BONUS: A Prayer for Peace with Kayla Craig of Liturgies for Parents

October 4, 2021

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I'm Morgan Strehlow - writer and host of the Sanctuary Woman podcast.

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[Morgan] I am excited to welcome Kayla Craig on the podcast today for this special bonus episode. Kayla is the author of the brand new book To Light Their Way, a book of prayer for parents and caregivers. Kayla, I’m so excited to have you here. I have many listeners in this community who are just weary and they’re worn out on church and religious. Maybe they’ve been hurt by the church. Maybe they’re tired of performing, trying to win Christianity. And many of them are actively deconstructing or trying to reconstruct their faith in a way that’s sustainable. And I would really love to hear you share a little bit about why prayers matter and why prayer can be powerful, even if they are borrowed words written by someone else.

[Kayla] Absolutely. Well, I think a lot of times we over-complicate prayer, right? Like, just like you said, we think we need to have the perfect string of words or the perfect formula of if blank, then blank or this cause and effect. Or maybe if we prayed harder, we prayed more. We had more people praying with. Then our prayer would be answered, but what I really have come to believe right now in my own spiritual journey and spiritual walk is that prayer is this ongoing conversation, right? A conversation that is already happening. And we are just entering back into that. This back and forth, and really prayer is so much listening. And so what I find comfort in praying the words of another in is that it’s really a burden off of my shoulders. I don’t have to have the right words. I don’t have to overthink it. I can find comfort in knowing that somebody else has gone through whatever it is I am going through and is really, you know, liturgy is the prayers of the people, right? So these are just our human words that we are putting to kind of the ordinary and extraordinary moments of our lives. And it’s just this continual invitation to enter into conversation with the divine.

[Morgan] I love that, Kayla. I myself found writing down my prayers to be helpful, but also praying ancient prayers or prayers written by those who have come before us who have kind of worked out this, this hard journey of faith before us and kind of leaning on their faith, kind of borrowing their belief when belief comes hard, when words come hard. And I remember those prayers and in those difficult seasons of life were like a lifeboat for my faith. And I just appreciate the opportunity to borrow someone else’s belief or hope. And I think that’s one of the beautiful things about community and being a part of a body of believers. That we don’t have to do this thing alone.

[Kayla] We don’t have to do the prayer thing alone. And then when you, I feel like when I’m praying the words of another, they’re not just that other person’s words and the other person’s prayer. Like they are my words. It is my prayer. Like there’s something that’s kind of mysterious and beautiful, um, in, in that body.

[Morgan] Well, I am so grateful that you’re here. I have asked you to come pray a prayer out of your brand new book To Light Their Way and asked you to pray over us and with us a prayer for peace that you’ve written.

[Kayla] Thank you, Morgan. So this is a prayer for peace. Um, it comes from the section of prayers for nurturing faith and character from To Light Their Way. And it’s my honor to pray over you and your listeners right now.

A Prayer for Peace

O Prince of Peace,
We come to You,
For our hearts don’t feel peaceful
And our world doesn’t either.

All around us, chaos swirls
Along with our emotions,
And we’re trying to find our footing,
Trying to raise a family that follows You,
Even in times of upheaval—
Especially then.

We seek the peace of Your Kingdom,
And we ask You to help us
Be makers of peace too—
In our community,
In our world,
In our family,
In our hearts.

O Lord, we know that we have confused
Passive peacekeeping with active peacemaking.
We have sought a false peace
That doesn’t ruffle feathers
And avoids conflict
Instead of the true peace
That comes in the shelter of Your wings.

Lord, we seek refuge in You.
Will You instill in us the values of
Your Upside-down Kingdom,
Where peacemakers are blessed
Even if it doesn’t always feel that way?
The world is on fire,
Ignited by shouts and screams at one another.
Help us not add to the noise
But seek to listen.
Help us seek to understand
Instead of only trying to be understood.

When Jesus broke in,
The angels declared,
“Peace on earth
And goodwill to all.”
But we have lost our way
And shut our eyes to the star leading the way.
We have chosen the way of self
Over the love of neighbor,
Choosing violence of word and deed
Over Your peaceable Kingdom,
Where the wolf lies down with the lamb
And a child leads us all.

God, help us work for peace
With and for our children.
Help us raise children
Who sow love instead of hate,
Planting seeds that will become
Mighty oaks of righteousness

And cultivating lives of justice
So that our world may bloom with Your love.
May our family be known by our love
And by our willingness to show up
And stand with those who are often unheard.
May we use our voices to speak
When something is wrong
Or someone is hurt.

We pray for those—locally and globally—
For whom conflict is a close companion,
For whom violence waits in the shadows,
For whom war is never far away.
We ache for the day
When warring nations will be at peace,
When brother will not fight against brother.

We cry out for the ways
We have hurt one another
And ask forgiveness for the times
We have not stood up for peace.

Thank You for Your Spirit,
Who dwells within us
And around us.
We ask for guidance
And for open hands and curious hearts
As we enter into challenging conversations.

We ask for a spirit of peace as we
Interact with our world and the people in it.
Give us a spirit of humility so that we
May have compassion for those we don’t understand.
Give us a spirit of gentleness
So that we may have mercy for ourselves.
Give us a spirit of boldness
So that we may love.

We come to You as imperfect peacemakers,
Our hearts bruised and bloodied
Over well-intentioned failures.
We know we don’t always get it right,
But we know this is the way of the Lord.
And we ask that in each new day
We would wake with a posture of love
And a bent toward peace.

We pray that our hopes for a more flourishing world
Would be renewed with Your unfailing mercy.
Help us rebuild and repair where harm has been done,
Both in our land and in our hearts.

We ask for Your peace that surpasses all understanding,
And that we would be emboldened enough to work for peace
And humble enough to turn to You again and again.
We lay down our swords
And our fighting words
And our deep desire to be right
As we come to You.

If we shout,
May we shout good news to the poor.
If we fight,
May we fight injustice.
If we push,
May we push doors open toward freedom.
If we wrestle,
May we wrestle with You.
If we break,
May we break the chains of captivity.
If we defend,
May we defend the vulnerable.
If we tear down,
May we tear down walls that divide

Kayla Craig is the creator of liturgies for parents and author of the new book To Light Their Way, A Collection of Prayers and Liturgies for Parents, That features over 100 liturgies and breath prayers written with warmth and welcome. To Light Their Way gives voice to your prayer when words won’t come and it’s out on October 5th, everywhere books are sold.

You can learn more about Kayla and her work at KaylaCraig.com and purchase her new book To Light Their Way.

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