Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Praying for everyone's troops

On a card parked in the lot of a mega-church near my home I spotted a bumper sticker that said “Want Our Troops Home? Then PRAY!” That seemed like good enough advice, so here is my prayer.

May every nation that has any troops stationed on foreign soil bring those troops home immediately so that no nation has any military personnel anywhere but on its own soil. May every nation that has any military installations on any foreign soil close those installations. May every nation that has military vessels at sea outside its own territorial waters bring those ships back to its own harbors or at least within its own waters.
May all military personnel be returned safely to their countries, and may they be joyfully reunited with their families and loved ones. May all artillery, missiles, warheads, land mines and explosive devices be safely dismantled. May all lust for territory and for the leverage of power over human beings and other sentient beings be eliminated from the mentalities of those who govern and of those who are governed.
May all those who undertake military service in order to free themselves from poverty, debt and systematic social and economic disadvantage find alternative ways of rising to positions of safety and dignity and the esteem of their neighbors and fellow citizens.
War is a condition of collective incompetence arising from the failure of individuals to be contented. Therefore, may individuals learn to be contented. May those who succeed more quickly than others in finding contentment teach others what they must do to find their own forms of contentment.
War often arises out of a fear of those whose ideas, practices and values are different from one's own. Therefore, may all people learn to embrace variety rather than to fear and loathe it. May all we human beings learn to tolerate everything except governments who would lead us into war. May those who would lead us into war be gently removed from positions of decision-making power.

I am not sure whether this is exactly the prayer that the owner of the car in the parking lot of the mega-church had in mind, but it is my prayer. And I thank the person who put that bumper sticker on his or her car for taking the time to remind me of the importance of taking the time to pray for what is truly important. May all beings be contented.

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