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The Prayer of Philip Berrigan


Two months before he died, on December 6, 2002, my friend Philip Berrigan wrote a reflection on prayer based on his reading of my book on Gandhi. His call to prayer is urgently needed in these times. I recommend Phil's suggested prayer intercessions for peace and disarmament as we begin the new year of 2003. -- John Dear

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"When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret." --Matthew 6:16.

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"I've been reading an excellent book on Gandhi, compiled by John Dear, S.J. Gandhi himself prayed two hours every day, and he concluded that prayer was nourishment for the soul, even as food was for the body, that prayer engendered the essentials of faith and humility, and that prayer, sincerely done, was more valuable than any action.

The following occur to me as worthwhile subjects of prayer:

  • that we disarm our hearts and our society;
  • that the Holy Spirit subvert, stalemate, and expose preparation for the invasion of Iraq;
  • that God intervene in the ecological crises as Lord of Creation, because we refuse to change our abuse of the earth;
  • that Americans begin to understand and resist the three-pronged aims for the Bush Administration: the trashing of civil liberties, perpetual war, and world domination;
  • that the swindle of 'foreknowledge' by the Bushites of 9/11 be fully disclosed;
  • that the 'crime' of 57 years of nuclear and its consequent wasting of our lives and planet, be revealed;
  • that Americans grasp that war is our #1 business; that we are a violent, killer people; and that we know virtually little of the nonviolence of Jesus and the Gospel;
  • that the scourges of abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty will be ended;
  • that the U.S. withdraw all economic and military aid from Israel;
  • that the global war against children be lifted;
  • that the rich West contribute medication and food to the global victims of HIV-AIDS; and
  • that each of us become people of fidelity, nonviolence, and justice."
-- Philip Berrigan

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