International Day of Prayer for Peace

International Day of Peace

By Cynthia (Cindy) Brewer

“Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me” are the words to a song by Sy Miller and Jill Jackson. Sebastian Temple put into song the words ascribed to St. Francis (1182-1226), “Make me a channel of your peace,”

It’s strange that humanity not only writes about peace but is impelled to pray it in song. The prayer seems richer, more likely to be answered if we sing out our supplication with all our hearts.

Today is the International Day of  Peace. It was established in 1981 by a U.N. resolution aimed to provide a day, September 21, on which all would commit to building a Culture of Peace (

The general secretaries of the World Council of Churches and the United Nations established the International Day of Prayer for Peace to coincide with the International Day of Peace in 2004.

On January 1, 2018, Pope Francis celebrated the 51st World Day of Peace among Catholics. He dedicated it to migrants and refugees – those torn from their home because of the ravages of war.

We all want peace – peace in the world, in our nation, in our towns, and in our homes. Our desire goes even deeper, wanting peace within our hearts and minds.

Jesus promised us peace nearly 2,000 years ago, but the world is still searching for it. What are we missing?

At Jesus’ last supper, he told his apostles, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1). He repeats it 26 verses later in the same setting, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14: 27).

Jesus speaks both of these verses to his apostles before his death, resurrection, and ascension. He wants to assure them, and us, that where he is we also may be.

Thomas asked him, “Master we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus astounds his followers saying, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”

We cannot find peace in the world or our hearts unless we find it in Jesus Christ.

We find this peace by trusting Jesus for EVERYTHING!

St. Paul says to the Philippians, “Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-7).

It’s beautiful, but all my life the peace to be found in this reading eluded me because I was missing its most important part — just two small words. We are told to pray and petition God “with thanksgiving.”

We need to thank God before we receive, for that is proof of our faith!

Then the peace of God, that the world cannot give, is possible!