Classroom prayers for lent

for lent
Called by faith to act
with generous hearts
Kua karangahia
e te whakapono
kia mahi i runga i
te ngākau atawhai
Spend time each day in prayer
Ideas to enrich prayers in Lent
Prayer for Ash Wednesday
Prayers for the six weeks of Lent
Week 1 Gospel reading and prayers
Week 2 Gospel reading and prayers
Week 3 Gospel reading and prayers
Week 4 Gospel reading and prayers
Week 5 Gospel reading and prayers
Week 6 Gospel reading and prayers
Selected prayers
Psalm 34 and ideas for classroom use
Prayers for peace
Prayers by Joy Cowley
Poems by Eileen Duggan
Photo on the front cover:
Christian boy lights a candle at the tomb of the Holy Sepulchre church, Jerusalem (the place where Jesus was buried).
Called by faith to act with generous hearts
Kua karangahia e te whakapono kia mahi i runga i te ngākau atawhai
Classroom prayers for Lent 2012
As people of God, we are called to share the love God has given us with our
neighbours and with the whole of our human family. The Lenten gospels take us
to the central teachings of Jesus. We are using the Sunday gospel readings of Lent
to help us reflect on some of the stories of the work of Caritas. These inspiring
examples demonstrate how we are working for peace and justice both at home
and overseas and in international aid and development. This work is supported
through the generous hearts of New Zealand donors including many schools
throughout the country.
The season of Lent provides
us with a threefold focus of
prayer, fasting and almsgiving.
This booklet will serve as an
encouragement for the first of
these – prayer. Feel free to add
your own stories and prayers.
Keep this booklet handy on your
table or by your sacred space, and
take five minutes at the beginning
of your lessons to pray for our
neighbours across the globe.
Spend time each day in prayer
Begin the day by talking with God. It helps young people to focus on God as the
source and creator of all life. It reminds them of the loving companionship of God
who is always there for them. While any form of prayer may be used, prayers of
praise, offering and petition are particularly appropriate.
Arrange a sacred space in your classroom with a purple cloth, open Bible,
candle, and space for other symbols as they emerge each week throughout
Lent. These could include a twig cross, Caritas koha box, and images of
people linked to the classroom study topic. On the following pages are some
suggested symbols. Locate suitable songs for singing each week that link with
Lenten themes. There are a range of poems and prayers in the second half of
this booklet. These are more suitable for older students.
Begin with the Sign of the Cross.
Ki te ingoa, o te Matua, o te Tamaiti, o Te Wairau Tapu, Amene.
Take a few minutes for morning meditation. Everyone sits relaxed in a circle
with eyes closed. Invite them to take a minute to think about the people and
things around them that make them realise God is good. Ask them to choose
one of these things and quietly thank God for this.
Choose a short piece of scripture. Use the ones that link to the Sunday gospel
readings throughout Lent. These could be your readings for every Monday.
Also on a Monday morning you could create a prayer companion list for all
the people the class would like to remember in prayer. ‘This week we will pray
especially for…’ This action helps to develop a faith community and to tune
into the emotional needs of the children and students.
Say prayers of praise, forgiveness and petition. These are designed to be
spoken by two groups (leader and response, or left side and right side facing
the sacred space).
The following readings are from The Catholic Youth Bible (revised). You may choose to
locate more simple versions of these readings for younger children.
A two thousand year old olive tree in
the Garden of Gethsemane
Sea of Galilee, Israel
Ideas to enrich prayers in Lent
Cross names
Do you have a cross name? Do you have first and last names that have letters in
common? Use your middle name if needed. Print your name intersecting on a
common letter to form a cross. Now print it with the names going in the other
Twig crosses
Gather twigs 8 to 12 cm long.
Form crosses with two twigs
each. Wind wool around
where the twigs intersect until
the cross is very stable. Black
or purple wool would be very
appropriate. You could weave a
cross using flax – harakeke.
Symbol poster calendar
Draw lines to divide a large poster page into uneven sections. Add a new large
Lenten symbol to one section each week until all six sections are filled. Possible
Lenten symbols include a palm branch; money; crown of thorns; rocks; bread and
wine; candle; ‘HOPE’.
Activities adapted from Hosanna! Calendars, crafts and creative projects for Lent and Easter by Sharon Lee.
Interfaith peace prayer activity
Divide class into groups.
Each group
• Choose a peace prayer from each of the three faith traditions that exist in
the Holy Land. Locate these prayers in the Selected prayers section of this
• Read out the prayers together as a group.
• Highlight two or three sentences from each prayer. Choose sentences which
you think are particularly special and relevant to what you are studying about
the Holy Land.
• Present these prayers in a creative way which conveys the theme of peace,
eg, a drama, a sculpture, a piece of artwork.
Graffiti on a wall in the city of Old Jerusalem
Prayer for Ash Wednesday
May Lent be for us
A time of learning to see
Where Christ is crucified today,
A time of learning
To recognize the complex roots of injustice,
To recognize the Gethsemanes
In our global community.
May we witness the suffering
Of God’s children
As Mary witnessed
Her beloved son’s suffering.
May Lent be for us
A time of learning to become
An Easter people,
A time of learning
To recognize the deep roots of compassion,
To recognize we too are called
To witness the empty tomb and
To announce
To a world in despair
the Hope of the Resurrection.
By Jane Deren, Education for Justice, Rock carving at Gethsemane, Jerusalem
Prayers for the six weeks of Lent
Gospel for the First Sunday of Lent
After Jesus was baptised, the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness. He was in
the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and
the angels waited on him.
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news
of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near;
repent, and believe in the good news’.
The desert wilderness of the Middle East
Liaison and Support Advisor Karen Payne
facilitating the Stormbirds programme
with children at Sacred Heart School in
Week 1
He was in the wilderness forty days
Symbols: Rocks, bricks and concrete, emergency kit, red and black clothing such as
socks or scarf or red flowers.
This week we remember everyone who has been affected by the earthquakes in
Christchurch and surrounding areas. Many people have suffered because of losing
people they loved and for others the loss of jobs, homes, and special places has
been difficult. It is like existing in a ‘wilderness’.
Hope for the future can be felt in the love and compassion, kindness and
generosity of good people. The good news of God can be seen through the caring
actions of others.
We pray for everyone who is living with difficult circumstances every day.
Give us comfort.
Bless those who are angels to people feeling troubled.
Give us your kindness.
Help us to help those who are unhappy.
Give us the warmth of a smile.
Prayer of petition
Let us pray, Creator God, bless all those who are working to help those in
Christchurch and who are still trying to sort out their lives because of the
earthquakes. Give everyone restful sleep each night and patience to cope with
what each new day brings.
Lord hear us. Response: Lord hear our prayer
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Closing prayer
Be with us when we feel we are in a wilderness.
Jesus is faithful.
Be with us when we are afraid.
Jesus is near us.
Open our minds to see your goodness.
Jesus, you gave us the good news.
Close with the Sign of the Cross.
Gospel for the Second Sunday of Lent
Jesus took with him Peter and James and John and led them up a high mountain
apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes
became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. And there
appeared to them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus. Then Peter said
to Jesus: ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here;
let us make three tents, one for you, one for
Moses, and one for Elijah’. Peter did not know
what to say, for they were terrified. Then a
cloud overshadowed them, and from the
cloud there came a voice, ‘This is my Son, the
Beloved; listen to him.’ Suddenly when they
looked around, they saw no one with them any
more but only Jesus.
As they were coming down the mountain,
Jesus ordered them to tell no one about what
they had seen, until after the Son of Man had
risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to
themselves, questioning what this rising from
the dead could mean.
Sr. Mary Millicent, Project
Co-ordinator, shares lunch
at Mayenya Model Primary
School with students whose
families participate in the Chiga
Support Project.
Week 2
He was transfigured before them
Symbols: Photo of Chiga orphans. Young seedlings in a pot.
This week we are thinking about all the children who have been left to grow up
without their parents. There are millions of orphans throughout the world. Caritas
is working with the Chiga parish in Kenya in Africa. The children are orphans
because their parents have died from HIV/AIDS.
Sometimes the best thing we can do when people are sick or hurting is to be
present with them. When Jesus was transformed in front of Peter, James and John
they were terrified. They didn’t know what to do. But all that Jesus wanted, was
for them to be present with him at that amazing moment in time.
Today people in the Chiga parish support the many grandparents who care for
their orphaned grandchildren. We should try to remember all people – young and
old who stay with and care for members of their family who need special help.
Opening prayer
Open our eyes to see Jesus Christ in our world today.
Lord hear us.
Help us to be present to others in need.
Lord hear us.
May we remember our strong ancestors or tipuna who worked for justice.
Lord hear our prayers.
Prayer of petition
Let us pray, Jesus who healed the sick, please help the people in Kenya to show
kindness and compassion to all those who are left as orphans.
Lord hear us.
Response: Lord hear our prayer.
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Closing prayer
Help us to care for our family. Amen.
Open our eyes to see others who need us to be with them, and to comfort them.
Gospel for the Third Sunday of Lent
The Passover of the Jews was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the
Temple he found people selling cattle, sheep and doves, and the money changers
seated at their tables. Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the
temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money
changers and overturned their tables. He told those who were selling the doves,
‘Take these things out of here! Stop making my Father’s house a marketplace!’ His
disciples remembered that it was written, ‘Zeal for your house will consume me’.
The people then said to him, ‘What sign can
you show us for doing this?’ Jesus answered
them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days
I will raise it up.’ They then said, ‘This temple
has been under construction for forty-six
years, and will you raise it up in three days?
But Jesus was speaking of the temple of his
body. After he was raised from the dead, his
disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they believed the scripture and the words
that Jesus had spoken.
When he was in Jerusalem during the Passover
festival, many believed in his name because
they saw the signs that he was doing. But
Jesus on his part would not entrust himself to
them, because he knew all people and needed
no one to testify about anyone; for he himself
knew what was in everyone.
The organisation ECREA in Fiji is
increasing women’s opportunities
to earn income. Caritas provides
ongoing support to help establish
new means of income, including
the sale of food and agricultural
Week 3
He poured out the coins of the money changers
Symbols: Money trail in the shape of a country you are supporting, koha box,
‘Keep it simple’ calendar.
This week we are thinking about how money should be used. Jesus was angry at
the behaviour of the money changers. They were being greedy and only wanted
things better for themselves. Jesus teaches us to consider the poor and the needy.
That is why Caritas works for a world free of poverty. In places like Fiji, Caritas uses
your donations to help make things fairer for all the people.
Opening prayer
When we feel angry at unfairness.
Lord help us to focus on what we can do.
Bless every one who works to bring justice to the poor.
Lord hear us.
Help us see the places and people that are precious to God.
Lord open our eyes.
Prayer of petition
Let us pray, Generous God, who said, ‘Blessed are those who thirst for what is
right’, please help the people in Fiji to consider working in fair and just ways with
each other.
Lord hear us.
Response: Lord hear our prayer.
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Closing prayer
Help Caritas to bring justice to the suffering in Fiji. E Te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
Encourage us to be generous. E Te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
Be with us as we work to make the world we live in fairer for everyone. E Te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
Gospel for the Fourth Sunday of Lent
Jesus said to Nicodemus: ‘Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever who believes in him may have
eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone
who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
‘Indeed, God did not send the Son into the
world to condemn the world, but in order that
the world might be saved through him. Those
who believe in him are not condemned; but
those who do not believe are condemned
already, because they have not believed in the
name of the only Son of God.
‘And this is the judgment, that the light
has come into the world, and people loved
darkness rather than light because their deeds
were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and
do not come into the light, so that their deeds
may not be exposed. But those who do what is
true come to the light, so that it may be clearly
seen that their deeds have been done in God.’
Community nurse Rasha Khalal
is one of three nurses who make
up to 80 home visits per month
to patients unable to come to the
Aboud Medical Centre in the West
Bank, Palestine.
Week 4
Light has come into the world
Symbols: Image from Jerusalem, three different candles to represent Jewish,
Muslim and Christian religious groups, peace lamp.
Caritas Jerusalem is working among people who live every day in stressful and
dangerous situations. For many, it is like living under a dark cloud. Jesus’ life
and teachings, death and resurrection brought the light of hope for everyone.
Christians are people of hope. Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand is giving money to
the peace efforts in the Holy Land. Our support is bringing hope to many.
Opening prayer
Help all people who have lost their ancestral homes.
Give us hope.
Bring Your light into our darkness.
Give us light.
Help us to grow in courage and compassion. Give us strength.
Prayer of petition
Jesus who said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ please help the people in the Holy
Land to make peace with each other.
Lord hear us.
Response: Lord hear our prayer.
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Offer each other a Sign of Peace.
Closing prayer
‘Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.’ (Matthew 5:9)
Lord, help us to be peacemakers in the Holy Land.
‘I am the light of the world.’ (John 8:12)
Lord, help us to be lights to the Holy Land.
‘Peace I leave you with you, My Peace I give to you:…’ (John 14:27)
Lord, we thank you for your peace and we accept it in the Holy Land.
Gospel for the Fifth Sunday of Lent
Among those who went up to worship at the festival were some Greeks. They
came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and said to him, ‘Sir, we wish
to see Jesus’. Philip went and told Andrew; then Andrew and Philip went and told
Jesus answered them, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very
truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains
just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Those who love their life lose
it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever
serves me must follow me, and where I am, there will my servant be also.
Whoever serves me, the Father will honour.
‘Now my soul is troubled. And what should I
say – “Father, save me from this hour?” No, it
is for this reason that I have come to this hour.
Father glorify your name!’
Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have
glorified it, and I will glorify it again’.
The crowd standing there heard it and said
it was thunder. Others said, ‘An angel has
spoken to Him.’ Jesus answered, ‘This voice
has come for your sake, not for mine. Now is
the judgment of this world; now the ruler of
this world will be driven out. And I, when I am
lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to
myself’. Jesus said this to indicate the kind of
death He was to die.
Year 13 students from St Peter’s
College, Gore, share ways to
fundraise after learning about
social justice on a Caritas Justice
Leadership Day.
Week 5
Whoever serves me must follow me
Symbol: Kete, Pasifika mats, other symbols of different cultures in your class.
Young Vinnies badge, Caritas badge.
Many thousands of children and young people support the work of Caritas and
the St Vincent de Paul (Vinnies) by generously giving their time, their talents, and
money for people who need help. The spirit of service comes from a heart filled
with concern and compassion for others. In serving others we are following Jesus’
example. Our attitude towards service can be summed up in four words – ‘We
Rather Than Me’.
Opening prayer
Bless all who hear the call to serve you and to serve others. E te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
May we grow in our energy of concern for others. E te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
Teach us to know how to serve you better. E te Ariki.
Whakarongo mai ki a mātou.
Prayer of petition
Loving God please help all those who give their time and talents and money to
make our place better for all.
Lord hear us. Response: Lord hear our prayer.
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Closing prayer
Help us choose to bring goodness to others. Holy Spirit help us make good choices.
Inspire us to live in unselfish ways. Holy Spirit be with us.
Guide us how to give without counting the cost. Holy Spirit create in us a generous heart.
Gospel for the Sixth Sunday of Lent
The Passion of Christ according to Mark
The full account of the Passion of Christ, which is read on Palm Sunday, can be
found in Chapters 14-15 of the gospel of Mark. You could invite different group
members to read the following passage aloud from a Bible or to read this excerpt
from this booklet.
VERSES 16-24
…The soldiers led Jesus into the courtyard of the palace (that is the governor’s
headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. And they clothed Him
in a purple cloak, and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on Him.
And they began saluting him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a
reed, spat upon Him and knelt down in homage to Him. After mocking Him, they
stripped Him of the purple cloak and put His own clothes on him. Then they led
Him out to crucify Him.
They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry His cross.
It was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Then they brought Jesus
to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him
wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified Him, and divided
His clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take…
Pause for silent reflection. Share a word or phrase that struck you – without
comment or explanation at this point.
Listen to the gospel passage, or part of it, again if you have time. Pause for reflection.
Week 6
The Passion of Christ
Symbol: Twig crosses or other kinds of crosses the children have created.
Representatives from Caritas agencies based
in over 200 countries met in Rome in 2011 for
the Caritas Internationalis general assembly.
In his final blessing to the delegates, Pope
Benedict said: ‘all Catholics, and indeed all men
and women, are called to act with generous
hearts…’ Caritas Internationalis, then, is called
to generously give of their best in the service of
their brothers and sisters and particularly to those in greatest need.
Opening prayer
We remember all who have gone before us who have acted with generous hearts.
Jesus loves me.
Give us courage and faithfulness to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
We will follow Jesus.
Help us always to hear and respond to your call.
Jesus calls us to love others too.
Prayer of petition
Jesus who said on the cross ‘Forgive them Father for they don’t know what they
are doing’, give us the grace to also forgive others.
Lord hear us. Response: Lord hear our prayer.
This week we remember (xxxx names from class prayer companions).
Symbolic action
Place chosen symbol onto the sacred space. Spend a minute in silent reflection.
Closing prayer
Let us say together the words from the prophet Micah to conclude our six weeks
of prayers in Lent.
Three things the Lord asks of you:
To act justly
To love tenderly
And to walk humbly with your God.
Michah 6:8
Ki te ingoa o te Matua, o te Tamaiti, o te Wairua Tapu, Amene.
Selected prayers
Turn away from evil and do good;
Strive for peace with all your heart.
Psalm 34:14
The coast of Sinai, Middle East
Psalm 34 In Praise of God’s Goodness
I will always thank the LORD;
I will never stop praising him.
I will praise him for what he has done;
may all who are oppressed listen and be glad!
Proclaim with me the LORD’s greatness;
let us praise his name together!
I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me;
he freed me from all my fears.
The oppressed look to him and are glad;
they will never be disappointed.
The helpless call to him and he answers;
he saves them from all their troubles.
His angel guards those who honour the LORD
and rescues them from danger.
Find out for yourself how good the LORD is.
Happy are those who find safety with him.
Honour the LORD, all the people;
those who obey him have all they need.
Even lions go hungry for lack of food,
but those who obey the LORD lack nothing good.
Come, my young friends, and listen to me,
and I will teach you to honour the LORD.
Would you like to enjoy life?
Do you want long life and happiness?
Then keep from speaking evil and from telling lies.
Turn away from evil and do good;
strive for peace with all your heart.
The LORD watches over the righteous
and listens to their cries;
but he opposes those who do evil,
so that when they die, they are soon forgotten.
The righteous call to the LORD, and he listens;
he rescues them from all their troubles.
The LORD is near to those who are discouraged;
he saves those who have lost all hope.
Good people suffer many troubles,
but the LORD saves them from them all;
the LORD preserves them completely;
not one of their bones is broken.
Evil will kill the wicked;
those who hate the righteous will be punished.
The LORD will save his people;
those who go to him for protection will be spared.
Sculpture of an angel in
Tel Aviv, Israel
From Breakthrough! The Bible for Young Catholics
Ideas to use Psalm 34 in the classroom
This is a psalm of thanksgiving and was written to express the faith of a community.
It reminds us of the importance of following God’s way and seeking peace.
After reading the Psalm explore the following:
List some of the blessings God has granted you in the last week. Share.
In verses 4-10 what is the Psalmist saying about the importance of faith in
God in a person’s life?
How does that faith help you cope with the challenges of life?
How can one ‘strive for peace with all your heart’?
Who does God help?
Can this psalm speak to the situation in the Holy Land? If so in what ways?
Prayers for peace
Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
(English version)
Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Lord, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Interior of Nativity Church,
Bethlehem, Palestine
He Īnoi na Hato Werahiko
(Māori version: first 7 lines)
E te Ariki, meinga ahou hei kaihohou i tōu rongo;
tukua, kia whakatōkia e ahau i roto i te ngākau o te hunga mauāhara he purapura
nō te aroha;
i roto i te hunga i whara, he whakaoranga;
i roto i te ngākau āwangawanga, he whakapono;
i roto i te ngākau taimaha, he tūmanako; i roto i te hunga noho i te pōuri, he
i roto i te hunga tangi, he mārie, he hari.
A prayer for peace and peacemakers
God of Justice, God of Peace,
May we be peacemakers by
tending to the sick,
planting good will, and
sowing justice,
always and everywhere.
May we be justice-makers by
planting with the hungry,
tending to good will, and
sowing peace,
always and everywhere.
May your words be rich soil,
May we be rich soil, too,
that gives nourishment to the roots of our faith
so we may feed your people with our labour.
New growth
Jewish prayer for peace
Two peoples, one land
Two peoples, one land,
Three faiths, one root,
One earth, one mother,
One sky, one beginning, one future, one destiny
One broken heart,
One God.
We pray to You:
Grant us a vision of unity.
Children, Jerusalem
May we see the many in the one and the one in the many.
May you, Life of All the Worlds, source of All
Amazing differences
Help us to see clearly.
Guide us gently and firmly toward one another,
Toward peace. Amen
Rabbi Sheila Weinberg Jewish Community of Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA
Muslim prayer for peace
In the name of the God of Abraham,
The Beneficent, the Merciful.
Praise be to the Lord of the Universe
Who has created us and
Made us into tribes and nations
That we may know each other,
Not that we may despise each other.
Do thou incline toward peace,
and trust God, for the Lord is one
that hears and knows all things.
And may the servants of God,
those who walk on the earth in humility,
Be addressed with peace.
We say peace to all.
A hanging lamp, in a mosque
Sufi prayer for peace
Send Thy peace, O Lord, which is perfect and everlasting, that our souls may
radiate peace.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may think, act, and speak harmoniously.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may be contented and thankful for Thy bountiful
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that amidst our worldly strife we may enjoy thy bliss.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that we may endure all, tolerate all in the thought of thy
grace and mercy.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, that our lives may become a divine vision, and in Thy light
all darkness may vanish.
Send Thy peace, O Lord, our Father and Mother, that we Thy children on earth
may all unite in one family.
Written by Hazrat Inayet Khan (a Sufi poet; Sufism is the mystical meditative part of Islam)
Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
A prayer for peace in the Holy Land
As you light this lamp, join together
with people around the world
in praying for peace in the Holy Land
Support Caritas through the Peace Lamps for the Holy Land project.
These beautiful peace lamps are made in the Holy Land through a Caritas
Jerusalem employment programme. The peace lamps aim to unite people
in prayer for peace for the Holy Land, as well as support the ongoing social,
health, development and peace building programmes of Caritas Jerusalem.
Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has lamps available for borrowing, and is looking
at providing more for sale. To find out more, visit and
search for ‘Peace Lamps for the Holy Land’ [or email [email protected]]
Your word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Response: Lord, as we light this lamp, let your Spirit enter into the hearts of
those in the Holy Land and be a lamp unto their feet and a light to their path.
Leader: Now the Lord of Peace Himself gives you peace always by all means. (II Thessalonians 3:16)
Response: Lord, give the Holy Land peace by Your means.
For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle
wall of partition between us. (Ephesians 2:14)
Response: Lord, be our peace and break down the walls of partition dividing the
Holy Land.
They will hammer their swords into ploughshares and the spears into sickles.
Nation will not lift sword against nation, no longer will they learn how to make
war. (Isaiah 2:4)
Response: Lord, fulfill this promise now in the Holy Land.
Love your Enemy
I heard him say, Love your enemy.
And I thought, well, I did.
Sort of. At a distance.
As long as I didn’t have to talk to her
Or share the same room for any time.
It wasn’t that I hated her.
It was just a matter of principle.
I had to let her know that I didn’t approve.
But he kept saying, Love your enemy.
Over and over. Love your enemy.
And I thought, well, maybe
a bit closer wouldn’t hurt.
A telephone call. Good morning.
Some questions of polite interest.
No need to compromise principles.
I could let her know
That I held no grudge.
He still kept saying it.
Love your enemy. Love your enemy.
So in the end, I had to go the whole hog.
Suddenly, there we were, talking about feelings,
Laughing and crying and hugging each other.
And I was healed of the wound I’d given myself
With my judgmental attitudes.
So the next time he said, Love your enemy,
I knew clearly what he meant.
My real enemy
Is self.
And I need all the love and forgiveness
I can get.
Joy Cowley, Aotearoa psalms
The Desert
Prayer doesn’t always flow like a river.
There are times when it’s not a trickle.
My heart becomes as dry as a desert
and words blow like dust on the wind.
I remember past floods of blessing,
green growth and fruit on the vine,
and I become restless with grief,
as I search for a way back to Eden.
But if I sit still in the desert,
sit long enough to listen,
I find messages in the sand dunes.
I hear words on the dry hard wind.
The meaning of sand is patience,
waiting with a poor empty heart,
for the rain which will come in time.
The wind’s voice speaks of detachment,
the distance from comfort which shows
miracles at work in dryness.
Slowly, so slowly, I’ve learned
the value of prayer in a desert,
and I have come to trust the giving
of all seasons of God.
Joy Cowley, Psalms for the Road
Sinai Desert, Middle East
The Bridge
There are times in life
when we are called to be bridges,
not a great monument spanning a distance
and carrying loads of heavy traffic,
but a simple bridge to help one person from here to there over
some difficulty
such as pain, grief, fear, loneliness,
a bridge which opens the way
for ongoing journey.
When I become a bridge for another,
I bring myself a blessing,
for I escape from the small prison of self
and exist for a wider world,
breaking out to be a larger being
who can enter another’s pain
and rejoice in another’s triumph.
I know of only one greater blessing
in this life, and it is,
to allow someone else
to be a bridge for me.
Joy Cowley, Aotearoa Psalms
The Paschal Way
You said that if I walked your path with you
I would experience the blossoming of heaven.
I thought that you meant flowers,
blooms of celebration strewn
along the Hosanna road,
or arranged by flickering candles
in a church filled with peace
or clustered fragrant in a heart
made into permanent summer by prayer,
or handed to me by friends
who valued flowers as much as I did.
You said that if I walked your path with you
I would discover the sweetness of God
and I expected to be given flowers.
But actually you were talking of thorns
and a cross on the road to dying
and hands and feet pierced by a truth
that I did not want to own
and a feeling of forsakenness
and a letting go
and a love so terrible it came
like a sword in my struggling heart
and finally, nothing but you and I
in the silence of the tomb.
You asked me to walk your path with you
And yes, you did mean flowers
But not the fragile things of a day.
Something of permanent fragrance
and a beauty that can’t be measured
by a panacea of small comforts.
You were talking of the tomb transformed,
imprisonment into freedom,
crosses into wisdom,
suffering into compassion,
darkness into light.
You were talking of your presence,
In a life made larger by your Easter Journey.
You were talking of resurrections without end.
Joy Cowley, Psalms Down-Under
It is past all Power
It is past all power save love to douse that conflagration,
The love that suffers cross-wise to make an enemy holy,
The hardest lesson learned that no-one is especial
Eileen Duggan, from ‘Prophecy’.
Who Loves to Sit
Who loves to sit and dream God in the sun,
Who hears His voice at dawn among the birds,
And knows His joy is with the yellow bees
Adrowse with honey in laburnum trees.
Eileen Duggan, And at the End (1st pub 1930).
Called by faith to act with generous hearts
Kua karangahia e te whakapono kia mahi i runga i te ngākau atawhai
Catherine Gibbs
Education Coordinator
Elizabeth Sullivan
Education Officer
Emily Benefield Editor
Lisa Beech Ideas from Caritas Lenten Reflection programme
Poems included with kind permission from Joy Cowley
New Zealand Writers and their work – Eileen Duggan by F M McKay
Te Reo Māori translation of Lent theme – Te Rūnanga o Te Hāhi Katorika Ki Aotearoa
Education for justice website
Elizabeth Sullivan Catherine Gibbs
Tara D’Sousa
Leo Duce
Dalmas Odhengo/Chiga Parish Kenya
Sacred Heart School, Christchurch
Rose Miller – Kraftwork, Wellington