Prayer for an Open Heart
In Psalm 95 we here the call to listen to God’s voice: If Today you Hear God’s Voice, Harden Not your Hearts And so we pray…
Loving God, be present in our midst as we open our hearts to what divides and distracts us. Let us remember that you are present in our creation, in all that separates us, and in the invitation to build bridges of relationship. Assist us in knowing peace, stillness, and the invitation to deepening truth. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.
Song: Beautiful Chorus, Inner Peace https://youtu.be/hS-Y8dYD-Bg?si=eJLxsCYgTDHlCE3s
Please let me feel inner peace, from my center at the center of me (2X)
My heart is open, I am aware
In me is a knowing, Of love, love, love.
The United States was in the throes of the pandemic. Cities were roiling with Black Lives Matter protests while talk show hosts debated the validity of the 2020 election. Amid society’s rifts, Juliana Taimoorazy—an Assyrian Christian, founder of the Iraqi Christian Relief Council, and self-described conservative—embraced conflict a step further: she joined a cohort of emerging leaders with opposing worldviews.
In any other context, such a gathering could easily combust or unravel. But under the attentive guidance of Ariel Burger, a lifelong student of Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wisel and author of Witness: Lessons from Elie Wiesel’s Classroom, the cohort members not only sharpened their personal beliefs but also cultivated true friendships.
Disagreement, Juliana learned, was an opportunity. “Learning to love one another despite our vast differences was something stark that I came out with,” she said.
Grounded in teachings from Jewish mysticism…the Witness Institute’s fellowship program…is designed for emerging leaders seeking to develop understanding across differences. Burger teamed up with Wiesel’s son, Elisha
Wiesel, to establish the institute, which was envisioned as a project that would translate Elie Wiesel’s teachings for a new generation. …. Amid disparate responses to the Israel-Hamas war, it’s a strategy that current fellows are employing in real time. (The Christian Century, “Fellowship inspired by Elie Wiesel models peacebuilding amid Israel-Hamas War,” January 2024
Questions for Reflection and Prayer
Spend a few moments recalling your own story of division and polarization.
How did you learn to identify with a particular group, political party or issue organization? How has your consciousness shifted in the last 10 years?
What influences have shaped the shifts you identify? Then spend time in contemplative prayer.
Frank Borman, A Prayer from Apollo 8
Give us, O God, the vision which can see Your love in the world in spite of human failure.
Give us the faith to trust Your goodness in spite of our ignorance and weakness.
Give us the knowledge that we may continue to pray with understanding hearts.
And show us what each one of us can do to set forward the coming of the day of universal peace. We ask this through Christ our life and our hope. Amen.