The President and Vice-President of the Methodist Conference, the Revd Ken Howcroft and Ms Gill Dascombe, are asking Methodists to ensure that they spend some special time in prayer for persecuted minorities during worship on 31 August.
They have written this special prayer for use by churches and groups (responses in bold):
God of love, guide us as we pray:
God of love, guide us as we pray.
God of all nations and peoples, hear our prayers for the people of Syria and Iraq, and for all whose lives are torn apart by hatred and violence, whose heartbreak is more than we can imagine:
God of compassion, guide us as we pray.
For leaders and politicians and those who seek to negotiate for peace, whose responsibility is more than we could bear:
God of wisdom, guide us as we pray.
For aid workers, medical staff, those who care for refugees, orphaned children and older people, whose daily workload is more than we could tolerate:
God of goodness, guide us as we pray.
For those who feel compelled to accomplish their justice through warfare or terrorism, whose motivation is more than we can comprehend:
God of justice, guide us as we pray.
For ourselves, who look on, devastated and helpless, praying to our God whose peace is beyond our understanding:
God of peace, guide us as we pray.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit:
“The situation in Iraq and Syria can only be described as a living nightmare,” said Mr Howcroft and Ms Dascombe, adding, “as Methodists we stand in solidarity alongside all those who are persecuted. As followers of Jesus who was crucified we stand with all those who find their religion twisted by others out of all recognition in order to justify horrific acts of violence. We stand in prayer, crying out together to a God of justice, peace and mercy. May God have mercy on us all.”