evil are defeated by your commandment of love, respect, and honour.

God bless us with your love to keep our faith and actions towards a Universal and Holy Jerusalem for all. In Jesus' name we pray.


ACT Alliance is a coalition of more than 130 churches and affiliated organisations working together in 140 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people - regardless of their religion, political stance, gender, sexual orientation, race or nationality - in keeping with the highest international codes and standards. 

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