Eugene Cho

prayers for the iraq war – five years

Today marks the 5th anniversary of the war in Iraq.  [Five Year In – NY Times | Bush Addresses Iraq].

Did we ever imagine we’d be in this situation – five years later?   Approximately $720 million dollars are spent daily.  The war may likely cost the country 1.2 trillion dollars – 10x the pre-war predictions.

The number of American military casualties in Iraq will pass 4,000 any day .  There is wide disparity of the number of of Iraqis who have died because of the war; estimates vary from 81,000 to nearly 1.2 million .

The purpose of this entry is not to debate the war.  The purpose of the entry is two fold: 

  • Invitation to prayer.
  • Invitation to share your stories.

PRAYER.  If you feel led, would you take a couple moments to write and share a prayer?

  • pray for our soldiers who risk their lives every day
  • pray for the people of Iraq
  • pray for strength, courage, and wisdom for President Bush, the US administration, and other world leaders
  • pray for the various peacemaking teams in Iraq
  • pray for peace

STORIES.  If you have a story to share – of yourself, your family or loved ones, the Iraqi people, peaceworkers, or others stories…please consider taking a few moments to share those stories here.

O God,
Speed the day
when bows are broken,
spears are shattered,
weapons are dismantled,
war is no more
and peace prevails throughout your world.
Speed the day.
Guide us to work for that day.
In Jesus Christ we pray.
Amen.

Filed under: religion, ,

9 Responses

  1. Janet says:

    Thanks for sharing this Eugene. I’m sharing a prayer from the Book of Common Worship.

    Righteous God, you rule the nations.
    Guard brave men and women
    who risk themselves in battle for their country.
    Give them compassion for enemies
    who also fight for patriotic causes.

    Keep our sons and daughters from hate that hardens,
    or from scorekeeping with human lives.

    Though they must be at war,
    let them live for peace,
    as eager for agreement as for victory.

    Encourage them as they encourage one another,
    and never let hard duty separate them
    from loyalty to your Son, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

  2. My father was in the United States Army. I was born on Fort Lewis and I went to high school with army brats from Fort Lewis. Many of those kids are in Iraq and I wonder what has happened to so many of them. I have a student in our college fellowship that has come back from fighting from Iraq. It’s one thing to see and hear about things on the news and on the blogs and it’s another to actually talk to and see people who come from the frontlines. I am extremely thankful for the brave men and women who serve in the armed services.

    Dear God,

    Please have your blessing over the brave men and women of the armed forces, especially those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Keep their spirits high and protect them from evil. I pray that they continue to work in unison with the Iraqi government and people to make the nation a better place. Please create a spirit of cooperation and peace between the various factions in Iraq. I also pray that the conditions of the Iraqi people improve. Please console the families of both the American soldiers who have been killed or injured and the families of Iraqis who have been killed or injured in the war. As much as I am not a big fan of President Bush, I pray that you give him the wisdom to do what’s right. May your grace and glory be felt in Iraq and beyond.

    Amen.

  3. Kacy says:

    It was only because of the news this morning that I realized it had been 5 years. UK journalist John Stapleton flew out to Iraq and was faced with problems before landing where the pilot had to take different measures to ensure all those on board their safety. John was also seen interviewing two young lady soldiers of which one stated that she missed her family and friends and that of wearing a pink frilly skirt, well let us pray that it will not be long before you can do this.

  4. Angelina says:

    My older brother is in the Army Reserves as a helicopter mechanic. His civilian job is doing the same thing for the company the Army contracts out. He has been passed up four times, to go to Iraq. FOUR TIMES! Once because a fellow member of his group volunteered to go. Others because of crazy military stuff. He recently got his pilot license and is going training to be an in-flight Medic. Next time they call, he IS going. The thought of this makes me tremble. He is young and has a family. His three year old little boy worships him, he adores his beautiful wife and cherishes his 15 year old daughter. Even if he comes back alive he will forever be changed. I don’t want to imagine life without him.
    Please pray for my brother, his company, family and friends. Please pray for my family. But ultimately pray for peace is this fractured world.

  5. Rebekah says:

    My husband is in Iraq right now. He was deployed recently. I’m just praying every second of the day for his safe return..but I am very proud of him. I hope all of you understand the sacrifices these men and women are making to keep us and our world safe.

  6. Aaron L says:

    Tonight I was hookah-ing with a good friend of mine at the Holyland Cuisine in north Lincoln. I got to talking with the owner, Yahya, a native of Iraq who moved to the U.S. in 2000. After talking with him for a while, I asked him if he would share with me his feelings on the war. With much pain, he shared with me the terror and fear that ruled his country under Hussein. “If you even thought bad things about the government, they would find out.” He said that the U.S. invasion was no surprise to his people. He said that they expected it – perhaps even welcomed it. But no one ever thought that the bloodshed would get worse. He said that he dearly misses his 6 sisters back home and often fears for them, but he is hopeful that things will get better as the new government continues to get stronger with time. Please pray for Yahya.

  7. sdl says:

    last week, i read a children’s book to my class of 2nd/3rd graders. the book is called the librarian of basra by jeanette winter.

    before reading, i asked my students what words come to mind when they hear the word iraq. here’s what they came up with: bombs, nuclear, poor, death, terrorists, missiles.

    after reading, i asked them the same exact question. their answers: books, sad, friends, library, scared, help, peace, hope. and air conditioners.

  8. Evan says:

    I find it interesting that no one brought up the 5 year anniversary of the campaign in Afghanistan, nor do you hear any new from there. I served there for 15 months and it just seems puzzling that 25,000 troops seem to have been forgotten there and news from their daily battles and triumphs aren’t being reported.

    Lord, I pray that the men and women that have been called to service
    You keep a shield of protection over them.
    Watch over them and help them keep their focus on you in times of trial.
    You bring goodness out of brokenness Lord and we pray that out of this brokenness, there be good in the world.
    Watch over your children and bring them safely home.
    Amen

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Collaboration.

col·lab·o·ra·tion
kəˌlabəˈrāSH(ə)n/
noun

the action of working with someone or a group of others  to produce or create something.

May we hold our logos, egos, and tribalism have their place. May we hold them loosely for they too shall pass. May we collaborate for the sake of the greater Kingdom of God ... which endures forever. As we honor Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., don't forget the God behind the man. The one true God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today. Are we listening?

Be courageous. Be brave.

Being invited by the King Family to speak at the MLK worship service at Ebenezer Baptist Church in 2016 remains one of the most unexpected honors of my life. On the right is his daughter, Dr. Bernice King and his sister, Dr. Christine King Farris. Walking throughstreet markets in different parts of the world is the best. Soaking in the culture. Listening to the local language and music. Enjoying the amazing cuisine. Meeting new friends. Praying for the Gospel to penetrate. #ChiangRai Blessed be the local, indigenous leaders for it is they who live in the very communities they seek to love. For it is they who understand their context and culture...better than a Westerner ever will. For it is they who will continue to tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love when visitors like me leave.

Yes, blessed be the local, indigenous leaders. What an honor and privilege to celebrate with the on-the-ground local @thefreedomstory team to celebrate the recent opening of their Education and Resource Center for the local youth in Chiang Rai, Thailanf. This was made possible through a partnership and matching grant by @onedayswages and The Freedom Story.

While it was an honor to be there to cut the cord and say a few words, this is an example of collaboration. Much love to the Freedom Story team including their co-founders Tawee Donchai and @Rachel Goble, to their staff who live in the community, who understand their context and culture, and who tenaciously pursue a better world with hope, justice and love. And of course, much love to the students themselves for they each matter. Finally, to each person that donated to @onedayswages to make this grant possible.

May hundreds and even thousands of youth be impacted, encouraged, and mentored. May they capture a glimpse of God's love for them.

Photo: @benjaminedwards Part 2 on my wrestling with the complex issue of human trafficking. In part, documenting my trip to Thailand for @onedayswages...to listen, learn, and visit one of our partner orgs @thefreedomstory. More to come.

There's such painful and poignant irony in pursuing justice...unjustly. One way we do this is when we reduce people into projects...and thus, propagating the dangerous power dynamic of US as heroes and THEM as helpless and exclusively as victims. So dangerous.

Human trafficking is not just an issue. It’s ultimately, about people. Depending on the sources of statistics, there are anywhere from 29-40 million people in some form of forced labor and slavery, including sex trafficking.

And one thing I’ve learned, personally, is how easy it is easy to reduce people into projects which is why mutuality, reciprocity, and dignity are so vital. These are critical because God never intended people to be reduced into projects.

We forget this and we indirectly foster a culture and system of victimization or worse, the pornification of the poor or in this case, "the trafficked." And when you start dehumanizing the poor or trafficked, you have no genuine desire to build relationships with them. You believe or build stereotypes in broad strokes, singular, black and white narratives that have been told about them. You believe the lie that they have nothing to teach us and are incapable of contributing to the larger society.

Lord, break our hearts for the things that break your heart. Give us eyes to see others through your eyes. Give us humility so that we acknowledge our own need to learn and grow. (Photo via @thefreedomstory)

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