Participants are invited to engage in a daily prayer practice which is both individual and corporate. Participants commit to light a candle and pray the agreed upon prayer for peace at the same time every day, wherever they are.
Potential Outcome(s) for participants:
Increased mindfulness around daily peaceful living, improved prayer life, interfaith reconciliation, the list could go on! Depending upon the setting in which the Prayer Practice is initiated, it can also have the benefit of bring others (the public, congregation, etc) into a greater awareness of the existence of EPF in the community.
Who can benefit from this tool:
Individuals, Groups, Chapters, Interfaith Councils, etc.
What you’ll need:
-1 small freestanding candle per participant (two or three inch, white candles are recommended; tea lights are not recommended)
-1 prayer card per participant. The card, which should be on card-stock paper and of a size that will be readable for group participants should have two prayers for peace on it, one prayer on each side of the card. (Sample included with this tool, but don’t hesitate to create your own!)
$1-$2 per person
Nuts and bolts of the tool (How to make this tool work!):
This tool was originally developed by the EPF Chapter at Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Group members wanted to create a Lenten peace prayer discipline which they could then invite members of the greater Berkeley and Yale Divinity community to join.
First, the steering group gathered together and nominated their favorite peace prayers, sharing them with each other. The group then chose two prayers to be included on either side of a prayer card which would later be distributed to all those who signed up to participate. For this particular group, two major considerations helped them select the prayers: a) the Iraq war and interfaith issues were front-and-center at the time, and b) the voiced desire of EPF participants to think about what it means to be a peacemaker in every day life.
Second, the group decided that since it would be unrealistic for participants to come together to pray at the same time every day, that they would choose two times during the day that people would agree to pray together from wherever they were (home, work, school, etc). Each day, depending on their schedule, participants would choose to pray at either 7am or 7pm. These times were chosen to be a) easy to remember and b) to provide an option for early and late risers!
Third, after designing the discipline by choosing prayers, creating the prayer card, and choosing prayer times, the steering group sent out an e-mail invitation to the entire Yale Divinity School community, explaining the peace prayer discipline and inviting people to sign up to participate. Because the EPF Chapter did not have a budget, those interested were asked to contribute $1 toward the cost of the cards and candles. When sign-ups had concluded, organizers printed up enough prayer cards and purchased enough candles for each participant. The week before Lent a reminder e-mail was sent out letting participants know where and when to pick up their cards and candles and reminding them to bring a dollar.
Final Outcome and Participant Response:
Our Chapter’s prayer practice lasted the length of the season of Lent, and was so popular and effective that we repeated it the following year. Participants reported that it was meaningful not only as a personal practice, and for integrating the idea of peacemaking into every day life, but that it was especially meaningful to know that when one person was at home praying at 7am (or 7pm) there were other people praying the same prayer at the same time across New Haven and the Yale campus. We highly commend this practice to other EPF chapters, congregations, and interfaith groups.
Tool submitted by: Kerith Harding, EPF NEC
Willing to be contacted by others with questions about your tool (Y/N)? YES
Best way to reach me: Email firstname.lastname@example.org